FINA World Championships editorial coverage is proudly sponsored by SpeedoUSA. For all the latest coverage, check out our event coverage page.
BARCELONA, Spain, August 4. HUNGARY’s Katinka Hosszu definitely did not have the closing speed of world-record holder Ye Shiwen, but the Iron Lady gave the global standard of the women’s 400-meter IM a run this morning at the FINA World Championships.
Hosszu went out in 3:29.47 at the 300-meter mark, under Ye’s world-record pace, but did not have a similar stunning 58-second freestyle leg to challenge Ye’s world record of 4:28.43 from the 2012 London Olympics. Hosszu wound up settling for a preliminary-leading time of 4:32.72. That’s easily the fastest time in the world this year, crushing the previous top time of 4:34.21 set by Hannah Miley at The Netherlands Cup.
Hosszu will be vying for her third world career long course world title, and would like to reclaim her distance medley hardware after first winning the event in 2009. Thus far, she’s won the 200 IM and took bronze in the 200 fly this week, and she’s likely going to medal in the 400 IM tonight for a third medallion. That would match her 2009 performance with a gold and two bronzes.
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia posted a 4:34.64 to take second this morning. That kept the local favorite sixth in the world this year, but bettered her season best of 4:35.27 from the Spanish Open earlier this year. She’s only about a half-a-second off her lifetime best of 4:33.91 from the 2012 Spanish Open.
Ye, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder, eased through prelims with a 4:34.93. She’s been a bit faster this year with a 4:34.27 from Chinese Nationals. She’s looking to return the world title to the Chinese for the first time since the 90s when it ruled the event with wins from Lin Li (1991), Guohong Dai (1994) and Yan Chen (1998) spanning nearly a decade before Yana Klochkova came along with a back-to-back in 2001 and 2003 to start the new millennium.
Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos tied Ye with a 4:34.93 in the final heat to put herself into medal contention, while Miley finished fifth in 4:34.94. Defending champion Elizabeth Beisel put up an easy speed 4:35.17 for sixth in the finale, while teammate Maya DiRado picked up seventh in 4:37.39. Japan’s Miyu Otsuka snared the last transfer spot into the finale with a 4:37.77 for eighth.