Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) and Katinka Hosszu (HUN) were the overall winners of the 2015 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup, whose eighth and final leg concluded on November 7 in Dubai (UAE). In the superb scenario of the Hamdan Sports Complex, the two best athletes of the series were given their giant US$ 100,000 cheque corresponding to their victory by FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione.
Among men, Van der Burgh, already winner of the series in 2008 and 2009 finished with 369 points, after collecting 15 gold medals throughout the series – seven gold in the 50m breast and eight wins in the 100m breast, completing a clean sweep in these two events. Chad Le Clos, also from South Africa and winner in 2014, was this time the second best of the circuit, with 180 points. He was closely followed by the winner of the third cluster of the series, Australia’s Mitch Larkin (174 points).
In the women’s field, Hosszu has once more proved her versatility in the pool, completing the season with 30 gold medals, for a total of 152 victories since she consecutively won the World Cup from 2012 onwards. She concluded the 2015 circuit with 669 points, ahead of Emily Seebohm (AUS, 441) and Zsuzsanna Jakabos, also from Hungary (201 points).
Both for men and women, the prize money distribution for the first three ranked of the overall ranking of US$ 100,000 for the first, US$ 50,000 for the second and US$ 30,000 for the third.
Before this consecration, the quality of the races in the second day of the Dubai competition was remarkable. In the first race of the day, the women’s 100m free, the fastest qualifiers were Hosszu and Federica Pellegrini (ITA), but the duel throughout the race ended up being between the Hungarian and Melanie Wright (AUS). At the end, the Australian got the gold in 53.79 (against Hosszu’s 53.81), thus revalidating the title of the previous leg of the series, in Doha (QAT). Wright was also the winner of the 50m free on Day 1. For Hosszu, it was the fifth medal in Dubai after two gold and two silver in the first finals’ session at the Hamdan Sports Complex.
Emily Seebohm (AUS) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia
The sixth podium presence happened in the 100m backstroke, where the Magyar got another silver, this time finishing second to another Australian, Emily Seebohm. Already winner of the 50m and 200m duels, Seebohm started the race very fast, turning under the world record page at the 50m-mark, but touching for gold in 58.51. Together with Hosszu (200m and 400m IM), the Australian was the only female athlete to sweep one event throughout the entire series, precisely the 100m back – her best time being 58.34 from Doha.
In another silver finishing, Hosszu amassed her seventh medal in UAE after being second to Lauren Boyle (NZL) in the 400m free, in a time of 4:06.97. The New Zealander, also winner in the 800m found no difficulties in controlling the race, touching home in 4:04.26, the best performance of the 2015 series.
Gold would eventually come to the Hungarian star in one of her pet events, the 400m IM, with an easy triumph in 4:33.88 and concluding in the best possible way her participation in the series: with this result, she not only completed a clean sweep in the event, but she eventually clocked the fastest time of her successful series.
“I’m really excited I won the World Cup again, as we speak I haven’t really thought about it and I didn’t want to relax before the 400m IM. I’m really happy how I did this year, I’ve made a lot of progress in my long course swimming and that’s definitely really exciting. It gives me a lot of confidence for next year also. My times got faster throughout the eight stops, I should be tired but for all of my events I swam the fastest here”, Hosszu said.
Van der Burgh also finished his participation in the World Cup in the best possible way. After an intense fight on Day 1 with Adam Peaty (GBR) in the 50m breast, the South African was again the best in the 100m, getting the gold in 59.05. This meant that in 2015, Van der Burgh swept both the 50m and 100m breast races in all legs of the competition. Peaty, the world record holder and 2015 world champion, was second in 59.28.
“[The World Cup] is a good rehearsal for the Olympics, next time we meet it will probably be at the big one, so it will be a lot more serious. The 50m format attracts a lot more quality swimmers, world champions and medallists. I’m very very happy to have won the overall Cup again. I was going to just do the first two and the last two but after the first two legs I was leading the points so I thought I should try to take it. I had to make some sacrifices to do it, to do the travelling and training but I’m happy I did. It’s head down now until the Olympic Games”, considered Van der Burgh.
The men’s 200m free was also a thrilling experience, with 2015 world champion James Guy (GBR) touching home in 1:46.60, but being closely followed by Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic in 1:46.63. As with the 400m free on Day 1, this was also a second success for Guy after winning the two events in Doha.
Swimming in lane 1, Chad Le Clos (RSA), the 2015 world champion in the 100m fly, managed to touch for gold in 51.09, very close to his best time of the series – when he won in Paris-Chartres (FRA) in 51.04. The South African, second of the overall ranking of the World Cup, would obtain silver later in the day, finishing behind Bruno Fratus (BRA) in the fastest race on the programme, the 50m free (22.05 for the winner, 22.22 for Le Clos).
Chad le Clos (RSA) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia
Mitch Larkin (AUS), the winner of the 100m backstroke on Day 1 (in a time close to the WR), had another successful day, getting the silver in the 50m (24.68), arriving 0.04 later than the winner David Plummer (USA), and gold in the 200m, swimming almost alone for a fast winning time of 1:53.17, the best of the series. With this victory, Larkin assured the lead of the third cluster of the World Cup, after earning seven gold medals (one in the 50m, three in the 100m and three in the 200m back) in Tokyo, Doha and Dubai.
“It was an amazing season, It was mentally tough to get up for this race, my third 200 in two weeks, but I felt good and I’m happy with my swims. I knew this was the last swim and the last leg so I got up for that. I’m looking forward to getting home and getting into training”, declared Larkin.
In other action on this final day, Alia Atkinson (JAM) added the women’s 50m breast (30.26) gold to the one in the 100m; Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) comfortably won the women’s 200m fly in 2:07.77, thus contributing to her third place in the overall ranking of the World Cup; in the women’s 200m breast, the Junior World Record holder, Viktoria Gunes, from Turkey, swam for the gold in 2:22.87, the fastest winning time of the series (Atkinson was out of the podium in this event, but managed to get the bronze shortly later in the 50m fly).
TOP-3 OVERALL RANKING
1. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), 369 points – US$ 100,000
2. Chad Le Clos (RSA), 180 pts – US$ 50,000
3. Mitch Larkin (AUS), 174 pts – US$ 30,000
1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 669 points – US$ 100,000
2. Emily Seebohm (AUS), 441 pts – US$ 50,000
3. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN), 201 pts – US $ 30,000
Top-3 performers in Dubai (UAE):
1. Mitch Larkin (AUS), 57 points
2. Chad Le Clos (RSA), 51 pts
3. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), 42 pts
1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 99 points
2. Emily Seebohm (AUS), 60 pts
3. Alia Atkinson (JAM), 42 pts