DOHA – No one knew who would win the women’s 2019 World Cup title until the final day of the final meet in Doha. In the end, Cate Campbell of Australia clinched her first World Cup trophy by 45 points over Katinka Hosszu.
Going into the 100m free, Cambpell's last individual event, she did her best to stay unaware to avoid any pressure.
“To be honest,” Campbell said, “I didn’t look at the scores, I didn’t look at the points. I had no idea. I knew that I was close because people came up and told me. I just needed to focus on executing a good race, and that’s exactly what I did.” Her 52.61-second victory was just .27 seconds off the World Cup record she set in August.
But by then, Hosszu knew the battle was over. Even though Hungary’s “Iron Lady” won the penultimate event of the night, the 200 IM (for the seventh time in seven World Cup races), she knew she was out of it after winning the 100m fly an hour earlier. “That’s gone unfortunately,” she said of the title after the 100 fly, adding, “Next year! Next year!”
On the men’s side, Vladimir Morozov was the runaway winner (333 points) so Saturday’s question was who would take second place (answer: Danas Rapsys of Lithuania) and third (Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands).
Also on Saturday, Rapsys won the 200m free to finish the 2019 World Cup season undefeated in two events: 400m free and 200m free. Hosszu closed her World Cup season undefeated in three events: 200 butterfly, 200 IM, and 400 IM. Morozov, meanwhile, had two perfect World Cup streaks of his own: in the 50m free and 50m back.
A detailed report from Day 3 in Doha follows.
In the men’s 400m individual medley, 20-year-old Balazs Hollo of Hungary swam a personal best (4:15.17) to beat his countryman and two-time Olympian David Verraszto by .29 seconds. The victor at the previous stop in Kazan Russia, Patrick Staber of Austria, placed third.
Next, in the 800m freestyle, Tjasa Oder of Slovenia swam her best time this season (8:34.65) to defeat Yukimi Moriyama of Japan who placed second. “I did a good first 400, then tried to go faster and faster every 100 after that,” Oder said. She didn't execute that plan perfectly, but Oder did swim the second half of the race faster than the first. Marlene Kahler of Austria finished third.
In the women’s 100m butterfly, Hosszu found herself in fourth place after 100 meters, but roared back to overtake runner-up Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark and third-place Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos in 58.19 seconds.
In the men’s 50m butterfly, Michael Andrew, the lone American competing in Doha, claimed his first victory in the three-day meet, in 22.94 seconds, ahead of Szebasztian Szabo of Hungary (23.34) and Riku Poytakivi of Finland (23.60). Andrew won again 13 minutes later, in the 100 back.
While Andrew was recovering, Emily Seebohm of Australia clinched her fourth 200m backstroke victory in seven World Cup races in 2:08.54. Fellow Aussie Kaylee McKeown placed second, merely two-hundredths of a second behind Seebohm, followed by Austria’s Lena Grabowski in 2:11.31.
In men’s 100m backstroke, as mentioned, Andrew won in 54.07 (ahead of Bradley Woodward of Australia and Keita Sunama of Japan). He said Day 3’s turnaround was easier than the similarly quick one on day 2 where her nearly broke Morozov’s perfect winning record in the 50m backstroke, then faded to seventh in the 200 IM. “I’ve been swimming the 100 fly and 100 back really well this season, so I had more confidence and I feel better mentally,” he said. “I’m also tight in points with my buddy Arno Kamminga” in the race for third place overall. “Now it’s out of my control. It all comes down to his 200 breaststroke” two events later.
In the women’s 50m breaststroke, Jhennifer Conceicao of Brazil became a double winner in Doha by winning in 30.93 seconds, more than a full second ahead of runner-up Weronika Hallman of Poland and third-place Emily Seebohm. Conceicao also won the 100 breaststroke on Day 2, as well as the 50 breast in Kazan. “It’s my first World Cup [season] and three golds is so cool,” she said before flying home to her training base in Sao Paolo.
In the men’s 200m breaststroke, Anton Chupkov (the winner in Kazan) edged Arno Kamminga of Netherlands (the winner in Budapest and Berlin) by two hundredths of a second, finishing in 2:08.37. Yasuhiro Koseki of Japan had already won the 50 and 100 breaststroke in Doha and was vying for a breaststroke sweep. Instead, he finished third (2:08.66). Chupkov knew Michael Andrew was watching to see how the rankings points would shake out between them. “I think I did enough, Chupkov said. “I just tried to swim fast.” Chupkov was right. He tied Andrew on points (195) and won third place overall via the bonus points awarded for speed.
The women’s 100m freestyle, Cate Campbell won in 52.61 seconds, relegating her younger sister Bronte to second place by .76 seconds. Michelle Coleman of Sweden finished .02 seconds later, in third, but Coleman’s third place was enough to propel the Swede to third place in the 2019 overall standings, behind Cate Campbell and Hosszu.
In the men’s 200m freestyle, Danas Rapsys seven-peated in 1:45.50. Fan favorite Chad le Clos of South Africa led at the halfway point, then faded to fourth. “I knew it was going to be hard to win because Danas is in great form,” le Clos said. “After 1: 25, I was completely dead. I was hurting so much. But I’m happy. It was a great environment to race in.” Alexander Graham of Australia placed second, and Antonio Djakovic of Switzerland was third.
In the final individual event of the season, the women’s 200m individual medley Katinka Hosszu seven-peated decisively in 2:09.89. Kim Seoyeong of South Korea was second in 2:11.44, and Maria Ugolkova of Switzerland was third. Hosszu’s next goal? “I want to be better than ever,” she said. Asked how that’s possible, she said, “You’ll see.”
In the final event, Cate Campbell anchored Australia to gold in the mixed 4 x 100m medley relay, 9.3 seconds ahead of Chinese Taipei. Poland placed third to close out the 2019 World Cup season.
The 2020 tour will begin September 4-6, in Singapore, followed by Jinan (CHN), Kazan (RUS), Doha (QAT), Berlin (GER), and Budapest (HUN).