BERLIN, Germany, October 20. THE freight train that was Katinka Hosszu, who had been racking up five-digit race winning totals regularly at each stop, ran into a brick wall in Berlin as the rest of the world caught up at the FINA World Cup stop tonight.
Hosszu wound up with just $750 in winnings, while the spotlight moved over to some other significantly fast swimming. Camille Muffat charted a French record in the 200 free, while Daiya Seto became the first person with a World Cup record this year. Additionally, George Bovell and Matt Targett turned up the heat in their respective events.
For a quick refresher course, the FINA World Cup is a global circuit of two-day meets all swum in short course meters (25m) setups. Swimmers vie for cash earnings with first-place individual winners earning $1,500, while second place wins $1,000. Third place in each event also takes home $500. Relays are not money races.
The overall circuit winners for the men and women by the end of the eight-meet series next month will win $100,000 each. Chad Le Clos and Therese Alshammar both banked six-figure paydays last year with Le Clos topping out at $145,500, including nearly $50k in just race winnings alone. Thus far this year, Katinka Hosszu and Kenneth To lead the overall standings after the fourth stop in Berlin, Germany.
Women's 800 free
World Cup leader Katinka Hosszu changed up her schedule a bit to focus on stronger money-making opportunities after falling off the podium for the first time in Moscow during the 800 free. So, for the first time on the circuit, Hosszu did not sign up for the distance freestyle swim to begin her meet. It's probably a good thing as U.S. Junior Teamers Becca Mann and Leah Smith were on fire in to begin the night. Smith led Denmark's Lotte Friis throughout much of the race before Mann turned up the heat down the stretch to win in 8:16.58 — her first gold medal of the circuit. Smith wound up second in 8:17.96, while Friis faded down the stretch with an 8:22.04 for third. Smith, a Virginia commit, had won the 800 free in Moscow with a then tour-best time of 8:19.24. Mann's time tonight would have ranked her seventh in the world last season with Chloe Sutton being the fastest American with an 8:14.29 at the Duel in the Pool.
Men's 100 free
Out in a blistering 22.03, USA's Anthony Ervin dropped a circuit-best time of 46.71. Australia's Tommaso D'Orsogna also broke 47 seconds with a second-place 46.99, while South Africa's Darian Townsend touched out 2012 Olympic hero Yannick Agnel of France, 47.02 to 47.04, for third-place honors. Ervin's time bested the previous tour-best time of 46.89 clocked by Kenneth To on the first stop in Dubai. Ervin's performance tonight would have ranked him fourth in the world last season, and moved him to 29th in the all time rankings. Ervin now has $8,750 in overall winnings, while D'Orsogna is up to $8,500. Townsend has been piling up the cash regularly, now up to $13,000.
Women's 200 free
The competition has definitely risen on the Berlin stop with Katinka Hosszu having her four-meet win streak in the 200 free come to an end with France's Camille Muffat blasting the finale with a 1:52.28. Hosszu tied with France's Charlotte Bonnet for second with matching 1:55.14s, while Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos took fourth in 1:55.60. Hosszu still managed to move her winnings to $41,750 with the second-place finish. Muffat demolished the previous circuit-best time of 1:54.70 set by Hosszu in Doha this year, and her time would have ranked her second in the world rankings last season behind Allison Schmitt's 1:52.08 from the Berlin stop. She also cleared her all-time third-ranked lifetime-best of 1:52.29, making tonight's effort a new French standard.
Men's 50 breast
Italy's Fabio Scozzoli earned another first-place paycheck after a strong meet in Moscow. Tonight, he clocked a 26.31 to win the sprint breast event, faster than his winning 26.51 from Moscow. However, he still has a bit to go to catch the tour-best time of 25.95 put up by Cameron van der Burgh to win the event in Doha. Erik Steinhagen raced to second in 26.71, while New Zealand's Glenn Snyders picked up third place with a 26.79. Scozzoli now has $5,000 in winnings, while Snyders is up to $7,000 after consistently competing, and making the podium, throughout the entire circuit.
Women's 100 breast
USA's Jessica Hardy ended the two-meet win streak of Rie Kaneto in the event with a sterling 1:04.58 for the win. Japan's Mio Motegi took second in 1:06.38, while Kaneto wound up third in 1:06.52. Hardy's time is the first sub 1:05 on the tour this year, crushing the previous best of 1:05.02 clocked by Ruta Meilutyte at the Stockholm stop. Hardy, who battled through a bunch of travel issues between Moscow and Berlin, took out her frustrations on the 100 breast.
Power outage in our terminal, guy next to me had a seizure, just realized I lost my kindle. Tough times at the airport.
— Jessica Hardy (@swimhardy) October 19, 2012
Hardy has more potential in the event as well, with a sizzling 1:03.33 from the Duel in the Pool last season. In just her third stop of the tour, Hardy has amassed $7,000 in winnings. Kaneto is up to $5,500 with some breaststroke strength over the course of three meets as well.
Men's 400 IM
Japan's Daiya Seto became the first person to break a World Cup record with a sizzling time of 4:00.12 in the distance medley. That swim bettered the 4:00.63 set by Thiago Pereira way back in 2007, and would have ranked Seto second in the world a year ago behind Ryan Lochte's 3:59.52 from the Duel in the Pool. Seto is now sixth-fastest performer all time, and lowered his Japanese record of 4:00.85 set during the Stockholm stop of the tour. Seto now has a male-leading $21,500 winning tally for the circuit. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh checked in with a second-place time of 4:01.42, while Hungary's David Verraszto touched third in 4:03.19. Cseh increased his winnings to $8,000.
Women's 100 fly
Italy's Ilaria Bianchi touched first in the event with a 56.86, while Sweden's Louise Hansson earned second in 57.55. The Netherlands' Inge Dekker placed third in 57.65. The win is the second straight for Bianchi, and she cleared 57 seconds for the first time on the circuit. She won in Moscow with a 57.18. Therese Alshammar still owns the top time on the tour this year with a 56.68 from Stockholm, but Bianchi is closing the distance with Alshammar not finishing the circuit. In just two meets, Bianchi is already up to $4,000 in winnings. Dekker moved her tally up to $8,500 with her third-place effort.
Men's 100 back
Stanislav Donets' dominance of the backstroke events this year has been reminiscent of 2007 when Randall Bal went 21-for-21 in backstrokes to win the overall FINA World Cup title that year, and the short-lived nickname of Blackjack Bal. Donets topped the 100 back tonight in 50.02, while Australia's Robert Hurley finished second in 50.73. Australia's Ashley Delaney earned third-place honors with a time of 51.04. Donets has been faster this year with a 49.74 in Moscow to become the first swimmer to break 50 seconds this year. With the win, Donets pushed his winnings to $12,500. Hurley, meanwhile, might have been finishing second a lot lately, but that's the point — he's finishing second a lot of times to the tune of $16,000 overall in winnings. He stands second among the men behind only Daiya Seto's $21,500. Delaney has also been consistently taking third, running his cash prizes to $5,000.
Women's 50 back
Rachel Goh has been the female equivalent of Stanislav Donets as she keeps using her dominant underwaters to haul in massive amounts of cash. Goh won the sprint back in 26.80 to kick her total to $12,500 as she just keeps winning backstroke events. China's Chen Shiming took second in 27.11, while Brazil's Fabiola Molina placed third in 27.29. And, Goh keeps on getting faster throughout the circuit. She had a 26.94 to win in Stockholm, then posted a 26.87 to win in Moscow. She is inching closer to the 26.60 she used to win in Beijing last year that ranked her fourth overall.
Men's 200 fly
Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov powered home in the final 100 meters to capture the distance fly in 1:51.77. Japan's Daiya Seto raced to second in 1:52.22, while USA's Tom Shields went out fast and held on to a third-place 1:52.27. Skvortsov's time is the third sub 1:52 of the tour, with Chad Le Clos clipping Seto 1:51.30 to 1:51.31 on the Doha stop. Skvortsov is closing in on his fourth-ranked 1:50.55 from the Salnikov Cup last season. Seto, meanwhile, added another $1,000 to his winnings, up now to $22,500.
Women's 200 IM
Something must have happened to Katinka Hosszu between Moscow and Berlin, as she not only had a four-meet win streak broken in the 200 IM, it came with a podium miss with a fourth-place time of 2:09.14, nearly a second off her winning 2:08.28 in Moscow. Great Britain's Sophie Allen smashed the field with a 2:07.52, while Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos touched second in 2:08.54. U.S. Junior National Teamer Celina Li claimed her first medal of the tour with a third-place 2:08.95. Allen is the first under 2:08 on the circuit this year. Hosszu held the previous top time with a 2:08.13 to win in Stockholm, and is well past her season-best of 2:08.78 from a year ago. She jumped to 18th in the all time rankings with the win, closing on Hannah Miley's British record of 2:06.70.
Men's 400 free
In front of a partisan crowd, Germany's Paul Biedermann won the middle distance event by more than three seconds with a 3:42.21. Austria's David Brandl touched second in 3:45.28, while Robin Bakchaus took home third in 3:46.88. This is not the fastest stop of the tour in terms of this event, however. Kosuke Hagino (3:40.77) and Robert Hurley (3:41.49) posted a swift 1-2 on the first stop in Dubai. Biedermann has earned $4,750 in just three circuit stops.
Women's 50 free
Germany's Britta Steffen won her third straight 50 free on the circuit with a 24.18, much to the pleasure of the Berlin crowd. She dominated the finale as USA's Jessica Hardy touched second in 24.43. The Netherlands' Inge Dekker placed third in 24.56. Steffen cleared the 24.20 she used to win the race in Moscow, but fell short of the 24.08 she used to beat Therese Alshammar at the Stockholm stop. Steffen moved to third in the women's race winning rankings with $13,500, past Alshammar's $13,000 from the first three stops. Hardy has made a quick $8,000 since joining the tour in Stockholm, while Dekker is up to $9,000 with participation in all five stops thus far.
Men's 200 breast
USA's Sean Mahoney defended his 200 breast title from Moscow with a 2:04.55 to dominate the distance breast tonight. He went out in 59.50 en route to his swift swim. Brazil's Henrique Barbosa took second in 2:06.20, while Germany's Marco Koch touched third in 2:06.84. Mahoney bested his winning time of 2:05.11 from Moscow, and also downed the top time on the circuit this year of 2:04.87 from Daiya Seto in Doha. Mahoney would have ranked eighth in the world last season with his swim.
Men's 100 IM
A trio of big money winners so far picked up three more paychecks in the sprint medley. Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell cracked the $10,000 mark with $11,000 in winnings after topping the 100 IM in 51.20. 2012 FINA World Cup men's leader Kenneth To of Australia touched second in 51.53 to increase his winnings to $12,500. Meanwhile, South Africa's Darian Townsend took third in 53.04 for $13,500 in winnings. Bovell's time is the fastest on the circuit this year, bettering the 51.43 To used to win on the first stop in Dubai. Bovell also vaulted into a fifth-place tie with Duje Draganja for fifth all time in the event's history. Only Peter Mankoc (50.76), Ryan Lochte (50.81), Sergey Fesikova (50.95) and Gerhard Zandberg (51.05) have been faster.
Women's 200 back
New Zealand's Melissa Ingram became the latest swimmer to push her winnings to $10,000, this time with a distance dorsal time of 2:04.28. She now has won an even $10,000 while competing on all five stops. U.S. Junior National Teamer Kylie Stewart took home second in 2:04.70, while Jenny Mensing touched third in 2:07.31. Ingram still has some time to make up to catch the best effort of the tour, a sterling 2:02.99 set by Daryna Zevina on the Doha stop.
Katinka Hosszu missed another podium with a 2:07.69. It is obvious tonight that Hosszu is beginning to have a rough time, while at the same time the competition on the circuit has picked up. Hosszu will need to dig deep tomorrow night to get back on the dominant track she's been on since opening up with $33,000 in the first three meets. She concludes tonight with just $750 in winning, for a total of $41,570.
Men's 50 fly
Australia's Matt Targett won his third straight sprint fly with a time of 22.30. Germany's Steffen Deibler earned second in 22.83, while Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin placed third in 23.31. Targett's blazing time pushed him to eighth all time in the event's history, just off Matt Jaukovic's Australian record of 22.28 from 2010.
Mixed 200 medley relay
Team USA's Kylie Stewart (27.70), Jessica Hardy (29.82), Tom Shields (22.47) and Anthony Ervin (20.50) for a winning 1:40.49. Italy's Arianna Barbieri (27.46), Fabio Scozzoli (26.48), Ilaria Bianchi (26.07) and Luca Dotto (21.63) touched second in 1:41.64, while China's Chen Shiming (27.53), Gu Biaorong (26.79), Zheng Rongrong (27.54) and Liu Xuewu (21.65) placed third in 1:43.51.