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SWC 2012, Stockholm day 1: Hosszu completes hat trick; Alshammar gets 135th medal!

Swimming World Cup

October 13, 2012 STOCKHOLM - Who will stop Katinka Hosszu? After dominating the first two legs of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup 2012 in Dubai (UAE) and Doha (QAT), winning seven gold medals at each of those meets, the Hungarian versatile star was again the swimmer to beat on the first day of the third leg of the series, being held in Stockholm on October 13-14. The 23-year-old swimmer, 2009 World champion in the 400m individual medley, obtained three titles (and four medals) in the initial day in the Swedish capital and is now, by far, the most successful female swimmer of this year’s World Cup. Moreover, she was the best female performer (919 points) of this first day, thanks to her 200m IM win.

Hosszu’s success at the Eriksdalsbadet in Stockholm started with the triumph in the 800m free, where she got her fastest winning time so far at this World Cup, touching in 8:24.48. The minor medals went to Lotte Friis (DEN, 8:25.96) and to another Magyar swimmer, Zsuzsanna Jakabos, bronze medallist in 8:31.96. Some minutes later, Kosszu was again the best in the 200m free, getting the gold in 1:55.30 – she had been faster in Doha, clocking then 1:54.79. Jakabos was this time second (1:56.31), while Hannah Miley (GBR) finished third in 1:56.58. Hosszu’s winning strategy was once more successful in the 200m individual medley, where she comfortably touched first in 2:08.13, the fastest of her three wins so far in this event at the World Cup. The silver medal was shared by Jakabos and Sophie Allen (GBR) in 2:09.05. The Hungary duet Hosszu-Jakabos was again in action in the 200m backstroke, getting the silver (2:07.44) and bronze (2:08.71) respectively. This time, the gold went to Melissa Ingram (NZL), winner in 2:04.84.

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Therese Alshammar (SWE, with the yellow cap) at the start of the 50m free - credit: Bildbyran

The second highlight of the day went to home star, 35-year-old Therese Alshammar: in the 100m butterfly, she swam for gold in 56.68 (the best so far, after her 57.22 effort in Doha), amassing her 134th medal (and 91st gold) at World Cup events since 1994, Alshammar totally dominated the race, leaving Ingvild Snildal (NOR) in second (57.98) and Emilia Pikarainen with the bronze (58.48). In the 50m free, Alshammar got her 135th award, finishing second in 24.24, behind Germany’s Britta Steffen, 2008 Olympic champion in this event, who got the gold in 24.08. Jessica Hardy (USA) was third in 24.41.

Asked about all these successes for the last 18 years, Alshammar confessed: “I’m very bad in statistics. I don’t count the medals…” However, she promptly explained the success for such longevity:

“I love the sport of swimming and this is the key for staying motivated so long. It’s a fantastic sport for both the body and the mind and I was lucky enough to be injured only once, unfortunately this summer”, said Alshammar.

On her goals for this 2012 edition of the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup, Alshammar explained: "After my physical problems this summer, I had to change my focus, but I am very happy to be swimming quite fast in this World Cup. My primary goals were to be back on track, and this is already done. I hope to be at the FINA World Championships next July in Barcelona". On her role model for the youth at home: "I feel very honoured and privileged. I also had my role models when I was younger: I recall our very good swimmer Anders Holmertz - he was more of a person than a swimmer".

Still in the women’s field, one of the most exciting races of the session was the final of the 100m breaststroke, where 2012 Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) had to fight to overcome the strong opposition from Sweden’s Jennie Johansson. After a thrilling 15 final metres, Meilutyte touched home for gold in 1:05.02 – getting the fastest time so far in the 2012 series (Johansson had won in Doha in 1:06.11 and finished second at home, in 1:05.39). The bronze went to Rie Kaneto (JPN) in 1:05.44. Finally, in the 50m backstroke, Rachel Goh (AUS) got the best time so far in this World Cup, clinching gold in 26.94.

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Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) - credit: Bildbyran

Among men, Daiya Seto (JPN) was the fastest in the 400m individual medley, in a good time of 4:00.85 (corresponding to 934 points). It was the best time at the 2012 series so far, after his winning time of 4:02.51 in Doha. Behind the 18-year-old Japanese swimmer, the 2005 World champion Laszlo Cseh (HUN) finished second in 4:01.01, while Israel’s Gal Nevo got the bronze in 4:08.32. In the 200m butterfly, Seto (1:52.12) could not beat his compatriot Kazuya Kaneda, who touched first in 1:51.95. Tireless Seto was beaten once more in this session, when he collected another silver (2:06.65) in the 200m breaststroke behind Germany’s Marco Koch (2:06.09). Australia had in Matthew Targett (50m butterly in 22.51), Tommaso D’Orsogna (100m free in 47.05) and Robert Hurley (100m back in 50.38, and 400m free in 3:43.75) its three winners of the day, while Glenn Snyders (NZL) gave Oceania another reason to celebrate, with a victory in the 50m breaststroke (26.61). In the 400m free, Hurley bested the World record holder in this event, Germany’s Paul Biedermann, who touched second in 3:45.14.

Almost closing this first day, George Bovell (TRI) got the best performance of the finals’ session, winning the 100m individual medley in 51.56, corresponding to 954 points.

Kenneth To (AUS), the winner in Doha with 51.43 had to content this time with the silver in 51.75 (the second best result of the day, 943 points).

The best three performers of the first day in Stockholm were:

MEN
1. George Bovell (TRI), 100m IM, 51.56 – 954 points
2. Kenneth To (AUS), 100m IM, 51.75 – 943 points
3. Daiya Seto (JPN), 400m IM, 4:00.85 – 934 points

WOMEN
1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 200m IM, 2:08.13 – 919 points
2. Therese Alshammar (SWE), 100m butterfly, 56.68 – 916 points
3. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN), 200m IM, 2:09.05 – 900 points