DOHA – Headlines came quickly on day 2 of the Swimming World Cup final in Doha. The first three events featured a pair of 7-peats and a World Cup record.
Katinka Hosszu of Hungary opened the night with her seventh consecutive World Cup victory in the women’s 400m IM. Next, 23-year-old Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Ukraine lowered the four-year-old World Cup record in the 1500m free by 3.39 seconds – and the new mark (14:51.61) wasn’t even his personal best. After that, Vladimir Morozov won his seventh straight 50m backstroke – barely – when he edged Michael Andrew of the US by four-hundredths of a second.
Morozov came back 45 minutes later to win his third and final event in Doha, the 100m free. Hosszu was also multitasking on Friday. Forty-eight mintes after her victory, she placed fifth in the 100m backstroke. But Andrew had the tightest turnaround of all. Ten minutes after nearly upsetting Morozovs’ perfect winning streak in the 50 back, the 20-year-old American contested the 200 IM and faded to seventh.
“Going into the 200 IM, I was definitely feeling the hurt,” Andrew said. As for the 50 back, he said, “I think I was leading the whole time till the flags. Vlad’s definitely mastered that finish.”
Morozov said he could see Andrew in the last meters of the 50 back. “I was looking,” the Russian said. “I won gliding to the wall. But every single race with him is very close.”
Since Morozov had already secured the World Cup overall title before the Doha event began, the California resident knew how he would spend the $150,000 US prize for his achievement. “Pay off my mortgage,” he said.
For details on all 12 events on Day 2 in Doha, read on.
Hosszu may have won the 400m IM for the seventh time this season, but her 4:37.39 time was nearly five seconds slower than the World Cup record she set in early August at the season opener in Tokyo (4:32.30). Still, she was the only woman to swim sub-4:40 on Friday. Zsuzsanna Jakabos placed second, nearly three seconds back, followed by Kim Seoyeong of South Korea.
After setting the World Cup record in the men’s 1500m freestyle, Romanchuk said, “It’s for me a normal day.” And while the World Cup season will close in Doha on Saturday, he said, “It’s just the start of the season for me.” Next up: the European short course championships in Glasgow in December. Jan Micka placed second in 14:58.30. Gergely Gyurta finished third.
In the men’s 50m backstroke Morozov had been winning World Cups by swimming between 24.40 and 24.75 all season. He matched his Berlin time in Doha (of 24.75) and while he credited his finish glide for the .04-second victory over Andrew, his reaction time at the start might have also been a factor (.57 seconds, compared to Andrew’s .64). Australia’s Bradley Woodward placed third.
The women’s 200m freestyle had six different winners in the six previous races. Jakabos of Hungary was one of them. On Friday she took her second title, in 1:58.86, followed by Mikkayla Sheridan of Australia and Evelin Verraszto of Hungary. Jakabos said she was trying (unsuccessfully) to swim a negative split, but she was tired from racing Hosszu in the opening race, the 400 IM.
In the men’s 200m IM, Keita Sunama of Japan was the only athlete to finish under two minutes (in 1:59.28). Philip Heintz of Germany, who had won the last stop in Kazan, Russia, placed second, followed by Hungary’s David Verraszto (Evelin’s older brother).
The women’s 100m backstroke final featured every winner of the previous six World Cup races. On Friday, three would finish 1-2-3: Kira Toussaint of Netherlands (59.14), Emily Seebohm (59.30), and Kaylee McKeown (59.60). The other, Hosszu, placed fifth (1:01.52). Touissant said she had “no idea” she won. Since she wasn’t wearing her contacts, she said, “I had to ask Emily what my time was.”
In the men’s 50m breaststroke, Yasuhiro Koseki of Japan won a tight finish in 27.07, saying it was because “my underneath is good,” referring to his underwater swimming. Felipe Lima of Brazil took silver, .04 seconds back, followed by Arno Kamminga of Netherlands, who was .01 seconds behind Lima.
In the women’s 50m butterfly, Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark beat Cate Campbell who was leading the overall standings entering Doha. Ottesen didn’t immediately know that her 26.06 was the fastest. Campbell placed second in 26.23, and Michelle Coleman of Sweden and Chinese Taipei’s Huang Mei-Chien tied for third (26.76).
In the men’s 100m freestyle, Morozov took the victory in 48.50 to claim his 20th gold medal in 21 World Cup races this season. Morozov’s only loss was to Vladislav Grinev at the previous stop in Kazan, when Grinev broke Morozov’s World Cup record, in 47.78. Morozov said, “I’m definitely happy [Grinev isn’t here in Doha] because he would have beat me. I’m far away from being fresh.” Alexander Graham of Australia and Szebasztian Szabo of Hungary finished second and third.
In the women’s 100m breaststroke , Jhennifer Conceicao triumphed for Brazil in 1:08.28, ahead of Russia’s Vitalina Simonova (1:08.64) and Eszter Bekesi of Hungary.
In the men’s 200m butterfly, South Africa’s Chad le Clos picked up his second win of the meet, to go with his 100m butterfly gold on Thursday. “Last night was way better,” he said. “Tonight I was quite nervous because 200 long course is really hard for me – and I knew they were coming at me,” referring to runner-up Xaver Gschwentner of Austria and Maksym Shemberev of Azerbaijan who placed second and third, a full second or more behind le Clos’ winning time of 1:57.66.
In the last event of the night, the mixed 4 x 100m freestyle, Australia picked up its fourth win in seven races, thanks to Bradley Woodward, Alexander Graham, and the Campbells: Bronte and her older sister Cate as the anchor. Brazil was second, 7.42 seconds back, followed by Poland.
Competition will conclude Saturday at the Hamad Aquatic Centre with the final 12 events to mark the end of the 2019 FINA Swimming World Cup.