Chaker Belhadj, FINA Media Committee Member

The fifth stage of the FINA Swimming World Cup 2013, taking place in Doha (QAT) from October 20-21, featured a high level of competition with nine Olympic champions or medallists in individual events from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, 13 World champions long course (2013) and short course (2012), and five short-course record holders. In comparison to the first Doha edition in 2012, participation has raised noticeably with the presence of 197 swimmers from 41 countries (there were 115 swimmers from 30 nations last year). Doha's Hamad Aquatic Center in the Aspire Zone provided the backdrop to the first World record established in the city, set by the French quartet of Jeremy Stravius, Giacomo Perez Dortona, Melanie Henique and Anna Santamans in the mixed 4x50m medley relay, clocking 1:39.54. Doha is the 85th city and Qatar, 31st nation, to register a World record in 25m-pool since the first approval by FINA on March, 3rd 1991. Out of the 41 countries competing, 19 climbed the podium, 13 of them claiming victory. South Africa tops the table with six medals (4 gold, 2 silver). Hungary is second (2 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze) and Australia, third (2 gold , 1 silver, 1 bronze).

Heavy swimming schedules and back-to-back racing got the better of the heroes from the cluster's first two stages, Moscow and Dubai. None of the performances earned more than 1000 points. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) delivered the best performance among women in the 200m IM (979 points), increasing her lead in the overall rankings with two more wins. She lifted her total medal tally to 16, taking out the 200m IM in 2:05.45, beating Sophie Allen (GBR, 2:06.36) and Alia Atkinson (JAM, 2.07.30).

Hosszu, fifth in the 50m back, missed the podium by a slim margin in the 800m free. She bounced back to win the 200m free in 1:53.53, powering home in a final sprint of 28.56, after trailing Dutch Femke Heemskerk throughout the entire race. Heemskerk finished second in 1:53.65 and Melani Costa (ESP), third in 1:54.21. The Spanish swimmer also picked up silver in the 800m free in 8:17.66, 3.48 slower than team mate and World record holder in this event Mireia Belmonte (8:14.18). Coralie Balmy from France completed the podium, a hundredth of a second behind Costa.

Hosszu said: "I swam six races tonight and I won two gold, two bronze and came close to the podium twice. It makes for good practice to swim that many races but it is also because I want to."

On how her season’s is going so far: "I am really happy so far . Actually my times this year are better than my times last year’s at the same period."

Katinka Hosszu (HUN) - credit: Alexandra Kavoura

The revelation of Sayaka Akase (JPN)

Hosszu made two more podium appearances, winning bronze in the 100m fly (57.46) and 200m back (2:05.17), respectively won by Daryna Zevina (UKR) in 2:01.17, ahead of young sensation from Japan Sayaka Akase (2:02.74), and Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) in 56.74, ahead of Tao Li (SIN) in 57.10.

Zevina, who clocked 26.85 in the 50m back, could not make it a double victory, following Aleksandra Urbanczyk's (POL) victory in 26.49. This is also another trip to the podium for Akase, who touched home in 27.11.

Dutch Ranomi Kromowidjojo also shined in Doha, taking out the 50m free under 24 seconds (23.69), finishing ahead of German Dorothea Brandt (24.27) and Danish Jeanette Ottesen (24.33).

Jamaica's Alia Atkinson prevailed again in the women's 100m breast, touching first in 1:03.38. She was followed by Russian Iulia Efimova (1:04.68) and Kanako Watanabe (JPN), third in 1:06.03.

Sayaka Akase (JPN) - credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Surprising Thomas Shields (USA)

Among men, the best performance on Day 1 was that of Australian Kenneth To, winning brilliantly the 100m IM in 51.17 ((972 points and a new continental record). Russia's Vladimir Morozov placed second in 51.49 while George Bovell (TRI) claimed third spot in 51.87. Morozov was the winner of the 100m free in 45.94, beating closest challengers Anthony Ervin (USA, 46.64) and Kenneth To (AUS, in 46.81).

South African Chad Le Clos brought more gold to his name - a total 11 victories since the beginning of the FINA World Cup Series - after winning the 400m IM in 4:03.23 and 200m fly in 1:50.39, facing pressure from David Verraszto (HUN, 4:03.95) and Pawel Korzeniowski (POL, 1:51.52), respectively. Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli and Bence Biczo from Hungary completed the podium with respective times of 4:09.28 and 1:55.52.

Le Clos obtained his third podium in the 50m fly, finishing second in 22.41 behind compatriot Roland Schoeman, winner in 22.30. France's Jeremy Stravius took third in 22.58, the day's third individual podium for his home country.

Schoeman registered his fifth win in-a-row in the 50m breast, clocking 25.89, ahead of Florent Manaudou (FRA, 26.54) and Hendrik Feldwehr (GER, 27.03).

American Thomas Shields, like in Dubai, was the surprise winner of the 100m back in 50.23, beating Australian Robert Hurley (50.29) and Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki (51.12). In the 400m free, Hurley spent much energy to swim under 3:40 and ended up winning in 3:39.59, touching out by a slim margin South African Myles Brown (3:59.98) and Mads Glaesner from Denmark (3:42.03).

Michael Jamieson (GBR) re-affirmed his place among the world's best, winning the 200m breast in 2:05.93, ahead of Russian Mikhail Dorinov (2:08.01) and Ukrainian Igor Borysik (2:08.70).

Thomas Shields (USA) - credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia


1. TO Kenneth (AUS): 51.19 - 972 points - 100m IM
2. LE CLOS Chad (RSA): 1:50.39 - 965 points - 200m fly
3. MOROZOV Vladimir (RUS): 51.49 - 955 points - 100m IM

1. HOSSZU Katinka (HUN): 2:05.45 - 979 points - 200m IM 
2. ZEVINA Daryna (UKR): 2:01.17 - 972 points - 200m back
3. ATKINSON Alia (JAM): 1:03.38 - 968 points - 100m breast