BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, October 11. DURING the initial finals session of the 2008 FINA World Cup held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, South Africa's Katheryn Meaklim and Australia's Christian Sprenger took early leads in the overall point totals by each winning a pair of events.
Women's 800 freestyle
South African record holder Katheryn Meaklim picked up the first title available in the 2008 FINA World Cup circuit when she clocked a time of 8:49.76 in the women's distance race. Meaklim is still rounding back into form, as she has posted a time as fast as 8:25.53 at the World Short Course Championships this year.
Brazil's Isabelle Longo took second in 8:55.34, while compatriot Amanda Macedo finished third in 9:02.12.
Men's 100 freestyle
Olympic gold medalist Cesar Cielo just missed his Brazilian record in the event en route to winning in 47.18. Cielo has a 47.00 to his credit from last November.
World-record holder Stefan Nystrand of Sweden placed second in 47.70, while Australian Kyle Richardson rounded out the podium in 48.24.
Women's 200 freestyle
Sweden's Josefin Lillhage, who has a 1:53.55 to her credit from last December, cruised to victory in the women's 200 free with a time of 1:57.05.
Russia's Kira Volodina finished second with a time of 1:58.58, beating Brazil's Tatiana Lemos-Barbosa by a full second as the Brazilian placed third in 1:59.58.
Men's 50 breaststroke
Christian Sprenger put a scare into the Australian record (26.62) of Brenton Rickard, but came up short. He still wound up with the winner's prize money in a time of 26.89.
Brazil's Felipe Silva was more successful in his national-record try as he placed second in 27.17. That performance cleared the previous record of 27.23 set by Eduardo Fischer back in 2002.
Countryman Felipe Lima settled for third in a time of 27.32.
Women's 100 breaststroke
Tara Kirk of the U.S. walked away with the victory as she cruised through with a time of 1:06.71.
Sweden's Rebecca Ejdervik collected second-place honors with a time of 1:07.98, while Russia's Valentina Atremyeva placed third in 1:08.28.
Men's 400 IM
Olympic gold medalist Ous Mellouli of Tunisia had to do some work to hold off Brazil's Henrique Rodrigues, but he did the job in the end. Mellouli clocked a time of 4:17.68, while Rodrigues finished second in 4:24.25.
Brazil's Mauricio Torres rounded out the top three with a time of 4:24.25.
Women's 100 butterfly
A sub-minute performance was required to medal in the event. Australia's Marieke Guehrer dominated the field with a time of 57.51.
Brooke Bishop of the U.S. wound up holding off South Africa's Mandy Loots, 59.13 to 59.18, for the second-place finish.
Men's 100 backstroke
In Blackjack, anything over 21 is a bust. That's exactly what happened for Blackjack Randall Bal. The World Cup champion from last year, who won all 21 backstroke events, suffered a loss in his 22nd World Cup backstroke event.
Russia's Stanislav Donets claimed the gold and the cash with a time of 50.92. The time came just half-a-second off his national record of 50.53. Bal, meanwhile, placed second in 51.41.
Leonardo Guedes of Brazil completed the top three in 53.57.
Women's 50 backstroke
Brazil's Fabiola Molina just missed her South American record in the sprint back event when she chalked up a time of 27.60. That performance came up just shy of her 27.56 set last November.
Sophie Edington of Australia wound up taking second place with a time of 27.79, while South Africa's Chanelle Van Wyk grabbed third in 27.84. Van Wyk's clocking eclipsed her South African standard of 28.00 set in September.
Men's 200 butterfly
Brazil's Kaio Almeida turned on the afterburners to chase down South Africa's Sebastien Rousseau during the final 50 meters of the race. Almeida clocked a top time of 1:56.74 to win the event, while Rousseau picked up second in 1:57.36.
Brazilian Leonardo De Deus wrapped up the top three spots in a time of 1:59.43 after hanging with Almeida throughout the first 150 meters.
Women's 200 IM
South Africa's Katheryn Meaklim doubled up on the day with a triumph in the women's 200 IM. She touched out hard-charging Joanna Maranhao-Melo of Brazil, 2:12.50 to 2:12.78. Maranhao-Melo just missed her Brazilian record of 2:12.42 set back in 2005.
South Africa's Mandy Loots picked up third-place honors in a time of 2:14.78.
Men's 400 freestyle
Brazil's Armando Negreiros upset Olympic gold medalist Ous Mellouli of Tunisia with a strong final kick as he touched him out, 3:45.78 to 3:45.89. Mellouli had led the bulk of the race, and was going for his second gold medal of the day in the 400-meter distance after winning the IM.
Rodrigo Castro of Brazil took third with a time of 3:50.56.
Women's 50 freestyle
Brooke Bishop of the U.S. improved upon her preliminary time of 24.80 to easily walk away with the top prize in the women's sprint free when she hit the wall in 24.66.
Australia's Marieke Guehrer finished second in 24.73, while Sweden's Therese Alshammar placed third in 24.96.
Men's 200 breaststroke
No one could touch Australia's Christian Sprenger in the finale as he claimed the gold medal in 2:07.58. The win gave Sprenger his second triumph in a breaststroke event for the day after taking the sprint.
Brazil's Thiago Parravicini ended up taking second in 2:12.01, while countryman Alan Nagaoka placed third in 2:13.19.
Men's 100 IM
Brazilian record holder Thiago Pereira emerged triumphant in the sprint medley event with a time of 53.75.
Compatriot Henrique Rodrigues completed the second-place swim with a 54.41, while Australia's Kyle Richardson took third in 54.66.
Women's 200 backstroke
After doing a little housecleaning in her home pool by swimming out to grab a discarded pair of goggles floating in the pool before the start, Brazil's Joanna Maranhao-Melo was touched out by Colombia's Carolina Henao, 2:09.12 to 2:09.91.
Brazilian Fernanda Alvarenga rounded out the top three in 2:12.51.
Men's 50 butterfly
Brazil's Nicholas Santos popped a world-class time out of lane six in a surprising finish to the final event of the session. Santos uncorked a time of 23.06, just edging Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin (23.08) in the sprint fly.
Olympic gold medalist Cesar Cielo wrapped up the top three with a time of 23.29.