Fina World Cup: Japan sink world record

Katinka and Hurley best overall swimmers in Dubai leg of Fina World Cup

By Moni Mathews

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Published: Sun 20 Oct 2013, 12:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:07 PM

A record finally fell in the 2-day 4th leg of the eight series Fina World Cup Swimming Championships at the Hamdan Sports Complex on Friday night.

Japan powered by Shinri Shioura stunned the rest of the field to place the gold medal in their home bound luggage, in the experimental 4 x 50m freestyle mixed relay, the concluding event in the meet, pushing Brazil and China into the silver and bronze spots.

In the Overall Championship race, Katinka Hosszu topped the medal table with 4 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze, followed by Emily Seebohm with 1 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze.

Robert Hurley finished with 4 golds and 1 silver, and Kenneth To picked up 3 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze. Chad Le Clos finished with 3 golds and 1 silver.

The overall toppers in the men’s and women’s section at the end of the series will win $100,000.

After Dubai the competition moves on to Doha, Singapore, and Tokyo, with the final event in Beijing on November 13-14.

“We are very happy and this is one second faster than in Moscow,” Shioura and his team-mates said.

The world mark in short course swimming in the comparatively new mixed event was lowered comfortably from 1:33.01 to 1:32.52 by the Japanese squad comprising Asia’s most prolific and versatile exponent in the Fina series, the bearded Shioura and team-mate Sayaka Akase, along with Kenta Ito and Kanako Watanabe.

The first phases saw an even battle with hardly half a head advantage when the leads kept changing but it was the Far Eastern side’s better and faster abilities at the turn that titled the scales in their favour.

Brazil’s silver finish came in 1:32.95 as China fought off the challenge of the rest in 1:33.72 for a deserving bronze.

Shioura’s gold gave him the box set, after picking up silver in the 4x50m mixed medley relay and bronze in the 50m breaststroke on Day 1.

It also made two golds for Sayaka Akase, who took gold in the women’s 100m backstroke on Friday night in 57.24 ahead of Australia’s Emily Seebohm (57.53) who squeezed out Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina in 57.56 in one of the many close finishes of the evening.

As reported in the Khaleej Times issue on Saturday, the much anticipated men’s 1,500m freestyle which featured Tunisian and local favourite Ossama Mellouli saw the Mediterranean ace claim a silver.

Initially lying in the rear pack, Mellouli swam brilliantly after the 1,200m stage but was beaten for sheer pace in the final stages by Gregorio Paltriieri of Italy who finished in 14:36.25 to Mellouli’s 14:41.79. South Africa’s game trier Devon Brown was third in 14:43.86.

The 19-year old Italian ace said: “This year is important for me, I just finished school a month ago. This is one of my best times and of course I’m happy to beat Oussama.”

Mellouli said: “Coming into this meet I didn’t have high expectations, I’ll take that result and build on it, and I’m sure I’ll improve when I feel fresher and don’t have jet lag. I have good memories of Dubai and I’m excited about (the World Cup leg) Doha.”

Le Clos and Katinka, the two superstars of the leg here won two golds on Friday night.

For Le Clos it was two out of two, winning the 200m IM and the 100m butterfly, while for Katinka it was a mixed evening.

Her heavy programme of six finals on the night, after also contesting six last night, saw her finish Day 2 with 2 golds, 1 silver, a 4th, a 6th and an uncharacteristic 8th placing.

Katinka’s total medal haul for the event was 4 golds, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes so despite missing the podium a few times she was the top medal winner for the event. Le Clos finished off the pace in 49.14 in the 100m butterfly edging Thomas Shields (49.16) and Poland’s Konrad Czerniak (50.27).

Le Clos and Kenneth To of Australia were neck and neck in the 200m IM until the final turn when Le Clos powered off the wall to finish in 1:53.21, with To in 1:54.68. Hungary’s David Verraszto was third in 1:55.73.

“I wanted to get as close as I could, I started on world record pace then died a bit. I think I looked around too much, and I hit the turns a bit short. I was trying so hard I overcooked it a bit,” Le Clos said.

“I want to swim more medleys, my goal is to win the 400IM at the Olympics because it’s the toughest race there is. To win that means you are the toughest, fittest and strongest swimmer, and I want to be one of the best all rounders in the world. I’m not one to shy away from hard work, it’s the hardest race, and the one I would love to win.”

Australia’s rising star To said: “I’m really happy with that gold in the 100m breaststroke, it’s an event I don’t normally do so that felt good. I knew it would take a lot to beat Chad in the 200IM, so I’m still very happy with that result.”

The women’s 400m IM was Katinka’s first appearance in her six finals for the evening, and she got off to a great start, taking gold in 4:29.09, ahead of Spain’s Mireia Belmonte in 4:30.05 with Japan’s Miyu Otsuka third in 4:30.74.

London 2012 Olympic gold medallist in the 50m/100m freestyle Ranomi Kromowidjojo took out the sprint double, winning the 100m freestyle in 52.48 after taking gold in the 50m freestyle on Friday. Kromowidjojo touched out team mate Fredericke Heemskerk (52.79) with Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen Gray in third in 52.85.

The men’s 220m back was won by Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki in 1:49.70, with Thomas Shields of the US taking his second silver for the night in 1:52.26.

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