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2018 FINA Swimming World Cup – Eindhoven, Finales Day 2

Jos van Kuijeren, FINA Media Committee Member (NED)

Again it was an exciting day of high level swimming in the Pieter van den Hoogenband swimming stadium. Highlight on the second day in Eindhoven was the Swimming World Cup record in 200m IM men. The Japanese swimmer was almost speechless after his win in an excellent time of 1:51.09. Other memorable moments were de women’s races in 100m backstroke en 50 fly. Sarah Sjöström had two wins (200 free and 50 fly).

Summary of 11 individual events and 1 relay

Halfway through the 400m IM Katinka Hosszu, HUN and Yui Ohashi, JPN gave each other nothing, but after the breaststroke it was clear that the Olympic champion should win the race. She defeated her rival with a margin of 2.27s in 4.25.15. Zhou Min, CHN captured the bronze in 4.30.26 “I’m happy with the gold”, was her short reaction.

In the 1500 free Maksym Shemberev from Azerbaijan took the lead after 10 lanes and so it became an easy win for the swimmer from Azerbeidzjan in 14:45.17.

“It was tough”, he said, after which he started taking care quickly because there was also a final 200m butterfly stroke later on the program.

His winning 23.34 on the 50m backstroke meant for Mitch Larkin the eighth victory in the World Cup series so far. But it had to come out of his fingertips to stay ahead of Vladimir Morozov . The margin was only 0.08s. The Australian enjoys racing in the World Cup series, he said .

“It’s so much fun to race and travel together. The friendship that you gain is incredibly important to me.”

Up to 150 meters, the race at the 200-meter freestyle women was still exciting, but then Sarah Sjöström took a step and showed that it is not for nothing that she is world record holder on this distance. And so she defeated in 1: 52.25 arch-rival Femke Heemskerk (1: 52.98).
Last year the Swedish established her world record of 1: 50.43 in the same pool during the SWC 2018, but yet it is not her favorite distance.

“I can hardly explain that, sometimes I like to swim the 200 free, but sometimes I hate it.”
The homecrowd was of course behind Femke Heemskerk, who beautifully expressed her feelings with “I can not describe it, but I love you so much!”

“I’m so happy” was the only thing that Daiya Seto from Japan could say after his World Cup record on the 200m individual medley. With 1: 51.09 he was 0.18s faster than his compatriot Kosuke Hagino in Tokyo 2014. The five-time world champion on the 400m medley (3x short and 2x long course) led from start to finish and left his compatriot Ryosuke Irie (1:55.61) and the Russian Kirill Prigoda (1: 55.71) far behind.

The womens race 100 meter backstroke was of an excellent level. At the 50-meter point, Kira Toussaint was in the lead (26.79), but from that moment on she lacked strength to accelerate and fell back to fourth place. Then Kathleen Baker proved that she is the world record holder long course. Her 55.91 was sufficient for a final offense by the experienced Emily Seebohm, AUS (56.07) and Katinka Hosszu (56.37).

The winner from the USA, who finds a short job compared to the long track much easier, was full of praise for the meet in Eindhoven:

“I love this competition and the music. It’s awesome.”

It was good to see victories for swimmers all over the world and not the leading country. In the 50 meter breaststroke, the match between Felipe Lima, BRA and Peter Stevens, SLO ended in favor of Lima (25.92). “I’m really happy with the gold, it’s a personal best”, the Brazilian said . Stevens (26.10) was also glad that he had been able to swim out of the Russian Prigoda (26.30).

In addition to the womens backstroke, the 50m butterfly was super. Last year Ranomi Kromowidjojo won, but the times were almost equal 24.54 and 24.55 for Sarah Sjöström. Now the roles were reversed. The margin was small again, only 0.06s. The winner referred to her loss on the 50th free on the first day: “It was a tough day yesterday and I am happy to come back with this gold medal.

Kromowidjoj was happy with her race, but of course she would have liked to win.

“I wanted to give everything for this fantastic crowd”.

Of course Vladimir Morozov was the best of all in 100m freestyle. So early in the season a serious attack on the untouchable world record of the Frenchman Amaury Leveaux (44.94 from 2008) was unthinkable. The Russian won in 45.69 and beat Blake Pieroni USA 46.45 and Vladislav Grinev, RUS 46.58. Morozov talked about ‘a very nice race’ after his seventh gold medal in the series till now ..

“I need to work on having fun in racing, because I’m also preparing for the next world championship,” said Juliya Efimova from Russia after winning the 100m breast race over Alia Atkinson, the short cours specialist from Jamaica. It was not easy, but the finish was excellent: 1.03.41 over 1:03.74.

“It was painful”, said Chad le Clos after his victory in 1.51.09 in the 200 meter butterfly. He defeated Yuya Yajima from Japan in the final meters (1:51.87)

“It was a though field. Thank to everyone for the support. 200 fly is my baby. Always having fun”, laughed the 2012 Olympic champion.

Joeri Verlinden was a surprising winner of the bronze medal. The experienced Olympic finalist in London (100 fly) is trying to make the Worlds in Hangzhou. “I am extremely happy with my home crowd”, the 30 year old veteran said with a smile

The Mixed realy 4x50m freestyle was like a closing ceremony for the winning team Puts, Stolk, Heemskerk and Kromowidjo. In 1: 29.90 the Dutchies defeated the USA (1: 30.88) and the Russian Federation (1: 31.96).