MOSCOW, Russia, October 18. EVEN though she is starting to show a bit of a weakness in the distance freestyle events, Hungary's Katinka Hosszu is still on a record-breaking roll at the FINA World Cup. She finished the fourth stop in Moscow with her 25th individual gold medal, and $41,000 in winnings.
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 third stop in Stockholm, Sweden.
Men's 1500 free
You know you just threw down a crushing performance against the field, when the television broadcast focuses on a close battle for second, and that's just what happened with Japan's Daiya Seto. Seto raced to victory in 15:03.02, winning by more than 20-seconds in the metric mile. That swim netted him another first-place paycheck, pushing his gender-leader tally to $18,500 on the circuit thus far. Ukraine's Anton Goncharov and Peru's Mauricio Fiol Villanueva, meanwhile, were the focus of the live stream as they went head-to-head for runner-up status. Goncharov scored the silver-medal money with a 15:25.92 to 15:27.16 win over Fiol Villanueva.
Women's 100 free
Germany's Britta Steffen has continued to pile up cash with a sprint freestyle focus, and did so again this evening with her fourth-straight triumph in the 100 free on the circuit. She clocked a 52.92 to push her circuit winnings to $12,000, while USA's Jessica Hardy checked in second with a 53.74. Russia's Natalie Lovtcova earned third in 54.47. Steffen's time is the second under 53 seconds for her on the circuit thus far. She won the race in Stockholm with a circuit-best time of 52.46. Hardy slowed up from her Stockholm time as well, where she clocked a 53.38 to take second there as well. Hardy pushed her overall winnings to $4,000 with her performance.
Men's 200 free
South Africa's Darian Townsend won his third 200 free crown of the circuit with a swift 1:44.26, while Germany's Paul Biedermann and Australia's Tommasso D'Orsogna shared the silver medal with matching times of 1:44.49. Townsend's only loss in this event came in Doha when D'Orsogna dropped a 1:43.84 to 1:43.95 victory on Townsend. Townsend has been much faster on the circuit with a 1:42.71 to win in Dubai. With his triumph, Townsend now has $12,250 in circuit winnings, while D'Orsogna moved up to $7,000 overall with his shared prize. Biedermann, who hasn't fielded the same schedule, has $3,250 in winnings.
Women's 50 breast
USA's Jessica Hardy followed up her second-place effort in the 100 free with a conquest of the sprint breast as she touched in 30.29. Finland's Jenna Laukkanen earned second in 31.03, while Russia's Valentina Artemyeva took home third in 31.14. Hardy's time is faster than the third-place clocking of 30.48 from the Stockholm stop, and is the third-fastest on the circuit so far. Ruta Meilutyte was the only sub-30 so far with a 29.96 to win in Stockholm, while Jennie Johansson surged to second place with a 30.24. Hardy moved her two-meet winnings tally to $5,500. She's won $3,500 in Moscow after taking home $2,000 in Stockholm.
Men's 100 breast
Italy's Fabio Scozzoli earned his second breaststroke title of the meet with a 58.32 for the win. China's Gu Biaorong made the podium for the first time with a 58.72, while Russia's Sergei Geibel claimed his second podium of the Moscow stop with a third-place 58.89. Scozzoli has plenty of time to make up on the 57.22 performance clocked by Cameron van der Burgh in Doha, as well as the 57.87 from Glenn Snyders in Stockholm.
Women's 400 IM
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu raced to her incredible 23rd gold medal of the circuit with a 4:30.14 to 4:30.80 triumph over compatriot Zsuzsanna Jakabos. Meanwhile, U.S. Junior National Teamer Becca Mann beat out teammate Celina Li, 4:35.87 to 4:39.45, for the third podium spot. Hosszu has been much faster on the tour, with a 4:28.10 to win in Stockholm with Jakabos also pushing her there with a 4:28.79. However, Hosszu did increase her stunning circuit-leading winnings to $38,000. Jakabos is second among the women with a strong haul of her own with $17,250. The win is Hosszu's fourth consecutive victory in the event on the tour — she hasn't lost yet.
Men's 100 fly
In a Russian duel that had the partisan crowd excited, Evgeny Korotyshkin clipped Nikolay Skvortsov, 50.56 to 50.82, with USA's Tom Shields taking third in 50.89. While the three-way dance was exciting, 2011 FINA World Cup Champion Chad Le Clos still has the top time on the tour with a 49.60 from Doha. Le Clos, however, has ended his time on the circuit to return home to train. Korotyshkin increased his winnings to $5,500 with the win.
Women's 100 back
Australia's Rachel Goh continued to make money off her superior underwaters, this time clinching the win in the 100 back with a 57.80 to break $10,000 in circuit winnings. Brazil's Etiene Medeiros took second in 58.93, while teammate Fabiola Molina placed third in 59.25. U.S. Junior National Teamer Kylie Stewart just missed the podium with a fourth-place 59.40. Goh now has $11,000 in cash prizes thus far as she continues to rack up the points in the backstroke events. Her winning effort came up just a bit short of the 57.52 she used to win in Stockholm, which is the top time on the tour thus far.
Men's 50 back
Similar to Rachel Goh in the women's backstroke events, Russia's Stanislav Donets has accomplished similar results in the men's draw of the stroke. He won his fourth consecutive sprint back title on the tour with a 23.31, increasing his total winnings to $11,000. Meanwhile, Australia's Robert Hurley kept on cashing checks, this time posting a 23.73 to move to $15,000 in circuit winnings. Brazil's Guilherme Guido touched third in 23.81. Donets has consistently remained in the 23s with tonight being his fastest time of the circuit thus far. He'd previously clocked a 23.47 for the top time up to tonight. His time tonight would have been the top-ranked effort last season, ahead of Sun Xiaolei's 23.34 from the Beijing stop. He's closing in on his best time ever, a second-ranked all-time 22.74 performance from the Euro Short Course Championships.
Women's 200 fly
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu got back into the win column in the 200 fly after teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos clipped her in the event in Stockholm. Tonight, Hosszu earned her amazing 24th gold medal of the tour with a 2:05.77 to 2:06.06 victory over her wing-woman. Meanwhile, U.S. Junior National Teamer Becca Mann, a budding star for the U.S. after repeated finals at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, earned her third podium of the meet with a 2:11.35. Hosszu moved into striking distance of $40k in winning with $39,500 overall. Jakabos pushed her total to $18,250. Hosszu's time tonight is the fastest on the circuit, besting the 2:06.90 from Jakabos in Stockholm, and would have ranked Hosszu in the top 15 last season.
Men's 200 IM
Japan's Daiya Seto reached $20,000 in circuit winnings with an upset victory in the 200 IM. He raced to a 1:53.93 for the win, with Hungary's Laszlo Cseh taking second in 1:54.31 and three-time tour winner Darian Townsend of South Africa settling for a third-place tie with Kenneth To with matching 1:54.93s. Seto joined Townsend in the 1:53 club on the circuit as Townsend had previously won the first three races with a trio of 1:53s including the tour-best time of 1:53.25 from Dubai. Seto nearly cleared the Japanese record of 1:53.67 set by Kosuke Hagino last year in Tokyo, and is just the third man from Japan to break the 1:54 barrier. Hidemasa Sano stands second all time among the Japanese with a 1:53.85. Townsend, meanwhile, now had $12,500 in tour winnings, while To has $11,000 and Cseh has $7,000.
Women's 400 free
World Cup queen Katinka Hosszu continued to struggle in the distance freestyle events. After losing the 800 free for the first time last night, she wound up in eighth-place with a 4:15.41 tonight in the 400 free after previously winning the first three stops. That's just her second time missing the podium in an event on the tour. Russia's Elena Sokolova held off a distance freestyle sweep for U.S. Junior National Teamer Leah Smith, 4:04.83 to 4:05.04, for the win. New Zealand's Melissa Ingram raced to third in 4:06.20. Hosszu still holds the tour-best time with a 4:03.83 from the Stockholm stop.
Men's 50 free
He broke the 21-second barrier for the first time over the weekend in Stockholm, and now Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell looks to be comfortable in the 20s as he punched the wall in 20.90 for the win. USA's Anthony Ervin collected another paycheck with a second-place 21.11, while Russia's Evgeny Lagunov took third in 21.80. Bovell posted a circuit-best clocking of 20.82 in Stockholm for the win, while Ervin broke 21 seconds for the first time with a 20.99. Bovell ran his circuit winnings to $9,500, while Ervin now has $7,250 with his sprint freestyle focus.
Women's 200 breast
Japan's Rie Kaneto smoked the distance breaststroke event for the second straight meet, this time with a 2:20.08. Russia's Maria Temnikova took second in 2:22.94, while Japan's Mio Motegi finished third in 2:23.02. Kaneto had posted a tour-best time of 2:21.09 to win in Stockholm, but cut a second off the effort this evening. With each tour stop, she's getting ever so closer to her season best of 2:19.72 from the Tokyo stop that ranked her fifth in the world last season. In just two meets of competition, Kaneto now has $5,000 in winnings.
Women's 100 IM
While she has had a much tougher road in Moscow than the previous three stops, Hungary's Katinka Hosszu has continued to strike back after difficult swims. She did so again in the sprint medley with a season-best time of 59.69 for her stunning 25th gold medal of the circuit. That time cleared her 59.71 from the Stockholm stop. Germany's Theresa Michalak and Great Britain's Sophie Allen tied for second with matching 59.98s to join Hosszu under a 1:00 on the tour. Hosszu eclipsed the $40,000 winnings mark and now has $41,000 heading into the last half of the tour. As a reminder, Chad Le Clos led all swimmers last season with $45,500 in total race winnings during the entire tour. Hosszu is on a record-breaking tear, even with the additional competition.
Men's 200 back
Japan's Yuki Shirai posted his second straight win in the distance dorsal with a 1:50.80 for the victory. Teammate Hayate Matsubara touched second in 1:51.96, while Australia's Ashley Delaney posted a third-place 1:53.36. Shirai won in Stockholm over the weekend with a tour-best time of 1:50.70, while Matsubara moved up from third place and bettered his 1:52.42.
Women's 50 fly
With three-time winner Therese Alshammar skipping the Moscow stop, The Netherlands' Inge Dekker took the opportunity to cash a $1,500 check with a 25.65 to win the sprint fly. Italy's Ilaria Bianchi finished second in 26.21, while Russia's Daria Tcvetkova placed third in 26.43. The win gave Dekker $8,000 in winnings, and came close to Alshammar's best time on the circuit this year of 25.56 from the Doha stop.
Mixed 200 free relay
Russia's Evgeny Lagunov (21.89), Oleg Tikhobaev (22.01), Svetlana Knyaginina (24.71) and Veronika Popova (24.64) won the mixed-gender 200 free relay with a 1:33.25. Another Russian foursome of Maria Reznikova (25.49), Rozaliya Nasretdinova (25.04), Dmitry Ermakov (22.19) and Artem Lobuzov (21.98) placed second in 1:34.70. Brazil's Andre Santos (22.66), Diogo Yabe (25.25), Jessica Cavalheiro (22.13) and Eriene Medeiros (24.90) rounded out the top three in 1:34.94.