Kathleen Baker Follows Up 200IM Victory With 2:07 200m Backstroke In Nice

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Kathleen Baker; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Kathleen Baker sent more ripples across the water with victory in the 200m backstroke in 2:07.22 as she followed up Friday’s victory in the 200IM at the Nice leg of the Camille Muffat Golden Tour in France.

Baker had relegated Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu to second in the short medley and on Saturday the American had no challengers bar the clock as she finished 4.50secs ahead of British swimmer Honey Osrin in a time good enough for bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Such is the depth in the women’s 200m back that much is promised over four lengths between now and Tokyo 2020.

Baker’s fellow American Regan Smith spearheads the field following her astonishing world record of 2:03.35 in the semis at last year’s World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, before going on to win gold.

Australian pair Kaylee McKeown, who won silver behind Smith, and Minna Atherton, Canadians Kylie Masse, bronze medallist in Gwangju, and Taylor Ruck are among those who will be gunning for the podium while Italian Margherita Panziera will fly the flag for Europe.

Baker was locked out of the final by one place at worlds in 2:09.68 – a time 2.46secs slower than her effort in Nice – although preparation and performance had been hampered by a rib injury sustained in April.

Out in 29.90 – the only sub-30sec in the field – Baker held a 1.34sec lead after the first length and subsequent splits of 31.78; 32.56 and 32.98 propelled her home and hinting at a return to the form that brought her a bronze medal at the 2017 worlds.

Osrin, the European junior silver medallist, touched in 2:11.72 with Ekaterina Avramova third in 2:13.23.

Hosszu Makes Late Move In 400IM

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Katinka Hosszu – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Hosszu is accustomed to the demands of multi-event programmes and on Saturday she was back in the water for the 400IM just seven minutes after winning the 1500 free.

The Hungarian had lost out to Baker on Friday in the 200IM as the American followed Sydney Pickrem of Canada last month in handing Hosszu her second loss in the event since 2013.

There was to be no repeat in the longer medley, Hosszu winning in 4:38.60 although she only went to the head of the field on the first freestyle leg when she overhauled long-time leader Fantine Lesaffre.

The Frenchwoman went out in 29.41 to Hosszu’s 30.63 and was 1.21secs ahead following the breaststroke when the Olympic champion made her move.

She had turned the deficit into a lead of 0.69secs at the final turn before pulling away and getting her hand to the wall 1.13secs ahead of Lesaffre – who won the 2018 European title in Hosszu’s absence – who finished in 4:39.73.

That followed her victory in the 1500m free in 16:27.83 ahead of Merve Tuncel, the Turkish swimmer born in 2005 (16:29.24).

Henique Flies To Victory

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Melanie Henique on her way to victory over 50m butterfly at the European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Melanie Henique has had a fine time of late. On Friday she set sail on her first voyage inside 25secs when she won the 50 free in 24.86.

On Saturday she flew to a time of 25.83 in the 50m butterfly with clear daylight to Michelle Coleman who was 0.65 adrift in 26.48 and Kendyl Stewart, the 2019 100m fly Pan-American champion, 0.05 further behind.

Henique won the 50m fly title at the European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow in December in a national and championship record in 24.56.

Jeremy Desplanches added the 200IM title to his 400 victory on Friday.

The Swiss, who won silver in a national record of 1:56.56 at last year’s worlds, dominated to win in 1:57.76 ahead of Jaouad Syoud who held off 2:02.10 and Balasz Hollo by 0.04 in 2:02.10.

Lisa Mamie led from start to finish to win the 200m breaststroke in a speedy 2:25.56.

The Italian went out in 33.35 and although Tatiana Belonogoff cut the deficit to 0.22secs at halfway, Mamie extended her lead to win by 1.03secs, the Russian touching in 2:26.59.

Third was Justine Delmas in 2:27.88 – a time especially notable given the French swimmer was born in 2005.

Charlotte Bonnet, swimming in her home pool, followed up silver over 50m with gold in the 200m free, taking over at halfway to win in 1:58.10.

Apostolos Christou, the 2018 European 100m backstroke bronze medallist, won a close men’s 50m back race in 25.46, 0.07secs ahead of Frenchman Yohann Ndoye Brouard, who continued the fine form he showed at last month’s Euro Meet when he won two golds among three medals, as the pair replicated the result of the 100m final on Friday.

Giacomo Carini won the men’s 200 fly in 1:58.45 and Erik Persson won the 200m breaststroke in 2:12.18 from Savvas Thomoglou (2:12.57).

The session ended with victory in the 100 free for Maxime Grousset in 49.16 ahead of Michael Chadwick (49.40) and Bjoern Seeliber (49.93).

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