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SWC 2013, Dubai Day 2: WR for Japan in mixed free relay

Swimming World Cup

The Dubai leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup 2013 concluded in fine style tonight, with Japan taking a World record in the last event on the programme, the mixed 4x50m freestyle relay in 1:32.52. It was the only World record of the meet, and the Japanese team of Shinri Shioura, Sayaka Akase, Kenta Ito and Kanako Watanabe were delighted. "We are very happy" said Shioura, "this is one second faster than in Moscow." Brazil took silver in the relay, in 1:32.95, with China in third in 1:33.72.

Shioura’s gold gave him the box set, after picking up silver in the 4x50m mixed medley relay and bronze in the 50m breaststroke on Day 1. It also made two golds for Sayaka Akase, who took gold in the women’s 100m backstroke tonight in 57.24 ahead of Australia’s Emily Seebohm (57.53) who just edged out Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina in 57.56 in one of the many close finishes of the evening.

The large and enthusiastic crowd was on the edge of their seats from the first event of the session, the much anticipated men’s 1500m freestyle which featured Tunisian and local favourite Oussama Mellouli. Mellouli’s result wasn’t quite what the crowd hoped for though, being touched out by Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy who finished in 14:36.25 to Mellouli’s 14:41.79. South Africa’s Devon Brown was third in 14:43.86. 

Paltrinieri said: "This year is important for me, I just finished school a month ago. This is one of my best times and of course I’m happy to beat Oussama."

Mellouli was sanguine about his result, having only recently returned to training.

"Coming into this meet I didn’t have high expectations, I’ll take that result and build on it, and I’m sure I’ll improve when I feel fresher and don’t have jet lag. I have good memories of Dubai and I’m excited about (the World Cup leg) Doha," Mellouli said.


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Men's 1500m podium in Dubai - credit: Giorgio Scala


The two undisputed stars of the meet, Chad Le Clos and Katinka Hosszu also didn’t disappoint the crowd, both taking two golds for the night. For Le Clos it was two out of two, winning the 200m IM and the 100m butterfly, while for Hosszu it was a mixed evening. Her heavy programme of six finals on the night, after also contesting six last night, saw her finish Day 2 with two gold, one silver, a fourth, a sixth and an uncharacteristic eigth placing. Her total medal haul for the event was four gold, two silver and two bronze so despite missing the podium a few times she was the top medal winner for the event.

While Le Clos had hoped for a World record in the 100m butterfly, he finished off the pace in 49.14, only just managing to edge Thomas Shields of the US who finished in 49.16. Poland’s Konrad Czerniak finished in third in 50.27.

In the 200m IM, Le Clos knew he had a fight on his hands with Kenneth To of Australia and the two were neck and neck until the final turn when Le Clos powered off the wall to finish in 1:53.21, with To in 1:54.68. Hungary’s David Verraszto was third in 1:55.73.

Le Clos was a little disappointed with his time in the 100m butterfly, saying: "I wanted to get as close as I could, I started on World record pace then died a bit. I think I looked around too much, and I hit the turns a bit short. I was trying so hard I overcooked it a bit."


Of the 200m IM, he said: "I knew it would be a good race, Kenny is strong in the IM. I didn’t want to leave it to chance, he caught me in the breaststroke and in the turn I could see him underwater so I went really hard. It hurt a lot but it was worth it."

Le Clos went on to say: "I want to swim more medleys, my goal is to win the 400m IM at the Olympics because it’s the toughest race there is. To win that means you are the toughest, fittest and strongest swimmer, and I want to be one of the best all rounders in the world. I’m not one to shy away from hard work, it’s the hardest race, and the one I would love to win."

Kenneth To was still happy with his silver, having taken gold earlier in the evening in the 100m breaststroke in 58.29, ahead of the UK’s Michael Jamieson (58.70) and Slovakia’s Tomas Klobucnik (59.23).

"I’m really happy with that gold in the 100m breaststroke, it’s an event I don’t normally do so that felt good. I knew it would take a lot to beat Chad in the 200IM, so I’m still very happy with that result," To said later.

The women’s 400m IM was Katinka Hosszu’s first appearance in her six finals for the evening, and she got off to a great start, taking gold in 4:29.09, ahead of Spain’s Mireia Belmonte in 4:30.05 with Japan’s Miyu Otsuka third in 4:30.74.


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Women's 400m IM podium in Dubai - credit: Giorgio Scala


After her strong start Hosszu had a mixed evening, after her victory in the 400m IM she then finished fourth in the 100m backstroke, just .03 behind Daryna Zevina. In her next event the 200m butterfly she triumphed again, taking gold in 2:06.30, and in a repeat of the 400m IM result, Mireia Belmonte took second in 2:06.39 with Miyu Otsuka of Japan third in 2:07.02.

The next race, the 400m freestyle, turned up probably the biggest surprise of the night when Hosszu felt the mental strain of her incredibly heavy schedule, fading to 8th. Melanie Costa of Spain (4:00.39) took gold ahead of teammate Belmonte (4:02.23), and Rieneke Terink (4:03.05)of the Netherlands.

Hosszu said later: "I feel really tired, I’d be lying if I would say I feel fine. I didn’t do so well in the long distance freestyle because I think it’s kind of mental. It’s a long race and I was like ‘do I want to do it, do I not?’ When you do a lot of races it’s kind of tough sometimes to get ready and forget about the other races."


Costa however was delighted with her win, saying: "I felt really good, I wasn’t feeling really confident so I went out fast and tried to hold on. Miriea is tough competition but its pushing us both. I’m enjoying the World Cup, I haven’t done it before and I wondered how the others can race and still train but it is really helping me. I hope to do it again next year," she said.

True to form, Hosszu bounced back from the disappointing result in the 400m freestyle to take silver in the 100m IM, with a thrilled Alia Atkinson of Jamaica taking gold by .1 of a second in 58.45 to Hosszu’s 58.55. Australia’s Emily Seebohm took bronze in 59.23.
 
Atkinson, who finished the meet with two golds and one silver, was happy with her win, saying: "It felt good, I knew after this morning I had to work on my underwater. It’s good to beat Katinka too. She’s showing us what swimmers can do and I’m now considering adding some more events to my programme."

Atkinson also took the silver in the 50m breaststroke (29.38) behind Iuliia Efimova (29.27) and ahead of Germany’s Dorothea Brandt (30.37). Efimova then took her second gold of the night with a convincing win in the 200m breaststroke, in 2:19.73, ahead of Great Britain’s Sophie Allen (2:24.85) and Moniek Nijhuis of the Netherlands in 2:25.42.

2012 Olympic champion in the 50m and 100m freestyle, Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) took out the sprint double, winning the 100m freestyle in 52.48 after taking gold in the 50m freestyle last night. Kromowidjojo touched out team mate Fredericke Heemskerk (52.79) with Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen Gray in third in 52.85.

Kromowidjojo was happy with her swim, saying: "It was a bit tough yesterday, I’m only just back into competition, but it felt much better today."


Ottesen Gray then turned the tables on Kromowidjojo, taking out the 50m butterfly in 25.03, ahead of Singapore’s Li Tao 25.55, with Inge Dekker of the Netherlands in third 25.88 and Kromowidjojo in fourth.

The men’s 200m freestyle also produced a tight finish, and in a repeat of the 1-2 finish in the 400m last night, Hurley took gold in 1:44.12 ahead of Devon Brown in 1:44.81, with Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski in third in 1:44.97.

Hurley added another gold to his tally less than twenty minutes later with a win in the 50m backstroke in 23.31, defeating Russian Vladimir Morozov (23.62) with Australian teammate Ashley Delaney tying for third with Radoslaw Kawecki in 23.75.

It was Morozov’s turn to top the podium in the men’s 50m freestyle, where he swam a great race to finish just outside Roland Schoeman’s 2009 World Cup record (20.57), finishing in 20.66. Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell was second in 21.32, with the USA’s Anthony Ervin in third (21.34). Schoeman finished in fourth in 21.46.

The men’s 220m back was won comfortably by Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki in 1:49.70, with Thomas Shields of the US taking his second silver for the night in 1:52.26. Australia’s Travis Mahoney took bronze in 1:52.97.

At the end of the exciting event Hosszu topped the medal table with four gold, two silver and two bronze, followed by Emily Seebohm with one gold, four silver and one bronze. In the men’s Robert Hurley finished with four gold and one silver, and Kenneth To picked up three gold, one silver and one bronze. Chad Le Clos finished with three gold and one silver.


(Based on a Press Release by Sarah Marks)


THE BEST PERFORMERS IN DUBAI

Men
1. LE CLOS Chad (RSA): 1:49.07 - 1001 points - 200m fly
2. SHIELDS Thomas (USA): 49.16 - 959 pts - 100m fly
3. MOROZOV Vladimir (RUS): 20.66 - 948 pts - 50m free

Women
1. ATKINSON Alia (JAM): 1:02.91 - 990 points - 100m breast
2. ZEVINA Daryna (UKR): 2:01.66 - 960 points - 200m back
3. HOSSZU Katinka (HUN): 58.55 - 959 points - 100m IM


PROVISIONAL LEADERS OF THE OVERALL RANKING (after Dubai)

Men
1. LE CLOS Chad (RSA) - 266 points
2. MOROZOV Vladimir (RUS) - 195 points
3. HURLEY Robert (AUS) - 141 points

Women
1. HOSSZU Katinka (HUN) - 468 points
2. BELMONTE Mireia (ESP) - 169 points
3. ATKINSON Alia (JAM) - 135 points