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SWC 2012, Doha day 2: Indomitable Hosszu repeats 7-gold success

Swimming World Cup

400m IM Women's podium - credit: Alexandra P. KavouraDOHA, Qatar - Traditionally, Hungarian swimming always favoured long course competitions. Successful swimmers from this country in short course events are rare. We are currently witnessing a change in course that is profitable to the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup as it was brilliantly demonstrated by Hungarian Katinka Hosszu on the final day of the Doha stage at the Hamad swimming complex. The Hungarian swimmer, who has been training at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USC) for the last few years, was eager to bounce back from this summer's slump at the London Olympics where she missed the podium in the 400 IM (fourth with 58 hundredths of a second behind China's Li).

With her 14 individual gold medals (seven in each leg), one can easily assure that the Hungarian successfully dispelled all doubt and re-affirmed her place among the world's best ahead of the 2012 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Istanbul in December.



Hosszu and Hungary top medal stand
 
On day 2, Hosszu took out four events and set three new world marks in the 400 IM (4:30.03), 400 free (4:04.23) and 100 IM (59.74), facing pressure from both compatriot Zsuzsanna Jakabos (4:30.44 in the 400 IM and 1:00.41 in the 100 IM) and Melissa Ingram from New Zealand (4:05.62 in the 400 free). Hosszu's fourth victory was obtained in the 200 fly in 2:09.31 with a 1.30 margin over Jakabos. With such fast performances, the small Hungarian delegation of five swimmers finished on top of the medals table in Doha with 19 awards: 8 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze, ahead of Australia (6 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze) and Japan (5 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze), 13 medals each.

Veteran swimmer Therese Alshammar (SWE) set an example to the young rising talents by claiming her third victory in the 50 fly (25.62), edging Dutch Inge Dekker (25.98) and Hong Kong's Hang Yu Sze (26.60). The other Scandinavian swimmer to shine was Jennie Johansson, winner of the 50 breast in 30.69 ahead of Fumiko Kawanabe (JPN, 31.55) and team mate Joline Hoestman (31.59). Kawanabe took revenge over the Swedish swimmers after dominating the 200 breast in 2:20.59, ahead of Hoestman (2:24.03) and Tanja Smid (SLO, 2:24.46) while Johansson had to settle for fourth (2:28.00).

2008 double Olympic champion Britta Steffen (GER) emerged victorious in 53.40 after reversing the situation in the 100 free; at mid-race, she was behind Michelle Coleman (SWE, 53.60) and Inge Dekker (NED, 54.25) but powered home in the second lap and raced for the win. Steffen also climbed the podium in the  100 IM, finishing third in 1:01.58.

Despite her victory in the 100 back in 57.90 (867 points) ahead of Rachel Goh (AUS, 58.88) and Noriko Inada (JPN, 59.27), Daryna Zevina (UKR) did not repeat her nice performance from day 1 in the 200 back (929 points). In the 400 IM, Zevina made another trip to the podium, picking up bronze in 4:07.17. Katheryn Meaklim (RSA) and Kin Lok Chan (HKG) completed the podium in the women's 400 IM (4:46.05) and 200 fly (2:13.12), respectively.


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Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) - credit: Alexandra P. Kavoura


African record for Le Clos

Chad Le Clos (RSA) was well resolved to leave Doha with at least one victory in the 100 fly, in which he would face World record holder Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS). After a brilliant first 50m, which he completed in 23.39 (only 49 hundredths of a second slower than his race in the 50 fly on day 1), Le Clos outran the Russian (50.22), and at the same time, improved his African record to 49.60. The bronze went to U.S. Thomas Shields (50.42). Le Clos' new continental mark also earned him the day's best scoring (933 points).

The winners in freestyle events (50, 200 and 1500) did not match expectations. 2000 Olympic champion Anthony Ervin (USA) won the 50 free in 21.02 ahead of George Bovell (TRI, 21.06) and Kyle Richardson (AUS, 21.54) while the World record holder Roland Schoeman (RSA, 21.55) had to settle for fourth.

On his victory, Anthony Ervin (USA) said: “After this morning my main aim was to find the details I could improve on to swim fast tonight and I’m pleased with the event as it is my best time in this event. The FINA World Cup is a great event to keep the interest of swimming for the public after the post-Olympic lull.”

16-year-old Kecheng Wang from China created a sensation in the 1500 free, touching first after a 14:43.83 effort ahead of Hungarian Gergo Kis (third, 14:56.57). The young hero from day 1, Japan's Daiya Seto, delivered nice performances, taking silver in the 1500 free (14:48.97) and third in both the 200 IM (1:54.78) and 100 breast (58.60). In the 200 free, Tommaso D'Orsogna (AUS, 1:43.84) was the surprise winner, overrunning South Africa's Darian Townsend (1:43.95) and compatriot Robert Hurley (1:44.05).

As expected, the untouchable South Africans, Cameron van der Burgh (57.22 in a new WR, 917 points) and Darian Townsend (1:53.75), dominated the operations in the 100 breast and 200 IM, respectively overcoming Glenn Snyders (NZL, 58.13) and Laszlo Cseh (HUN, 1:53.85).

Post-event, Darian Townsend (RSA) said: “I’m happy that I have one medal of each colour here at Doha. I am not sure how much more swimming I’ll do this season but Dubai and Doha have been awesome. The South Africans have put on a great show this year. We have our two Olympic gold medallists here and that’s a great motivation."

Poland and Russia claimed their unique victory in the backstroke events with Stanislav Donets (RUS), who was beaten on day 1 by two Australians, taking revenge in the 50 back (23.49) and edging Australians Robert Hurley (23.55) and Ashley Delaney (23.86). As for Poland, Radoslow Kawecki set the best world mark in the 200 back (1:50.89) by holding at bay Kazuki Watanabe (JPN, 1:52.64) and Ashley Delaney (AUS, 1:52.86).


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Men's 1500m free podium - credit: Alexandra P. Kavoura