FINA World Cup, Dubai: Japan Sets Mixed 200 Free Relay World Record; Plenty of Close Calls

DUBAI, UAE, October 18. THE final night at the Dubai stop of the FINA World Cup featured an official world record in the mixed 200-meter free relay, while many of the swims also came down to the touch.

Men’s 1500 free
Although a pure distance swimmer isn’t going to break the bank on the FINA World Cup circuit, Italy’s Gergorio Paltrinieri certainly has put his stamp on the event so far. After surging to a World Cup record 14:27.65 at the Eindhoven stop, Paltrinieri returned tonight in Dubai with a 14:36.25 for the win.

Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli, who told Swimming World after the RCP Tiburon Mile that he is refocusing on pool swimming after a few years of more of an open water swimming training setup, claimed second in 14:41.79. South Africa’s Myles Brown wound up third in 14:43.66.

Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta (14:45.13), Brazil’s Lucas Kanieski (14:49.62), Poland’s Filip Zaborowski (14:50.54), Brazil’s Miguel Leite Valente (14:58.05) and Japan’s Ayatsugu Hirai (14:59.35) all broke 15:00 to round out the top eight in the timed final event.

Women’s 400 IM
She’s been much faster with a scorching 4:20.85 world record at the Berlin stop of the FINA World Cup this year, but Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu still had plenty in the tank as she captured the distance medley title this evening for her sixth podium of the meet.

Hosszu, trailing heading into freestyle, dropped a 31.09, 29.79 final pair of splits to finish in 4:29.09 for the win. Spain’s Mireia Belmonte also powered by early leader Miyu Otsuka with an even more impressive freestyle of 30.88, 28.96, to earn silver. Japan’s Otsuka, meanwhile, faded to third in 4:30.74 after leading at 300 meters.

Hungary’s Evelyn Verrastzo (4:37.58), Japan’s Miho Takahashi (4:41.47), Uzbekistan’s Ranokhon Amanova (4:42.21), France’s Lara Grangeon (4:44.70) and Sarra Lajnef (4:50.06) also made the top eight of the timed final event.

Women’s 100 free
The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo, who turned up the heat at the Berlin stop with a scorching 51.28 in August, returned tonight with just enough of a back half to claim the sprint freestyle title in 52.48. She went out in 25.51, trailing Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen (25.37) at the 50, before powering home in 26.97 for the win.

Kromowidjojo’s teammate Femke Heemskerk turned in a 27.24 final 50 split to race into silver with a 52.79, while Ottesen dropped back to third with a 52.85 after splitting a 27.48 final 50 to round out the podium.

Great Britain’s Fran Halsall (53.03), Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina (53.79), The Netherland’s Inge Dekker (53.85), Spain’s Melani Costa (54.03) and Finland’s Hanna-Maria Seppala (54.09) comprised the rest of the championship heat.

Men’s 200 free
He may not be breaking world records for the huge cash bonuses, but Australia’s Bobby Hurley has been around the World Cup block enough times to know how to haul in some decent earnings. Hurley cracked $15,000 for the circuit with a 1:44.12 to win the men’s 200-meter free. He led the event wire-to-wire, holding off a game Myles Brown of South Africa for the win.

Brown, meanwhile, moved from seventh at the 50 to third at the 100 and second the rest of the way en route to a 1:44.81 as he found his speed just a little too late to catch Hurley. Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski, another routine podium placer this year, picked up third in 1:44.97.

China’s Lin Yongqing (1:46.12), The Netherlands’ Sebastiaan Verschuren (1:46.50), Brazil’s Gustavo Braga Godoy (1:46.76), Switzerland’s Jean-Baptiste Febo (1:47.91) and Poland’s Filip Zaborowski (1:48.17) collected fourth through eighth place in the finale.

Women’s 50 breast
Russia’s Yuliya Efimova matched her third-ranked season best of 29.27 from the Moscow stop last week en route to victory in the sprint breaststroke this evening. She had some tough competition as Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson, who stands second in the world this year with a 29.21, wound up second in 29.38 even after dusting Efimova on the start by .11 seconds.

Germany’s Dorothea Brandt took home third-place honors in 30.37, while The Netherlands’ Moniek Nijhuis missed the money with a fourth-place 30.55.

Israel’s Amit Ivry (30.65), Germany’s Theresa Michalak (30.79), Great Britain’s Sophie Allen (30.84) and Brazil’s Carolina Dos Santos Pires (31.71) also vied for the sprint breaststroke title this evening.

Men’s 100 breast
Australia’s Kenneth To moved to seventh in the world rankings, leapfrogging Barry Murphy’s 58.31, with a 58.29 to win the breaststroke event. To, along with Bobby Hurley, make up a strong Aussie duo that rolls into each World Cup stop and leaves with a large amount of the spoils. This stop in Dubai is no different.

Great Britain’s Michael Jamieson, more of a breaststroke specialist, made up for a fourth-place split at the 50 with a 30.78 down the stretch to move into second place overall with a 58.70, while Slovakia’s Tomas Klobucnik picked up some more cash with a third-place time of 59.23. The Slovakian has had a pretty strong meet here in Dubai with a few podiums of his own.

Germany’s Hendrick Feldwehr just missed the podium with a fourth-place 59.27, while Russia’s Mikhail Dorinov (1:00.16) took fifth.

Finland’s Sami Myren (1:00.41), Panama’s Edgar Crespo (1:00.82) and Russia’s Ilya Khomenko (1:00.97) took home sixth through eighth in the finale.

Men’s 100 fly
World Cup points leader Chad Le Clos touched out USA’s Tom Shields by a slight margin in the 100 fly as the duo have become a dynamic pair of butterfly contenders in a short amount of time on the World Cup circuit. It may just be a matter of time before the two push each other past Evgeny Korotyshkin’s world record of 48.48 from 2009.

Le Clos went out hard with a 22.88 at the 50 before closing in 26.26 for a 49.14 for the win. Shields, meanwhile, clocked a 23.20 at the 50 before coming home in a ridiculous 25.96 to nearly overtake Le Clos with a 49.16, rattling Shields’ American record of 49.01 from the Berlin stop this August.

Poland’s Konrad Czerniak claimed third overall in a distant 50.27, while Serbia’s Ivan Lendjer took fourth in 51.47.

Japan’s Shinri Shioura (51.62), Brazil’s Frederico Castro (51.90), Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski (51.99) and Brazil’s Luiz Pereira (52.96) rounded out the championship finale.

Women’s 100 back
Japan’s Sayaka Akase vaulted herself to fifth in the early world rankings with a clear-cut victory in the dorsal event. She led at the turn with a 27.79 and still had enough in the tank to win the overall gold with a 57.24.

Australia’s Emily Seebohm kept on piling up the cash from the Dubai stop with yet another podium as she took second in 57.53, while Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina held off a hard charging Katinka Hosszu for the final podium spot, 57.56 to 57.59. Hosszu closed in 29.23, but Zevina’s 29.25 was enough to keep her from her seventh podium of the meet.

Great Britain’s Georgia Davies (58.38), Australia’s Belinda Hocking (59.29), France’s Camille Muffat (1:01.03) and South Africa’s Lehesta Kemp (1:01.28) also vied for the title this evening.

Men’s 50 back
Australia’s Bobby Hurley doubled up with a sizzling time in the sprint backstroke. Hurley dropped a 23.31 on the finale field to win his second gold of the night, just off his top-ranked 23.20 from the Berlin stop.

Russia’s Vlad Morozov, who ranks second in the world with a 23.56 behind Hurley in Berlin, finished second yet again tonight with a 23.62 as he continues to put together some strong swims to add to his event winnings. Australia’s Ashley Delaney, another routine competitor on the World Cup circuit, tied with Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki for third-place honors with matching 23.75s.

Norway’s Lavrans Solli (24.18), Great Britain’s Liam Tancock (24.33), Israel’s Guy Barnea (24.60) and Brazil’s Nelson De Silva (24.82) completed the championship finale.

Women’s 200 fly
It took a significant effort in the final 50 meters, but Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu managed to collect her second gold medal of the night as well as her seventh podium of the meet thus far. With Ilaria Bianchi and Mireia Belmonte both leading the pace at various points throughout the distance fly, Hosszu summoned some serious energy in the final 50 meters with a sizzling 31.54 split to win in 2:06.30.

Hosszu managed to clip Belmonte, who had dropped a 31.70 final split of her own before winding up with a 2:06.39 to take silver. After an initial night that featured its share of blowouts, tonight certainly has been a much closer evening of competition. Japan’s Miyu Otsuka put together a consistent third-place swim with a 2:07.02.

Great Britain’s Sophie Allen placed fourth in 2:07.82, while Bianchi demonstrated the definition of fly-and-die as she went out in 1:01.61 at the 100, then wound up with a fifth-place 2:10.23 in the end.

France’s Marie Wattel (2:11.89), France’s Lara Grangeon (2:14.02) and Ukraine’s Ganna Dzerkal (2:14.76) made up the rest of the finale.

Men’s 200 IM
Chad Le Clos had an easier time during his second triumph of the night. After a dogfight with Tom Shields in the 100 fly, Le Clos turned up the heat down the stretch to win the IM going away with a 1:53.21. He had trailed Australia’s Kenneth To at the 150-meter mark, but a 26.30 final 50 ended all doubts about who would capture gold.

To, meanwhile, added another medal to his coffers here in Dubai with a second-place 1:54.68 after taking the lead with a 33.05 split at the 150-meter mark. Hungary’s David Verraszto rounded out the podium with a third-place time of 1:55.73.

Australia’s Travis Mahoney (1:57.07), Hungary’s David Foldhazi (1:58.56), Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches (2:00.40), Israel’s Gal Nevo (2:00.42) and Egypt’s Ahmed Mousa (2:01.44) finished fourth through eighth.

Women’s 400 free
Melani Costa of Spain, who already stands third in the world with a sizzling 3:56.84 from Eindhoven, eased through the middle distance event in 4:00.39. Compared to some of the other stops so far this year, the 400 free in Dubai was not overly swift, but the top-three finishers got the job done to earn some quick cash.

Costa’s Spanish teammate Mireia Belmonte earned yet another podium check this evening with 4:02.23 for second, while The Netherlands’ Rieneke Terink touched third in 4:03.05 for a paycheck of her own.

France’s Coralie Balmy (4:06.11), Germany’s Sarah Kohler (4:06.43), France’s Camille Muffat (4:06.45) and France’s Charlotte Bonnet (4:07.97) finished fourth through seventh in the finale.

Meanwhile, Katinka Hosszu continued her recent trend of what might as well be called race pace warm down with an eighth-place time of 4:16.67 in the 400. She had the same type of effort in Moscow, signing up for the event and making finals but not having a chance to make the podium against more specialized swimmers. Depending on the fields the rest of the circuit draws, she still might pick up a podium in the event.

Men’s 50 free
In a battle of the big dogs of sprint, Russia’s Vlad Morozov got off the blocks in a sizzling .57 second Reaction Time and never had to worry about whether he’d win or not. The question was whether he would take down a record. Morozov wound up posting a 20.66, just shy of Roland Schoeman’s World Cup record of 20.57 from Berlin in 2009, and of Morozov’s top-ranked time of 20.59 from the Moscow stop.

In a close battle for second, a trio of grizzled veterans had an epic contest. Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell blasted a 21.32, while USA’s Anthony Ervin took third in 21.34. World-record holder Schoeman managed fourth in 21.46 after winning a pair of sprint events on night one.

Japan’s Shinri Shioura (21.58), Poland’s Konrad Czerniak (21.64), Japan’s Kenta Ito (21.66) and Brazil’s Felipe Martins (21.84) also competed in the finale.

Women’s 200 breast
Russia’s Yuliya Efimova was swimming by herself mostly during the distance breaststroke this evening. Efimova clocked in with a 2:19.73 for the win, claiming nearly a five-second triumph. With almost zero competition, it’s a pretty strong time compared to her second-ranked 2:18.50 in Moscow where she had plenty of swimmers pushing her to that time.

Great Britain’s Sophie Allen took home second in 2:24.85, while The Netherlands’ Moniek Nijhuis finished third in 2:25.42.

Norway’s Sofie Reisenen (2:28.89), Sarra Lajnef (2:31.50), Slovakia’s Andrea Podmanikova (2:32.34), Hannah Taleb-Bendiab (2:42.91) and Chantal Meyer (2:47.81) comprised the rest of the finale.

Women’s 100 IM
Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson is having the meet of her life. A day after rattling the world record in the 100 breast with a national record, she dropped the sprint medley national record as well. Atkinson back-halfed her way to a win in 58.45 after turning fifth at the 50. That eclipsed her fourth-ranked 58.77 from Berlin that also stood as the Jamaican record, and moved her to second in the world rankings behind only Katinka Hosszu’s brilliant world record 57.45 in Berlin.

Hosszu, meanwhile, snared her eighth podium of the meet with a second-place 58.55, while Australia’s Emily Seebohm kept up her profitable ways with a third-place time of 59.23.

Israel’s Amit Ivry (59.38), Germany’s Theresa Michalak (59.63), Poland’s Aleksandra Urbanczyk (59.97), Finland’s Hanna-Maria Seppala (1:00.92) and Hungary’s Evelyn Verraszto (1:00.99).

Men’s 200 back
The place to watch was the outside lanes for the spectators as Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki and USA’s Tom Shields battled from lane two and lane one, respectively. Kawecki, who owns the top-ranked time in the world with a blistering 1:47.63 from Berlin, led wire-to-wire with a 1:49.70 for the win this evening.

Meanwhile, Shields hung tough throughout as he stood either third or fourth through the first 150 meters before dropping a 27.97 final split to take second in 1:52.26 from lane one. Australia’s Travis Mahoney clipped compatriot Ashley Delaney, 1:52.97 to 1:52.99, for the final podium spot.

Israel’s Yakov-Yan Toumarkin (1:54.29), Switzerland’s Lukas Raeuftlin (1:56.05), Brazil’s Nelson De Silva (1:57.97) and Australia’s Bobby Hurley (2:00.64) rounded out the finale.

Women’s 50 fly
Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen, who already holds the top time in the world with a 24.87 from Eindhoven, crushed the field in the sprint fly with a sweltering 25.03 to close out individual medals here in Dubai. Singapore’s Li Tao placed second in 25.55, while The Netherlands’ Inge Dekker picked up third in 25.88.

The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo (25.92), Great Britain’s Fran Halsall (26.06), Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (26.28), Norway’s Monica Johannessen (26.54) and Italy’s Ilaria Bianchi (26.60) finished fourth through eighth.

Mixed 200 free relay
Japan took down the world record in the mixed 200 free relay this evening, albeit this is one of the more controversial records as FINA just began recognizing the event two months ago. Australia’s Matt Abood, James Magnussen, Brittany Elmslie and Emma McKeon still have the World Best time in the event with a 1:29.31 from the Eindhoven stop of the World Cup circuit, prior to FINA officially recognizing the event in September.

Japan’s Shinri Shioura (21.63), Sayaka Akase (25.28), Kenta Ito (20.70) and Kanako Watanabe (24.91) won the finale in 1:32.52, beating the officially recognized world record of 1:33.01 clocked by Russia last week in Moscow. Brazil’s Felipe Martins (21.71), Gustavo Braga Godoy (21.57), Roberta Albino (25.22) and Carolina Dos Santos Pires (24.45) also beat the global mark with a second-place 1:32.95.

China’s Liu Xuewu (22.17), Sun Meichen (24.64), Zhou Yilin (25.20) and Lin Yongqing (21.71) wound up third in 1:33.72.

Egypt (1:39.13), South Africa (1:40.63), Singapore (1:42.33) and UAE (1:45.75) finished fourth through seventh, while Norway drew a disqualification for an early takeoff between Monica Johannessen and Cecilie Johannessen.