SINGAPORE -By her own reckoning, Katinka Hosszu needed to do well in both the heats and final of the women's 200m individual medley on Saturday (Aug 17) to win the Asian cluster of the Fina Swimming World Cup.
The 30-year-old Hungarian did just that in Singapore - the third and final World Cup stop in Asia - at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, obliterating the field in both swims on the last day of the three-day meet.
Hosszu set a World Cup record of 2min 8.15sec during the heats and winning the final in 2:08.63. Compatriot Zsuzsanna Jakabos, second in both the heats and final, clocked 2:19.92 and 2:13.64 respectively.
Describing her performance in the heats as her best moment in Singapore, Hosszu said: "Obviously in the final you always try to be faster, but it's been a long four weeks of racing now."
Hosszu entered the Singapore leg of the seven-stop series three points behind leader Cate Campbell, but was crowned champion of the Asian cluster - comprising the meets in Tokyo, Jinan and Singapore - on Saturday.
She now leads the field with 156 points, while Australian Campbell has 150.
In addition to netting US$1,500 (S$2,077) for each of her three titles in Singapore (200m butterfly, 400m IM and 200m IM), Hosszu also received US$50,000 for being the women's cluster champion.
Russia's Vladimir Morozov, also with 156 points, was the men's cluster champion after winning nine golds in as many events across the three stops in the Asian cluster. The 27-year-old, last year's overall series champion, said of his feat: "It feels amazing, words can't really describe it. That was the plan the whole way - to lead with the first cluster and clinch that win. It wasn't easy.
"It'll probably get more difficult (as the series progresses) because a lot of athletes are taking a break now after the world championships, so there's probably going to be a bit more competition at the European stops. But that's good, it means we'll go faster."
The series resumes in Budapest in October.
Also, the final day of the Singapore meet saw Lithuanian Danas Rapsys lower his own Cup record in the 200m freestyle. The 24-year-old's 1:44.38 effort not only won him the title, but also made him the fastest man in the event this year.
Rapsys, who had appeared to finish first in the same event at last month's world championships in Gwangju only to be disqualified for moving on the starting blocks, pumped his fists and slapped the water on Saturday evening.
Dedicating the victory to his coach Ina Paipeliene, who had been hospitalised for chest pains but was back on the pool deck on Saturday, he added: "I said I would come back stronger (after the world championships)... we just need to believe in ourselves and that (performance) was very good."