FINA - Fédération Internationale de Natation

11/01/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/01/2019 14:48

SWC#6, Kazan, Day1: Home hopes dominate the field, favorites harvest golds

Olga Kamardina, FINA Correspondent in Russia

FINA Swimming World Cup is back in the Tatar's capital, kicking off the second month of autumn-2019 on a high note.

Kazan and its iconic Aquatics Palace serve host for the 2nd time to this major event, adding to the aquatic profile of the city, launched in 2015 by the 16th FINA World Championships en route to the new Kazan-subscribed edition in 2025. There were 53 teams at the start orders, each having their share of the fame and achievements on Competition Day 1. With 10 initial sets of medals at stake, Russia largely dominated the field of the contest, coming away on a solid 5-4-3. Gold of Romania's Daniel Martin in the men's 200m Backstroke came as a sort of surprise, whereas the day registered a number of predictable wins by Danas Rapsys, Vladimir Morozov and Cate Campbell. Read on to learn how the events unfolded.

Photo: credit to the Directorate of Sport and Social Projects

Another hit by Danas and the first gold for Egorova

The first final session of the Kazan's meet started with the 400m free, where each awardee celebrated her first trip to the podium. They tried hard however could not hit the best time of the circuit, set by Australian Melverton in Leg #1, 4:06.71. The best of Kazan's meet in 400m freestyle was the 28-years old Anna Egorova, which earned gold, in a time of 4:08.93, improving both her qualification time by some 9 seconds and her season's best by 0.5. As her win never looked in doubt after the first 100, another two participants of the FINA World Championships 2019 were up to the minor merits. Competing each other, and occasionally another Russian Valeriia Salamatina and Mikkayla Sheridan of Australia clocked down personal bests in the circuit, 4:09.32 and 4:11.35 respectively.

'I tried to swim much better than I did in the morning, - described her winning strategy Russian Anna Egorova. - I am not that happy about the result though, which is not so bad on the other hand, meaning that I had a break before the World Cup in Kazan. I have just come back from the World Military Games in Wuhan, China, and due to some organizational issues could not swim for fully 5 days. This definitely had an impact on the time I clocked. I mean, I can definitely swim faster'.

On the male's side, as usual, there was Danas Rapsys of Lithuania, and the rest of the world. Habitually, he congratulated himself on the lonely finish well ahead of the chasers, posting a solid 3:44.60. There were 3 other Russian competitors in the medals game, including the local hope Aleksandr Krasnykh, who had been pushed all the way through and finally overtaken by the freshly graduated junior Anton Nikitin, by 0.68 seconds. They landed on silver and bronze, standing within roughly three seconds to the winner.

'The time I did was really good, - commented on his sixth 400m freestyle win in the circuit Danas Rapsys of Lithuania. - Of course, it is not the best in the world cups, maybe the second of my best times, so I am not disappointed. There is still some room for me to excel and I hope I will be able to do it this year. Maybe in Doha. The temperature of Kazan's water is quite good, - he added with a smile, - we do really like the pool and facilities'.

'It was pretty hard to swim for me today, - confessed bronze medalist Aleksandr Krasnykh. - I am a bit sad, I could not please my home crowd with the beautiful win which I wanted. My only excuse is that the national championships kicks off a few days after the finish of the World Cup's meet here in Kazan, and the FINA event was like a dress rehearsal for it'.

Photo: credit to the Directorate of Sport and Social Projects

Backstrokers showcase speed

Dutch Kira Toussaint reigned supreme in the 50m backstroke sprint, like she already did in Budapest and in Berlin, and in what a style! She stopped the watch at 27,89 and snatched her third gold of the circuit in the shortest event of the backstroke program. Russian Maria Kameneva touched home second immediately after, 27.95, narrowly edging the world silver medalist Etiene Medeiros of Brazil, which could not repeat her winning time of Korea, clocking down 28.12.

'The time is good, but not my personal best this year, - stated Kira Toussaint, the winner. - I am happy about the fact, that I snatched another medal in the competition, and I can say I really enjoyed the race. I definitely plan to seal the Swimming World Cup's edition of 2019 in Doha. I will swim some more races in Kazan though. I like it here. The public is nice, the swimming-pool is warm, and the weather outside is refreshing'.

Russian young hope Daria Vaskina, already victorious twice at the FINA signature major forums this pre-olympic season (including the world's bronze and junior world's silver), met no problems qualifying to the final session, where she however finished disappointingly 7th. Emily Seebohm of Australia, was also surprisingly out of the podium run, landing 6th, 28.24.

Shortly after, it was the time for Romania to shine as Daniel Martin challenged his season's best in 200m Backstroke. The winner recorded a beautiful 1:58.42, which was definitely far from the 2019 Swimming World Cup's best of Mitchell Larkin, 1:56.39, though pretty enough to beat Keita Sunama of Japan and Grigory Tarasevich of Russia, distributing minor merits. All three were registered under 2 minutes.

Magyars reign supreme

1-2 for Hungary was another 200m Butterfly story for Katinka Hosszu and Zsuzsanna Jakabos. Following the script of Tokyo and Jinan, they finished within a second (2:08.23 - 76) the Magyar hopes left other swimming nation up to the chase on the bronze. The podium chance was readily taken by Korean Sehyeon An, 2:10.69, producing a better spurt against Berlin's bronze medalist Claudia Hufangl of Austria, 2:10.99.

'We are again victorious, Katinka and I, and I am again on the silver, but this is quite OK, - noted smiling on her another second place, fifth out of six 200m Butterfly races in 2019, Zsuzsanna Jakabos of Hungary. - We shall work on hard to proceed winning, never stop'.

'I love swimming in Kazan, - agreed her star compatriot Katinka Hosszu. - The swimming pool is pretty fast. I am happy with the race, I am happy with the gold. The preparations towards the Olympics are in full swing, and swimming is the best training'.

Photo: credit to the Directorate of Sport and Social Projects

The main surprise of the day came from Mikhail Vekovishchev in the 100m fly race, which started quite predictably as Michael Andrew vs. Szebasztian Szabo. The last 50, or rather, 25 meters proved crucial for the winner of the morning session, who took advantage of the attack behind rushing to the final touch, 51.56. The seconds clocked were rather solid, as all three medalists registered themselves within 40 seconds interval. Winner of 2018 Kazan's edition American Michael Andrew, second heading into the final session, had to content with the silver medal, in a time 51.86, congratulating himself on the -0.10sec comparing to last year and local duel win against Hungarian Szabo, who stopped his watch with bronze in 51:87 after the start.

'I am grateful to my competitors for the competition, which whirled up the race and had a good influence on timing, - explained Mikhail Vekovishchev of Russia. - I have managed to clock my best time, which is a good omen for me before the National Championships and the Olympic season ahead of us. My opponents were very strong, and I feel proud to register defeating Michael Andrew for the second time this year'.

'This is the fastest race of the year in 100 fly, so I am pretty happy to do 52 seconds finally, - emphasized Michael Andrew of the USA. - It was quite in a while since I have managed to do that. I love swimming in Kazan. The goal for this leg is to hold my positions and points. Right now I am third overall'.

Russian hopes proved

The best harvest of the day fall on the Russian side in the Women's 200m Breaststroke final. The eventual winner Mariia Temnikova, taking her debut in 2019 Swimming World Cup, 24-year old played her game strategically, always keeping to the top three. Seeing Alina Zmushka of Belarus and her compatriot Daria Chikunova ahead of her early in the start, she made her stake on the second hundred. As she improved, her challengers ran out of gas to register her well-deserved win at 2:24.10. Daria Chikunova challenged her season's best, earning silver, 2:24.56, and Vitalina SImonova fruited her 3rd piece in 2019 on her favorite event, narrowly edging out the Belarus girl, 2:28.32 to 2:28.37.

'A good start of the competition, - defined Daria Chikunova of Russia. - Three Russians atop, which is very impressive indeed. We shall never cease working hard and take these medals as a motivation for the coming challenges, and there will be a lot of them in the Olympic year'.

A close competition was seen in the men's breaststroke 100m race. Dutch Arno Kamminga and Brazilian Felipe Lima challenged each other at start, and did not notice as Japanese Yasuhiro Koseki and Russian Anton Chupkov interfered chasing the merits to keep everyone in suspense till the very end. Russian world's runner-up and last year's winner of the Kazan's FINA Swimming World Cup's Leg touched home first, in 58.94, followed by Kamminga recording his second silver of the circuit, 58.98, and Koseki on his first bronze in 2019 after the silver medal he earned in Tokyo in August.

'I am for the first time on the 59 seconds, so it was the result of the racing against the best of the best, Chupkov and Koseki, - said Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands. - This is the first time I challenge Chupkov since the FINA Worlds in Korea, and it was really good, really close, the next time I will definitely beat him'.

'I am extremely happy I have managed win, clocking a very good time, - agreed Anton Chupkov. - I am especially happy, that I have celebrated a gold win at home, in Russia, in Kazan. I am grateful to spectators for the support, which was a great help. I am grateful to my opponents for the close competition, which kept everyone in suspense till the very last meters. There were no special preparations towards the World Cup#6, on the contrary I had a number of tough flights and had to overcome the jet-leg, so now I feel a bit of relaxed and happy about the win'.

Photo: credit to the Directorate of Sport and Social Projects

The cream of a free sprint goes to Morozov and Campbell

Two impressive duels highlighted the 50m Freestyle sprint for both genders.

The women's part was highlighted by the Campbell - Coleman competition, which added to the show and had a positive impact on the time. They have been chasing each other all the way through 2019. Swedish beauty was a little luckier at start in Tokyo, 24:66, shaken by the Aussie stinger already on the next chance in Jinan, which sliced some 0.20 to the winning seconds. In Singapore bronze medalist of the recent Worlds went as far as registering marvelous 24.02 as her overall gold tally extended to 4 by the leg 5. Kazan looked like another chance for Campbell, who worked hard in the prelims, and deservedly booked a prestigious lane 4 on a good morning time, 24:61. However, this did not fruit for her anything serios. She clocked second, defeated by her ever opponent by the touch: 24.08 to 24.28. Another World Championships participant Maria Kameneva departed very fast, but could not keep to the tempo of the top 2, as a result she sealed the podium, 24.32, overtaking Bronte Campbell of Australia by 0.15 sec.

'I am very happy with my time. Cate was faster, I was not just her level today, - said Michelle Coleman of Sweden. - It is not my personal best of the season. I was 0.4 faster in Berlin. It would be very nice to be a little bit faster at the start for the next races'.

'I am very happy to register another gold, and the field was very fast indeed, - noted Australian Cate Campbell. - I always try to compete against myself, and every time strive to do something better and better. That was a very good swim for me, to win was a bonus. I have been doing a lot of races during the past 5 weeks. This is my 5th competition within the 6 weeks. I think I am racing myself in a good physical condition'.

It was a different competition story between Russian Vladimir Morozov and Michael Andrew of the USA. The duo neither changed habitual parts, nor let the thirds interfere in their duel contest. Both swam well and sealed the first two (in the lead, home hope Morozov, in 21.71, immediately after Andrew, 22.03). The bronze went to Maxim Lobanovskij of Hungary in 22.06, which was his second piece of the circuit after silver of the Leg #4.

'This is my 16th win to go this year, the 6th to go in the 50m Freestyle, - noted Vladimir Morozov. - However, I am always thirsty for win and I always know where and what could be improved to make it even better. The story of Kazan started on a high note. Tomorrow I have 2 more races, which will not be an easy task to seal in the same style'.

Summery. After the Competition Day 1 of the FINA Swimming World Cup #6, 11 nations registered on the podium, largely dominated by the host Russia, which counts 5 golds, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals. The other top placing swimmers represented Hungary, Australia, the Netherland, Romania and Lithuania - one gold a piece.

Photo: credit to the Directorate of Sport and Social Projects

The three-day event is underway in the Kazan, hitting its midst tomorrow. On Saturday, November, 2, the medal offer includes 12 sets displaying all 4 swimming strokes and distances ranged from 50 to 1500. The cherry on the cake will be a 4x100m freestyle mixed relay, which will culminate the sport program of the evening.