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Muffat Menaces Shiny WR In Berlin

Oct 21, 2012  - Craig Lord

Olympic champion Camille Muffat, coached by Fabrice Pellerin in Nice, fell just 0.01sec shy of taking down a shiny suit world record when she clocked a stunning 3:54.93 to win the 400m freestyle by 10sec at the Berlin round of the world cup.

The splits: 

  • 56.30; 1:56.25; 2:56.09; 3:54.93

Joanne Jackson (GBR) holds on to the world record, set in a full poly bodysuit of the mind now banned back in 2009, while Muffat is the best ever in textile, her time a world cup record.

Muffat's best had been 3:57.48, from 2008. That ranked her seventh all-time, Now, the 23-year-old is second by 0.01, having leap-frogged Hoff, Belmonte, Balmy, Manaudou (the French record from 2006 is gone) and Schmitt. Manaudou had held the French record and world textile record at 3:56.09.

US juniors Leah Smith and Rebecca Mann got a taste of what it takes to win when the likes of Muffat and the woman they look up to back home, Allison Schmitt (second behind the Frenchwoman over 400m at London 2012 and ahead of her as champion in the 200m), are in the water. In 4:04.86, Smith took second, Mann on 4:05.21 to pip Melissa Ingram (NZL), by 0.26sec.

Muffat's training partner and France teammate, Olympic champion Yannick Agnel was not to be denied over 200m freestyle as the Berlin round of the World Cup came to a close, a 1:42.10 effort keeping world record holder Paul Biedermann at bay in front of the challenger's home crowd in Germany.

Where Biedermann, fourth all the way to the last turn, can rely on his fast finishing pace to overhaul most who come to do battle on a world cup tour that lacks the punch of other world-leading events in the sport but serves as a fine race-preparation arena, the German champion had no answer for Agnel.

At the 100m mark, the Frenchman turned third in 50.61, to 51.14 for Biedermann, Tommaso D'Orsogna (AUS) and Darian Townsend (RSA) the leaders on 50.18 and 50.16 respectively. Two laps later, Towsend a touch ahead of D'Orsogna on 1:16.49, Agnel and Biedermann were still biding their time, the French visitor on 1:16.94, the home hero on 1:17.49.

Agnel rocketed off the wall, Bidedermann responding, Townsend and D'Orsogna determined to hold on but unable to cope with the change in pace. 

A 25.16 closing 50m split granted Agnel the win, Biedermann settling for silver in  1:42.71, a 25.22 last two-lapper sneaking him past Townsend, on 1:42.79, D'Orsogna locked out in 1:43.09.

Townsend was back in later to claim his own victory, a 26.59 on the last 50m of the 200m medley sending him past Lazslo Cseh (HUN) and Daiya Seto (JPN), who finished on 1:53.59 and 1:53.84 respectively.

David Verraszto (HUN) got the last session in Berlin rolling with a 14:51.29 victory in the 1500m freestyle, breaking away from former world champion Mateusz Sawrymowicz (POL) after the 500m mark. The 30-lap king of Melbourne 2007 took second in 14:55.02, third place going to Richard Nagy (SVK) in 14:58.91.

Britta Steffen (GER) fought back from fourth to a 52.88 win in the 100m freestyle, Jessica Hardy (USA) on 53.00 for second, Jessica Morrison (AUS) third in 53.31.

Fabio Scozzoli (ITA) stayed a touch ahead of Glen Snyders (NZL) on the way toy a 57.61 to 57.89 victory in the 100m breaststroke, third place going to Henrique Barbosa (BRA) in 58.50.

Women's leader board queen on this tour, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) endured another battle with teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos that led the pair below 4:30 In the 400m medley, Hosszu on 4:28.88, Jakabos on 4:29.78, next best Renecca Mann (USA) on 4:37.03.

The Hungarians were straight back in for another Hungarian 1-2 in the 200m butterfly, Hosszu getting the better of Jakabos 2:05.78 to 2:06.99, US junior Celina Li third in 2:07.16. Hosszu and Jakabos settled for second and third later in the session when Theresa Michalak (GER) took the 100m medley in the sole sub-minute effort of the race, 59.62.

The US celebrated another podium visit when Tom Shields got the better of Russian rivals Evgeny Korotyshkin, Olympic silver medallist, and Nikolay Skvortsov, 50.03 to 50.14 and 50.89 respectively. 

Rachel Goh (AUS) dominated the 100m backstroke in 57.02, Fabiola Molina (BRA) and US junior Kaitlyn Jones next home in 58.87 and 58.91.

Anthony Ervin (USA) claimed the freestyle dash in 20.85, George Bovell (TRI) on 20.97, Matthew Targett (AUS) third in 21.12.

Dominant over 200m breaststroke throughout this tour, Rie Kaneto (JPN) kept up her winning ways with a 2:19.96 win over improving teammate Mio Motegi, on 2:20.57, third place going to Fanny Lecluyse (BEL), on 2:22.93.

Yuki Shirai (JPN) produced the only sub-1:50 effort in there 200m backstroke for a 1:49.94 victory, teammate Hayate Matsubara second in 1:51.93, Ashley Delaney (AUS) third in 1:52.82.

The cup now moves on to Asia next month, with rounds in Beijing (2-3) and Tokyo (6-7) before the tour concludes in Singapore on the 10th and 11th.