Fina Swimming World Cup, Singapore

Iron Lady flattens field on final day

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu's winning times in the 200m individual medley heats and finals was at least 5sec faster than her nearest rivals. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Hungarian Katinka Hosszu's winning times in the 200m individual medley heats and finals was at least 5sec faster than her nearest rivals. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

By her own reckoning, Katinka Hosszu, 30, needed to do well in both the heats and final of the women's 200m individual medley yesterday to win the Asian cluster of the Fina Swimming World Cup.

The 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 won 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.

Hosszu called her performance in the heats her best moment here and said: "Obviously in the final you always try to be faster, but it's been a long four weeks of racing now."

She entered the Singapore leg of the seven-stop series three points behind leader Cate Campbell, but was crowned champion of the Asian cluster of Tokyo, Jinan and Singapore yesterday. 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, 27, 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.

Last year's overall series champion said: "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 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 (the series resumes in Budapest in October). But that's good, it means we'll go faster."

The final day of the Singapore meet also saw Lithuanian Danas Rapsys, 24, lower his own Cup record in the 200m freestyle. His 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 after his race last night.

Dedicating the victory to his coach Ina Paipeliene, who had been hospitalised for chest pains but was back on the pool deck yesterday, 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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 18, 2019, with the headline 'Iron Lady flattens field on final day'. Print Edition | Subscribe