Superstar Katinka Hosszu (HUN) has enjoyed a golden night at the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup in Hong Kong. She has capped a brilliant series – and an astounding year – with a further five gold medals on the second day of competition here today, equalling her record for 10 gold medals at a single World Cup meet.
The Iron Lady took out the 100m backstroke, the 200m butterfly, the 400m freestyle, the 100m IM and the 400m IM on the second day of competition here. The haul took her tally for the weekend to 10 – equal best for a single meet – and the 27-year-old was pleased to finish the World Cup on a high.
“I’m definitely really happy. It has been a long tour, a lot of stops, but I was able to keep it together and I came away with 10 golds,” she said.
So dominant was Hosszu this year that she had the overall title sewn up heading into the Hong Kong meet, the fifth consecutive year she has finished the series on top. “I’m just really excited that I was able to win overall for the fifth year in a row, I don’t think anyone has ever done that before,” she said.
Like many other competitors this weekend, she will turn her attention to the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Canada in December. There is plenty to keep her busy between ahead of the Windsor meet, with the first cab off the rank the Hungarian Short Course Nationals this week. “I am going to be swimming all the races,” Hosszu said. “I am going to keep training and obviously we are trying to get ready for the Short Course Worlds.”
Vladimir Morozov (RUS) also came to Hong Kong knowing the World Cup title was his and he continued his solid form with victory in the 50m free, while Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) scored two golds, and Chad Le Clos (RSA) saluted in the 100m fly.
“I’m undefeated for the whole season in the 50m and 100m fly so that’s pretty cool to say,” Le Clos said. “It’s easier said than done, and you still have to get up and do it. I’m happy with the 200m fly last night; that was the most important for me to try and beat (Daiya) Seto because he beat me three in a row. I got him twice, then he beat me three in a row so I had to even the score.”
The opening event on the card was the women’s 100m freestyle, with Hosszu looking to add to her day-one haul of five gold. A slow start hampered Hosszu but she soon found her groove, but not before Ottesen touched in 52.46. Hosszu and Kelsi Worrell (USA) finished in second and third.
The men’s 200m freestyle saw Pieter Timmers (BEL), 1:44.57, touch out James Guy (GBR), 1:44.59.
World Record holder Alia Atkinson (JAM) pulled away in the final 25m of the women’s 50m breaststroke, touching in 29.20. Atkinson finished considerably slower than her 28.64 world mark but the effort was enough to earn her 959 ranking points. Molly Hannis (USA) and Yuliya Efimova (RUS) rounded out the placings.
A competitive men’s 100m breaststroke final went to the fast-starting Felipe Lima (BRA) in 57.32, with place-getters Marco Koch (GER) and Yasuhiro Koseki (JPN) more than a second behind and unable to match him.
Le Clos was among the gold medals in the 100m fly. This was one of the most keenly contested finals of the Hong Kong meet, with less than half a second separating silver from sixth. Le Clos’ showed class shone through, the South African touching in 49.52. Shinri Shioura (JPN) placed second in 50.97, while third went to Pavel Sankovich (BLR).
Hosszu found another gear in the 100m backstroke final, leaving it until the final lap to power home over Emily Seebohm (AUS) and Daryna Zevina (UKR) in 57.92. The crowd could sense Hosszu had more gold to come in what was another special meet for the Hungarian.
She battled hard in the 200m fly, saluting comfortably over her countrywoman Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) in 2:06.09, before again digging deep in the final 100m of the 400m free. Her fourth win came in a high-quality 100m IM. She overcame Atkinson and Seebohm in 58.21, with Atkinson second in 58.76 and Seebohm third in 59.11.
Fittingly, the World Record holder, Hosszu, blitzed the field in the women’s 400m IM, winning in 4:28.50. Hosszu led from the start, swimming powerfully to claim the record-equalling 10th gold in the penultimate event of the programme.
Among the other highlights tonight, Seto claimed the men’s 200m IM; Efimova was too strong for her opponents in the women’s 200m breaststroke, a swim that netted her 958 ranking points, one of the biggest hauls of the day; Australian Mitchell Larkin was a clear winner in the 200m back; Le Clos and Morozov resumed hostilities in the 50m free, with the Russian taking gold; and the impressive Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) collected 963 FINA points for his gut-busting 14:48.53 in the men’s 1500m free.
But the night belonged to Hosszu and her near-perfect 10 gold in Hong Kong. Hers has been a season to remember, dominating each of the nine legs of the World Cup to cap her trio of gold medals at the Rio Olympic Games.