LUXEMBOURG, February 8, KATINKA Hosszu appears to be holding to her intentions to race in every event at the Luxembourg Euro Meet this weekend, competing in all eight long course finals tonight and winning three races. Various members of the German national team, including Paul Biedermann, impressed in finals as well.
The Hungarian Iron Lady started off with a B final swim in the 50 breast, placing 15th overall in the 10-lane field with a time of 33.80. Annalena Felker of Germany won the B final with a 33.54, while teammate Dorothea Brandt won the A final in 31.28. Hosszu returned in the 50 butterfly, placing second behind Brandt with a 27.34 to Brandt’s 26.83. Brandt just missed the meet record of 26.80 posted by Inge Dekker in 2005.
Hosszu found herself in runner-up status in the next event, the 200 freestyle, with France’s Charlotte Bonnet winning with a 1:58.31 to Hosszu’s 1:58.52. Hosszu held off a strong final 50 from France’s Coralie Balmy, who was third with a 1:58.73.
Hosszu’s first victory came in the 100 backstroke, taking the lead from Germany’s Mandy Feldbinder and Sonnele Oeztuerk after 50 meters with a time of 1:02.43 to Oeztuerk’s 1:03.04 and Feldbinder’s 1:03.18. Hosszu raced the 200 breaststroke, where she was eighth in the championship final that saw Germany’s Vanessa Grimberg take the win in a meet record time of 2:26.90. She erased Birte Steven’s mark of 2:27.84 from 2007.
Hosszu returned to her winning ways in the 200 fly where she took down Sara Isakovic’s meet record of 2:11.01 with a 2:10.55. She was back in the 200 IM, posting a 2:15.14 that is well off the meet record of 2:13.55 she posted in prelims, but was enough to beat Kathrin Demler’s 2:16.71 that placed second.
The final women’s event of the night, the 50 free, saw Hosszu in eighth place with a 26.36, as Brandt won her third event of the night with a 24.90. That erased Amy Smith’s meet record of 25.34 from 2012.
While Hosszu was the most visible competitor of the evening session, she might have had difficulty overshadowing the appearance of world record holder Paul Biedermann, making his return to competition after nearly a year away on the mend from injuries. Biedermann has stated that the 2016 Olympics will be the end of his swimming career, and he plans to go out with an Olympic medal. Tonight, he raced in the 200 free final, and won with a 1:47.13. The cherry on top of the seemingly successful return was breaking countryman Christian Kubusch’s meet record of 1:48.73 from 2009. Besides the first 50 meters, Biedermann outsplit the field in each leg, posting a 26.96 in the final 50. Velimir Stjepanovic was second with a 1:49.11.
Stjepanovic returned to post an easy win in his specialty, the 200 fly, with a 1:58.57. He was a second off Ioannis Drymonakos’ meet record of 1:57.56, and was the only swimmer under two minutes in the final.
Lithuanian Olympic finalist Giedrius Titenis had a close race with Germany’s Marco Koch in the men’s 50 breaststroke, with Titenis getting the win and the meet record with a 27.91 over Koch’s 28.13. Titenis tied the record set by Dutchman Johannes Neumann in 2009. Koch returned to claim the win in the 200 breast, claiming the meet record with a time of 2:09.61 and a win by three seconds. The time beats Laurent Carnol’s meet record of 2:09.78 and is about a second off the time he swam at last year’s world championships to claim the silver medal. It would appear Hungarian world record holder and reigning world champion Daniel Gyurta will have a challenge on tap for this summer’s world championships.
Germany’s Steffen Deibler dipped under the meet record of 23.76 he set in prelims in the men’s 50 fly, posting a 23.66 in the final. Teammate Philip Heintz was a distance second with a 24.33. Deibler got a second victory later in the session with a 22.67 in the 50 free.
Israel’s top swimmers made a big statement in the men’s 100 backstroke, taking the top four places tonight. Guy Barnea, a graduate of Caifornia-Berkeley, won with a 55.70 to hold off a final burst from David Gamburg, who was second in 55.72. Yakov Toumarkin finished third with a 55.99 and Jonatan Kopelev was fourth in 56.25.
Israel’s Gal Nevo got the better of Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh in yesterday’s 400 IM final, and Cseh didn’t give Nevo the opportunity to do that tonight in the shorter medley, winning with an impressive 2:00.02 that broke Raphael Stacchiotti’s meet record of 2:00.22. Nevo had his hands full with Heintz, using a better back half to take second with a 2:01.06 to Heintz’s 2:01.83.