Jumat, 05 Oktober 2012

Hosszu triumphs in Swimming World Cup in Dubai

Katinka Hosszu

Hungarian takes 7 individual gold medals and one bronze

Chad Le Clos may have been king of the pool with his six golds in Dubai last year at the FINA /ARENA Swimming World Cup, but in Wednesday’s session on the final day of competition, a new queen has been crowned.

Katinka Hosszu of Hungary came into the meet a relative unknown outside of swimming circles despite having competed at three Olympic Games, but left as the best female performer of the event. Hosszu took seven individual gold medals and one bronze, as well as an eighth gold in the mixed relay.

Hosszu added to her three golds and one bronze from Day 1 with gold in her first event of the evening, the 400m individual medley, ahead of teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos and South Africa’s Kathryn Meaklim. She went on to also take gold in her next race, the 200m butterfly, again ahead of Jakobos and Spela Bohinc of Slovenia.

Two races later she overcame Melissa Ingram of New Zealand and Darya Zevina to win the 400m freestyle. Her last individual race of Wednesday night was the 100m individual medley, again beating Jakabos and Britta Steffen.

Before Hosszu’s golden performances, the finals session had kicked off with the men’s 1500m freestyle which was won by Hungarian Gergo Kis swimming for UAE clubs. Kis finished ahead of David Brandl of Austria and Sergii Frolov of Ukraine.

After the withdrawal on Wednesday morning of Therese Alshammar from the 100m freestyle to concentrate on the 50m butterfly, the gold was Germany’s Britta Steffen’s for the taking. As predicted, she stamped her authority on the race from the outset and added gold to her silver from the 50m freestyle last night and gold from the mixed relay.

Darian Townsend of South Africa recovered from a slow start on Tuesday to join in the medal haul of the South African team, taking gold in both the 200m freestyle and 200 individual medley, both in tight finishes. Robert Hurley of Australia finished just behind Townsend, with Hurley’s team mate Tommaso D’Orsogna third.

In the 200 individual medley, Townsend held off a fast finishing Daiya Seto of Japan. Kenneth To of Australia added to his two golds from last night with a bronze behind Seto.

The women’s 50m breaststroke was all Jennie Johansson’s. The Swedish girl romped home almost a full second ahead of Japan’s Fumiko Kawanabe with Sweden’s Joline Hoestman in third. Kawanabe then took gold in the 200m breaststroke, again ahead of Joline Hoestman with Ukraine’s Anna Dzerkal taking bronze.

After winning the 100m breaststroke at the London Olympics South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh was hot favourite and felt the pressure to win the event in Dubai. He didn’t disappoint, adding to his gold in the 50m breaststroke yesterday, but was pushed all the way by Glenn Snyders of New Zealand. Van der Burgh said after the morning heats that he was pleased to be the lane 1 for the final. This strategy worked perfectly for him, touching only .09 of a second ahead of Snyders swimming in lane 4, with Marco Koch third.

The pressure was on in the next race as Chad Le Clos took on a strong field in the 100m butterfly, swimming from Lane 2. Jason Dunford of Kenya took the early lead but Le Clos was determined to turn the tables on Dunford after his defeat on Tuesday night and stormed home to win ahead of Evgeny Korotyshkin and Thomas Shields of the USA. Dunford faded to fourth, and UAE clubs’ Velimir Stjepanovic was unable to add to his bronze from day 1 and came in fifth.

The battle of the backstroke queens in the 100m was tight with Darya Zevina of Ukraine pushing Rachel Goh of Australia all the way. But it was Goh who prevailed, taking the 50m/100m double, Japan’s Noriko Inada finished with the bronze.

Stanislav Donets took the men’s backstroke double with a win in the 100m on day 1 and a gold in the 50m on Wednesday night. Australian team mates Robert Hurley and Ashley Delaney finished with silver and bronze. 

The men’s 50m freestyle was the second trip to the podium for Anthony Ervin of the USA. Returning to short course after a 12 year break Ervin added gold to his silver from day 1, edging out George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago and Kyle Richardson of Australia.

The men’s 200m backstroke was the tightest finish of the event with Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki edging out Kosuke Hagino of Japan by the smallest of margins, one one hundredth of a second. Japan’s Kauki Watanabe came in third.

Current World Cup champion Therese Alshammar was in brilliant form in the 50m butterfly. The race promised to be one of the toughest of the program with Alshammar, the current world champion in the 50m butterfly (short course) up against the Netherland’s Inge Dekker, the current world champion in the 50m butterfly (long course). However Alshammar’s pedigree shone through as she took the win comfortably ahead of Dekker and Hang Yu Sze of Hong Kong.

The final race of the programme was again a first for Dubai, a mixed (2 men and 2 women from each country) 4 x 50m freestyle relay. This is the first time such a race has been swum at a World Cup and will be featured in each of the eight leg series this year. The event certainly entertained the crowd and the tight finish as Hungary overhauled the Ukraine to take gold. The final leg for Hungary was swum by Katinka Hosszu, giving her  her eighth gold medal.

This is the second time Dubai has held the first leg of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup series. Over 190 swimmers representing 30 countries competed in the event.

The Dubai competition is first of the eight-leg World Cup series, which now moves on to Doha, Stockholm, Moscow, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore. The Swimming World Cup is contested in a 25m pool and sees both men and women vying for prize money in each of the 36 events. 

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