Swimming: Danas Rapsys makes it hat-trick of 400m freestyle wins, Quah Jing Wen lowers national 200m fly record

Danas Rapsys won the 400m freestyle title at the Fina Swimming World Cup Singapore, after also clinching the title in World Cup record times at the first two stops in Tokyo and Jinan.
Danas Rapsys won the 400m freestyle title at the Fina Swimming World Cup Singapore, after also clinching the title in World Cup record times at the first two stops in Tokyo and Jinan.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Though Danas Rapsys spent "all night" thinking about what could have been his first long-course world title after being disqualified from the men's 200m freestyle at last month's swimming world championships, he appears to have moved on well.

On Thursday (Aug 15), the Lithuanian won the 400m freestyle title at the Fina Swimming World Cup Singapore, after also clinching the title in World Cup record times at the first two stops in Tokyo and Jinan.

At the world championships in Gwangju, Rapsys had appeared to touch the wall first in the 200m freestyle, and the gold would have been his first medal at the long-course world meet had he not been disqualified for moving on the blocks.

His disqualification led to China's Sun Yang, who competed in South Korea under a doping cloud, being crowned champion. Joint-bronze winner Duncan Scott of Britain refused to shake Sun's hand or pose for photographs with the Chinese after the medal ceremony, in the second podium protest of the meet.

Rapsys claimed he was not aware of the furore that followed his disqualification, saying: "I don't know what happened, I don't want to hear anything about it, so I just went home to rest.

"I was thinking about (what could have been) all night, but it happens... I need to keep going stronger. Everything is in the mind, so I need to keep training and working hard."

The 24-year-old, who won the 400m freestyle in 3min 45.59sec at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on Thursday, believes there are more improvements to be made.

"I made a little change in my tactic for the 400m but it didn't work - the new tactic (was) to start a little bit slow and then finish stronger," he added, describing his time as "a little bit bad".

Still, he could be excused for that with his coach Ina Paipeliene having been in hospital for the past two days due to chest pains.

Rapsys, the short-course world champion in the event, has so far done well at the Fina World Cup series. He also won the 200m freestyle titles at the previous two legs in World Cup record time and is hopeful of being on the right track ahead of the Olympic Games next year, though he would only say: "I need to do my best. Who knows what will happen in Tokyo, so I need to work hard."

Another swimmer who intends to continue working hard is Singaporean Quah Jing Wen, who lowered her own national record en route to finishing third in the 200m butterfly. Her 2:10.26 effort came less than two weeks after setting the previous record of 2:11.38 at the Tokyo leg of the series on Aug 2.

Hungarians Katinka Hosszu (2:07.07) and Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:07.48) were the top two in the race on Thursday.


Quah Jing Wen and Katinka Hosszu in the 200m butterfly. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Quah, who had not been expecting to clock a new best time so soon, said: "I feel like that time's been waiting for me to reach it, obviously I would have like to have gone under 2:10 but going 2:10 after having my best time being 2:12.01 only a month ago... it's an amazing feeling."

The 18-year-old, who leaves next week to start her third year of university at Texas A&M, said she has been doing a lot of aerobic training in the United States to try and improve her speed in the second 100m of her race.

"I haven't been able to put it into my race properly but I think in my race just now I was able to apply what I've been doing in training a lot better, and that makes me happy. I'm going to continue what I'm doing and work on more of my back-end speed," she added.

 

She is not the only swimmer who posted a new personal best on the first day of the three-day meet. Russian Vladimir Morozov, last year's overall series winner, set a new World Cup record of 21.27sec to finish first in the men's 50m freestyle.

An elated Morozov was still in disbelief after his race, saying: "It's my best time in six years, I'm very happy. I couldn't believe it, I was thinking maybe (I'd clock) 21.4 or 21.5, that's what I did at the first two World Cups but not 21.2. I still have to process it."