MOSCOW, Russia, October 17. THE U.S. Junior National Teamers made an immediate impact on night one of the FINA World Cup in Moscow, pushing World Cup queen Katinka Hosszu off the podium for the first time. Hosszu recovered, however, with a two golds and a bronze to push her circuit-leading tally to $36,500 including 22 golds.
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.
Women's 800 free
For the first time on the FINA World Cup circuit, Hungary's Katinka Hosszu missed the podium. With the addition of some stellar U.S. Junior National Teamers as well as a strong Russian contingent, Hosszu faded to fifth overall with an 8:47.47. That is well off the 8:24.48 she used to win this weekend in Stockholm. Virginia commit Leah Smith shot to victory in 8:19.24 with USA teammate Becca Mann, 14, close behind with a second-place effort of 8:19.33, cutting five seconds off the previous best time on the circuit. Russia's Elizaveta Gorshkova touched third with a time of 8:29.45, edging compatriot Elena Sokolova (8:29.58) for the final podium spot.
Hosszu later tweeted about the surprising finish in the 800 free:
— Katinka Hosszu (@HosszuKatinka) October 17, 2012
Men's 100 free
Australia's Tommaso D'Orsogna raced to victory in the sprint event with a scorching 47.11. Meanwhile, South Africa's Darian Townsend and USA's Anthony Ervin shared the second-place check with matching 47.43s. Kenneth To still has the top time on the circuit in the event with a blazing time of 46.89 from the first stop in Dubai. Townsend moved into the five-digit territory in terms of race winnings, moving to $10,250 overall. Meanwhile, D'Orsogna and Ervin have now won $6,250 each.
Women's 200 free
After surprisingly missing the podium in the 800 free to start the night, Hungary's Katinka Hosszu returned to the top of the podium again with a 1:55.46. Her wing-woman Zsuzsanna Jakabos raced to second in 1:56.43, while China's Guo Jinjin touched third in 1:56.77. Hosszu has been pretty consistent in the 200 free on the circuit, remaining in the 1:55s other than a 1:54.70 to win in Doha. Her win pushed her overall cash winnings to $34,500, while Jakabos increased her winnings to $15,250. Hosszu's win is her 21st of the World Cup circuit, equaling the amount of wins overall winner Randall Bal had in 2007. Hosszu's not even halfway through this year's tour.
Guo is a newcomer to the podium on the circuit, earning her first cash prize of the meet. U.S. Junior National Teamers Kylie Stewart (1:58.43) and Leah Smith (1:59.89) took fourth and seventh with Smith completing a tough double off her 800 free triumph.
Men's 50 breast
Italy's Fabio Scozzoli earned his first gold medal of the circuit with a smooth 26.51 for the win in the sprint breaststroke event. Russia's Sergei Geibel posted his first podium of the circuit with a second-place 26.74, while New Zealand's Glenn Snyders pocketed another paycheck with a third-place 27.00. Snyders has now won $6,500 on the circuit. Scozzoli's time is still well off the 25.95 posted by Cameron van der Burgh to win the race in Doha. Van der Burgh, however, has returned home to train and is not competing during the European leg of the trip.
Women's 100 breast
Japan's Rie Kaneto clipped compatriot Mio Motegi by the slimmest of margins, 1:06.18 to 1:06.19, for the victory, while Russia's Maria Temnikova turned in a third-place time of 1:07.55. The winning times were well off the top speed provided by Ruta Meilutyte (1:05.02) and Jennie Johansson (1:05.39) from the Sweden stop, but it was enough for Kaneto to increase her overall winnings to $3,500.
Meanwhile, Jessica Hardy's preliminary troubles continued today in Moscow. This weekend in Stockholm, she missed the 100 IM preliminary swim while waiting to be called in the ready room. Today, she drew a disqualification in the 100 breast, and later objected via Twitter.
Just got DQed in 100br for not separating my hands, know for a FACT I did, even have it on vid. Not happy w the Russian fed. #fb
– Jessica Hardy (@swimhardy) October 17, 2012
Men's 400 IM
After initially having some close finishes with Hungary's Laszlo Cseh early in the circuit, Japan's Daiya Seto has been dominating this event of late. Tonight, he won by nearly five seconds with a 4:01.30 with Cseh fading to second in 4:06.29. Israel's Gal Nevo touched third in 4:09.90. The win gave Seto $16,000 in total race winning thus far, the most among the men. Cseh improved to $6,000 overall with his runner-up status. Seto had a stronger time in Stockholm with the top time on the circuit thus far of 4:00.85. He nearly clipped the World Cup record of 4:00.63 set by Brazil's Thiago Pereira back in 2007. Seto's time last weekend would have placed him third in the world last year behind Ryan Lochte (3:59.52) and Tyler Clary (4:00.35). The question remains whether Seto can crack 4:00 on this year's circuit, and take down Pereira's mark.
Women's 100 fly
Italy's Ilaria Bianchi took home the title in the event with 57.18, while Sweden's Louise Hansson touched second in 59.56. Russia's Veronika Popova clipped The Netherlands' Inge Dekker, 58.42 to 58.58, for the final podium spot. The event had a huge void with Sweden's Therese Alshammar electing not to compete. She dropped a 56.68 over the weekend in Stockholm for the win for the top time on the circuit. Bianchi's time puts her second on the circuit thus far in the event. The event could see a much stronger time throughout the rest of the stops as Alshammar posted a top-ranked time of 55.62 at the Berlin stop last year.
Men's 100 back
Russia's Stanislav Donets jumped his overall winnings to $9,500 with a victorious time of 49.74 in the event, while Australia's Robert Hurley stands second overall with $13,000 after a runner-up effort of 50.70. Japan's Yuki Shirai and Brazil's Guilherme Guido shared bronze with matching 51.47s. Donets is the first swimmer to break 50 seconds on the circuit so far. Hurley owned the previous top time with a 50.18 from the Doha stop. Donets's time would have been the best last year as well, with Matt Grevers owning a 49.85 from the Duel in the Pool in December. Donets still has some time to make up to catch his second-ranked all-time performance of 48.95 from the World Short Course Championships.
Women's 50 back
Rachel Goh of Australia has used her strong underwaters to push her total cash winnings to $9,500 as she has been strong in the backstroke events. Tonight, she won the sprint back in 26.87, while Brazil's Fabiola Molina took second in 27.51. China's Chen Shiming touched third in 27.68. Goh's time tonight is the fastest thus far on the circuit, besting the 26.94 she used to win in Stockholm. She's getting closer and closer to the 26.60 she threw down at the Beijing stop last year that ranked her fourth in the world. Molina, meanwhile, clipped the 27.58 she used for second over the weekend in Stockholm, demonstrating some improvement on her second stop of the tour.
Men's 200 fly
Japan's Kazuya Kaneda has specialized in the 200 fly this circuit, winning the past two races including tonight's with a 1:52.43. Teammate Daiya Seto nearly doubled up tonight with a second-place 1:52.49, while hometown favorite Nikolay Skvortsov of Russia raced to third in 1:52.63. This event has featured some of the closest battles of the meet, including the fastest swims with Seto beating 2011 FINA World Cup champion Chad Le Clos, 1:51.30 to 1:51.31, on the Doha stop for the fastest swims of the circuit this year. Set pushed his gender-leading cash winnings tally to $17,000 with his victory, while Kaneda now has $3,000 with a pair of wins. Skvortsov is a newcomer to this year's circuit.
Women's 200 IM
Usually she's looking for a trifecta by this point in the meet, but Hungary's Katinka Hosszu likely didn't mind winding up with just a double in a head-to-head battle with compatriot Zsuzsanna Jakabos, 2:08.28 to 2:08.76. That victory shot her to Hosszu to $36,000 in winnings with Jakabos second with $16,250 in winnings. Meanwhile, Great Britain's Sophie Allen finished third in 2:09.50. Hosszu finished just off the sterling 2:08.13 she used to complete the 800 free/200 free/200 IM title triple in Stockholm, while Jakabos cleared 2:09 for the first time, having previously topped out with a second-place 2:09.05 in Stockholm as well. That's an amazing 22 gold medals on the circuit thus far for Hosszu. U.S. Junior National Teamers Celina Li (2:11.43), Kaitlyn Jones (2:11.64) and Becca Mann (2:15.44) finished fourth, fifth and eighth respectively.
Men's 400 free
World-record holder Paul Biedermann held off a hard-charging Robert Hurley of Australia, 3:44.00 to 3:44.62, for the top prize in the middle distance event. Russia's Evgeny Kulikov, meanwhile, checked in with a third-place 3:47.84. The top times are well off the best swims of the circuit that came from Japan's Kosuke Hagino (3:40.77) and Hurley (3:41.49) on the first stop in Dubai. However, Hurley's runner-up finish helped him continue to pile up the cash with $14,000 in race winnings thus far. Biedermann, meanwhile, has just $2,500 in winnings after just joining the circuit in Stockholm. Biedermann could have more in the tank later in the circuit, as he led the world with a top-ranked 3:38.65 at the Euro Short Course Championships last December.
Women's 50 free
Germany's Britta Steffen cracked the $10,000 barrier in winnings, pushing her haul to $10,500 after a 24.20 to grab the top prize in the sprint free. USA's Jessica Hardy touched second in 24.52, while Russia's Svetlana Knyaginina turned in a third-place 24.76. The win is the second straight for Steffen after she upended Therese Alshammar last weekend in Stockholm with a circuit-best 24.08. Hardy moved up from third place in Stockholm, but fell off her time of 24.41 from Sweden. The world is still waiting on the first 23-second effort this year. The World Cup had two swimmers break 24 last year with Alshammar (23.67) and Cate Campbell (23.93) both breaking 24 seconds on the tour in Berlin and Tokyo, respectively.
Men's 200 breast
USA's Sean Mahoney earned his first victory of the circuit with a strong time of 2:05.11. Russia's Viatcheslav Sinkevich took second in 2:06.06, while Germany's Marco Koch placed third in 2:06.39. Mahoney's time is the second best on the tour so far, behind only Daiya Seto's winning time of 2:04.87 from the Doha stop, and just ahead of the 2:05.26 Koch used to win the race in Dubai. Mahoney has been traveling with Tom Shields as the U.S. duo is getting some international experience by racing in on the circuit. So far, Mahoney had a pair of third-place finishes to show for his travels.
Men's 100 IM
Australia's Kenneth To keeps throwing down huge times in the sprint medley to rack up points on the tour. Tonight, he won the event in 51.66, just off his Australian record 51.43 he used to win on the first stop in Dubai. The win cracked To into the $10k in winnings range with $10,750 in his coffers thus far. Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell turned in a second-place time of 51.81, while South Africa's Darian Townsend touched third in 53.19 to also have $10,750 in winnings, tying for third among the men with To.
Women's 200 back
New Zealand's Melissa Ingram touched out U.S. National Junior Teamer Kylie Stewart, 2:05.35 to 2:05.79, for the win in the distance dorsal. Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, meanwhile, earned her third podium of the night with a 2:07.29 to finish the night with two golds and a bronze. She now has $36,500 in total winnings heading into night two of the meet. Ingram has been consistent on the tour, now up to $8,000 in prizes. The top times were still well off the best effort of the circuit, a 2:02.99 from Ukraine's Daryna Zevina on the Doha stop. Ingram also slowed up from this weekend, where she won in 2:04.84.
Men's 50 fly
Australia's Matt Targett raced to victory in the sprint fly with a 22.56, while Kenya's Jason Dunford took second in 23.09. Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin took home third-place honors with a 23.12. This is Targett's second consecutive win in the event, having joined the tour in Stockholm with a 22.51 for the win. Dunford, meanwhile, has been on the circuit picking up podium cash in the sprint events with a total of $4,500 thus far. Targett's times in Stockholm and here in Moscow would have put him 1-2 last year as Geoff Huegill had the best time last season with a 22.67 from the Berlin stop of the tour. Targett's 21.51 from Stockholm moved him to 16th all time in the event's history.
Mixed 200 medley relay
Team USA bucked the early convention in putting your best male breaststroker on the squad, and came up aces with a win as Kylie Stewart (27.84), Jessica Hardy (29.48), Tom Shields (22.71) and Anthony Ervin (20.84) turned in a strong time of 1:40.87 to win the fun-filled mixed-gender relay. Russia's Sergey Makor (24.32), Sergei Geibel (25.97), Daria Tcvetkova (26.52) and Anastasia Akesenova (24.53) took second in 1:41.34, while another Russian team of Nadezhda Vinyukova (28.05), Yury Chekulaev (27.17), Evgeny Korotyshkin (22.56) and Maria Reznikova (25.33) placed third in 1:43.11. The other U.S. team of Gunnar Bentz (26.94), Sean Mahoney (27.97), Celina Li (27.88) and Michelle Cefal (25.66) didn't fare as well with an eighth-place 1:48.45.