FINA World Swimming Championships (25M)

United States regains the title in the women’s 4x100m free

Winner of the last three editions, the team of the Netherlands was not in Istanbul to defend the gold medal in the women's 4x100m free relay. This time, the triumph went to the United States, last victorious at the 2004 edition in Indianapolis. With a quartet formed by Megan Romano, Jessica Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt, the North Americans touched home in 3:31.01 – Neal made the difference (52.44) in the third leg, when Brianna Throssell (AUS, 54.19) could not keep the pace of her team, until then in the lead. The Australians finished second in 3:32.90, while Denmark continues to impress, getting one more medal (bronze in 3:33.51).

World Record: Netherlands, 3:28.22 – December 19, 2008 in Amsterdam (NED)
Championships Record: Netherlands, 3:28.54 – December 18, 2010 in Dubai (UAE)
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 – Sweden (3:35.09); 2004 – United States (3:35.07); 2006 – Netherlands (3:33.32); 2008 – Netherlands (3:29.42); 2010 – Netherlands (3:28.54)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): China (1993, 1995 & 1997) and Netherlands (2006, 2008 & 2010)

 

Ye (CHN) wins duel with Hosszu (HUN) in the women’s 200m IM

The duel between Katinka Hosszu (HUN) and Shiwen Ye (CHN) in the women’s 200m individual medley was one of the most expected finals of the session. Hosszu, best performer of the season (2:05.78), fastest of the semis (2:07.07) and already with three medals in Istanbul was opposed to the Olympic gold medallist in the 200m and 400m IM, the runner-up of the semis in 2:08.09. Hosszu seemed to be in the right way towards victory, but a very strong freestyle leg from Ye allowed her to win gold in a new Championships Record of 2:04.64 (bettering the previous best mark of the competition, set by Spain’s Mireia Belmonte in 2010, 2:05.73). Hosszu arrived shortly after, winning silver in 2:04.72, while the bronze went to Hannah Miley (GBR) in 2:07.12.

World Record: Julia Smit (USA), 2:04.60 – December 19, 2009 in Manchester (GBR)
Championships Record: Shiwen Ye (CHN), 2:04.64 – December 15, 2012 in Istanbul (TUR)
Best performance of the current season (since August 2012): Shiwen Ye (CHN, 2:04.64 – December 15 in Istanbul, TUR) 
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 - Yana Klochkova (UKR, 2:08.82); 2004 - Brooke Hanson (AUS, 2:09.81); 2006 - Hui Qi (CHN, 2:09.33); 2008 - Kirsty Coventry (ZIM, 2:06.13); 2010 - Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP, 2:05.73)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Yana Klochkova (UKR, 2000 & 2002)

 

Nicholas Santos (BRA) confirms success in the men’s 50m fly

After two successive Championships Records in the heats (22.40) and semis (22.23), Nicholas Santos (BRA), also the best performer of the season in 22.22, was the man to beat in the men’s 50m fly. In the decisive race, the 32-year-old Brazilian star did not disappoint and got his first world title also in 22.22, a new Championships Record. Chad Le Clos (RSA), winner of the 100m butterfly, got the silver in 22.26, while Thomas Shields (USA, second in the 100m) earned bronze in 22.46. Santos success was the first gold medal for Brazil at these Championships, after the bronze of Guilherme Guido in the men’s 100m backstroke.

World Record: Steffen Deibler (GER), 21.80 – November 14, 2009 in Berlin (GER)
Championships Record: Nicholas Santos (BRA), 22.22 – December 15, 2012 in Istanbul (TUR)
Best performance of the current season (since August 2012): Nicholas Santos (BRA, 22.22 – August in Sao Paulo, BRA) 
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 - Geoff Huegill (AUS, 22.89); 2004 - Ian Crocker (USA, 22.71); 2006 - Matt Welsh (AUS, 23.05); 2008 - Adam Pine (AUS, 22.78); 2010 - Albert Subirats (VEN, 22.40)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Mark Foster (GBR, 1999 & 2000)

 

Robert Hurley (AUS), the best in the men’s 50m back

Despite his defeat in the 100m backstroke (where he was second to Matt Grevers, from USA), Stanislav Donets (RUS) was decided to confirm his 2012 supremacy in the shorter event. Clocking the fastest time of the semis, 23.14, 00.2 slower than his best performance of the season, obtained in Tokyo during the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup (a series where he triumphed in all eight 50m backstroke races), Donets was again not strong enough to beat his main challengers. The gold went to Robert Hurley (AUS), his first award at this level, in 23.04, while silver was earned by Grevers in 23.17 – Donets arrived only in third position, in a “discreet” time of 23.19.

World Record: Peter Marshall (USA), 22.61 – November 22, 2009 in Singapore (SIN)
Championships Record: Stanislav Donets (RUS), 22.93 – December 18, 2010 in Dubai (UAE)
Best performance of the current season (since August 2012): Robert Hurley (AUS, 23.04 – December 15 in Istanbul, TUR) 
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 - Matt Welsh (AUS, 23.66); 2004 - Thomas Rupprath (GER, 23.51); 2006 - Matt Welsh (AUS, 23.53); 2008 - Peter Marshall (USA, 23.49); 2010 - Stanislav Donets (RUS, 22.93)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Matt Welsh (AUS, 2002 & 2006)

 

Gold and Championships Record for Meilutyte (LTU) in the women’s 100m breast

In the first final of the fourth day in Istanbul, the women’s 100m breaststroke, all the ingredients were gathered for a great race: in lane 2, Jessica Hardy (USA), the owner of the best PB among the eight swimmers (1:03.30); in lane 3, Alia Atkinson (JAM), silver medallist in the 50m at these championships; in lane 4, Rikke Pedersen (DEN), the best performer of the season, with her 2:04.11 from the semis; in lane 5, Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), 2012 Olympic champion in this distance and winner of the 50m in Istanbul; in lane 6, Sarah Katsoulis (AUS), the bronze medallist of the shortest breaststroke event of the programme. In the four-lap final, Meilutyte was the best, touching for gold in a new Championships Record of 1:03.52 (beating the mark Rebecca Soni, USA, had established two years ago in Dubai, 1:03.98). The Lithuanian teenager (she is 15) was even under the World Record pace at halfway, but could not maintain the pace until the final. As in the 50m breast, Atkinson got the silver in 1:03.80, while Pedersen earned bronze (her first individual medal in Istanbul) in 1:04.05.

World Record: Rebecca Soni (USA), 1:02.70 – December 19, 2009 in Manchester (GBR)
Championships Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), 1:03.52 – December 15, 2012 in Istanbul, TUR)
Best performance of the current season (since August 2012): Ruta Meilutyte (LTU, 1:03.52 – December 15 in Istanbul, TUR) 
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 - Emma Igelstrom (SWE, 1:05.38); 2004 - Brooke Hanson (AUS, 1:05.36); 2006 - Tara Kirk (USA, 1:05.25); 2008 - Jessica Hardy (USA, 1:04.22); 2010 - Rebecca Soni (USA, 1:03.98)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Ruta Meilutyte (LTU, 1:03.52 - 2012)

 

Denmark earns unprecedented gold in the women’s 4x100m medley

Proving its excellent shape at these championships, the women’s 4x100m medley relay consecrated the team of Denmark, winner of the gold in 3:49.87 – never before the Nordic country had medalled in this event! It was however a clean sweep for the European swimmers, who totally dominated the race, being always first after each leg – the quartet was composed by Mie Nielsen, Rikke Pedersen, Jeanette Ottesen and Pernille Blume. The fight for silver was more interesting, with United States and Australia swimming fast: the initial advantage went to USA, but a less successful butterfly leg from Claire Donahue (57.67) and an excellent response from Australia’s Marieke Guehrer (56.36) dictated the switch of positions in the end of the race, with the North Americans finishing third (3:51.43), behind an inspired Australian team (silver in 3:50.88).

World Record: United States, 3:45.56 – December 16, 2011 in Atlanta (USA)
Championships Record: China, 3:48.29 – December 17, 2010 in Dubai (UAE)
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 – Sweden (3:55.78); 2004 – Australia (3:54.95); 2006 – Australia (3:51.84); 2008 – United States (3:51.36); 2010 – China (3:48.29)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): China (1993, 1997 & 2010) and Australia (1995, 2004 & 2006)

 

First WR in Istanbul for Ryan Lochte (USA) in the men’s 200m IM

He had been close to it two years ago in Dubai, but Ryan Lochte (USA) finally became the first athlete to complete the men’s 200m IM under 1:50 minutes, after establishing a new World Record in the event on the third day of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Istanbul. Totally dominating the race, the US star completed the eight laps in 1:49.63, setting the first world best mark of these championships. In 2010, in UAE, Lochte had clocked 1:50.08 (a new WR), a time that was never approached: after that result, the second best performer of all times is Darian Townsend (RSA), in 1:51.55. Lochte is therefore not only the first swimmer under 1:50, but also the only one under 1:51. Compared to this amazing performance in Istanbul, the silver from Daiya Seto (JPN, 1:52.80) and the bronze from Laszlo Cseh (HUN, 1:52.89) looked evidently “modest”.

World Record: Ryan Lochte (USA), 1:49.63 – December 14, 2012 in Istanbul (TUR)
Championships Record: Ryan Lochte (USA), 1:49.63 – December 14, 2012 in Istanbul (TUR)
Best performance of the current season (since August 2012): Ryan Lochte (USA, 1:49.63 – December 14 in Istanbul, TUR) 
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 - Jani Sievinen (FIN, 1:55.45); 2004 - Thiago Pereira (BRA, 1:55.78); 2006 - Ryan Lochte (USA, 1:53.31); 2008 - Ryan Lochte (USA, 1:51.56); 2010 - Ryan Lochte (USA, 1:50.08)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Ryan Lochte (USA, 2006, 2008, 2010 & 2012)


 

Hosszu (HUN) dominates final of the women’s 100m IM

Confirming her 2012 supremacy in the women’s 100m IM (a race she often won at the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup series), Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu got her third medal in Istanbul, touching for gold in a new Championships Record of 58.49 (the previous meet’s best mark had been established by Ariana Kukors, USA, in the semi-finals of this event in 2010, in a time of 58.65). Hosszu had already won the 200m butterfly, and was third in the 400m IM. The fight for the silver medal was contested between breaststroke specialist Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) and backstroker Jing Zhao, from China. The Lithuanian teenager finished stronger and got the silver in 58.79, while the bronze went to Zhao in 58.80. Alia Atkinson (JAM), one of the championships’ revelations, missed the podium, touching fourth in 58.85.

World Record: Hinkelien Schreuder (NED), 57.74 – November 15, 2009 in Berlin (GER)
Championships Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 58.49 – December 14, 2012 in Istanbul (TUR)
Best performance of the current season (since August 2012): Katinka Hosszu (HUN, 58.49 – December 14 in Istanbul, TUR) 
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 - Martina Moravcova (SVK, 59.91); 2004 - Brooke Hanson (AUS, 1:00.01); 2006 - Brooke Hanson (AUS, 1:00.16); 2008 - Shayne Reese (AUS, 59.58); 2010 - Ariana Kukors (USA, 58.95)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Martina Moravcova (SVK, 1999, 2000 & 2002)


 

Morozov (RUS) defeats Olympic champion in the 50m free

Swimming next to the 2012 Olympic champion (Florent Manaudou, from France) in this event, Russia’s Vladimir Morozov (RUS) was not impressed with the credentials of his main opponent and clearly dominated the operations in the shortest event of the programme, earning gold in 20.55, a season’s new best. Manaudou, the fastest of the semis, touched home in 20.88 (silver), while the bronze went to US Anthony Ervin (31years old), in a time of 20.99. Morozov had shown his vocation for the freestyle sprint events, when he established a new Championships Record in the first leg of the 4x100m free relay. For all the medallists, these were their first podium presences in this competition – Ervin has a long career behind him, including a silver medal in this event at the… 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney!

World Record: Roland Schoeman (RSA), 20.30 – August 8, 2009 in Pietermaritzburg (RSA)
Championships Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA), 20.51 – December 17, 2010 in Dubai (UAE)
Best performance of the current season (since August 2012): Vladimir Morozov (RUS, 20.55 – December 14 in Istanbul, TUR) 
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 – Jose Meolans (ARG, 21.36); 2004 - Mark Foster (GBR, 21.58); 2006 - Duje Draganja (CRO, 21.38); 2008 - 1. Duje Draganja (CRO, 20.81); 2010 - Cesar Cielo (BRA, 20.51)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Mark Foster (GBR, 1993, 1999, 2000 & 2004)


 

Melanie Costa Schmid (ESP) wins thrilling gold in the 400m free

As in the men’s event, the absence of French stars, in this case Camille Muffat (world record holder since November 24), dictated an open race, with the first 350 metres being dominated by Lauren Boyle (NZL) and Elena Sokolova (RUS), with some advantage to the New Zealander, clear leader from the 200m to the 350m-mark. In lane 3, Melanie Costa Schmid (ESP) was following the leaders in third, but in the last 25m, a successful final acceleration gave her the gold in 4:01.08. Sokolova lost some speed and allowed Chloe Sutton (USA) to get silver in 4:01.20, while Boyle touched third for bronze in 4:01.24. The best results of the Spanish swimmer until Istanbul had been three medals at the 2011 European Short Course Swimming Championships, while Sutton was third in Istanbul in the 800m free, an event won precisely Boyle.

World Record: Camille Muffat (FRA), 3:54.85 – November 24, 2012 in Chartres (FRA)
Championships Record: Katie Hoff (USA), 3:57.07 – December 17, 2010 in Dubai (UAE)
Best performance of the current season (since August 2012): Camille Muffat (FRA, 3:54.85 – November in Chartres, FRA) 
Last five (2002-2010) winners in this event: 2002 - Yana Klochkova (UKR, 4:01.26); 2004 - Kaitlin Sandeno (USA, 4:02.01); 2006 - Kate Ziegler (USA, 4:01.79); 2008 - Kylie Palmer (AUS, 3:59.23; 2010 - Katie Hoff (USA, 3:57.07)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Claudia Poll (CRC, 1995 & 1997)


 

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