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Hosszu A Stroke From US$100,000

Nov 7, 2012  - Craig Lord

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu took two more gold medals, extending her tally of World Cup wins to 35 today as the Tokyo meet came to a close. Her growing cash pile was topped up by two silvers as the California-based ace heads towards a $100,000 pay day when the curtain closes on this season's circuit in Singapore at the weekend.

Truth be known, the money is already in the bag for Hosszu, clear owner of the women's leaderboard with no-one in site. One of the stats of the tour courtesy of chief scorer George Kiehl: Hosszu has raced 23,800m on tour. She set out to train and use racing as training, her bonus the money. Mission accomplished.

First up in Tokyo today, Hosszu pipped teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos for the umpteenth time on tour in the 400m medley, 4:28.14 to 4:28.96, then repeated the exercise in the 200m butterfly, 2:05.90 and 2:06.79 the Hungarian scores in round two. 

A few breaths later, Hosszu was back in for battle in the 400m freestyle with Melissa Ingram but the New Zealander was not about to let the advantage of freshness slip by. She took the lead with 100m to go as Hosszu sped through the field from 5th, then 4th and into 3rd going into the last 100m, her sights set on her Kiwi quarry. Ingram's last 50 was 29.74, to Hosszu's 29.13, leaving the Hungarian to settle for silver, 4:05.22 to 4:05.33. 

Aussie newcomers Alanna Bowles and Laura Crockart followed home in 4:07.34 and 4:07.71. Hosszu's second silver lining was a 59.80 effort in the 100m medley at the end of the session, Britain's Sophie Allen keeping her at bay from start to a 59.50 victory.

Daiya Seto continued to show great form, putting his best on display for a home crowd with a 1:52.48 Japanese record in the 200m medley, the time the second best in the world this year (after Thiago Pereira, of Brazil) and fastest on the current World Cup Tour. Darian Townsend (RSA) took second in 1:53.30 after overhauling Kousuke Hagino (JPN), third in 1:53.76. Townsend had earlier won the 200m freestyle in 1:43.31 ahead of Australians Robert Hurley, Tomasso D'Orsogna and Cameron McEvoy.

Rie Kaneto gave the Japanese crowd more to cheer about with a 2:18.38 victory 0.04sec ahead of Danish visitor Rikke Pedersen, who overhauled Mio Motegi (JPN) in the closing 50m. Japan's second podium placer clocked 2:19.48. The session drew to a close with Yuki Shirai on top for the hosts in a dominant 1:49.69 in the 200m backstroke.  

Michael Klueh (USA) added the 1500m to his 400m free win yesterday with a 14:38.64 victory over Pal Joensen, on 14:44.83 and back in Faroes colours after having been forced by IOC tardiness and double standards to swim for Denmark at London 2012 (Faroes paralympians competed at London 2012 for their own country, but the IOC has failed to address the issue at Olympic level after more than two decades of lobbying in which Denmark is more than happy to have Faroese athletes compete at the Games under their own flag). Just behind Joensen in Tokyo today was Japan's Ayatsugu Hira, on 14:45.60.

Like Klueh, Britta Steffen (GER) was also at the double, adding the 100m free to her win over 50m free yesterday. Victory over four laps was achieved by a wide margin: second on 25.52 at the turn, Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) 0.03sec ahead, Steffen then roared home in 26.90 for a 52.42 conclusion. Ottesen hung on for second in 53.49, with Kotuku Ngawati just getting the better of Aussie teammate and 4x100m free Olympic champ Melanie Schlanger, 53.59 to 53.86.

Not a bad run for 2008 double Olympic champion Steffen then: she has won every 100m free race on the tour this year, with one battle to go.

On a lifetime best of 52.56 at Chinese long-course nationals back in April this year, Zhang Qibin, 18, is new to the short-course ranks but came out on top on his little-pool debut international tour: on 50.53 in the 100m butterfly he pipped Africa champion Jason Dunford (KEN), 50.73, and Japan's Kazuya Kaneda, 50.92.

In other action, Glenn Snyders (NZL) cracked 58sec once more to claim the 100m breaststroke, his 57.98 getting the better of world 200m long-course record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi, on 58.22 and a stroke ahead of teammates Kouichirou Okazaki and Yuuki Okajima; rhyming Australians Grace Loh and Rachel Goh topped the 100m backstroke 0.01sec apart, Loh on 57.71 for victory; and George Bovell (TRI) stopped 2000 Olympic champion and one of the finest 2012 comeback athletes of the year Anthony Ervin, 20.94 to 21.15 in the 50m free.

Mixed relays? Not a fan, to be honest: too much racing of apples and pears in the mix that rubs against the idea of watching like for like, the stuff of great sport. Not many others seemed to be that interested in Tokyo today either: six Japanese club teams, one DQ'd alongside a China team, made up the final at a "World Cup" meet today.

Next stop: Singapore (Hosszu and Kenneth To, AUS, leading the race for the $100,000 prizes), the last of the 2012 circuit before Europe races in the little pool at Chartres November 22-25 and those in the world willing gather for the global short-course championships in Istanbul from December 12-15.