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World SC Doha, Day 3 finals

Dec 5, 2014  - James Parrack

World SC Doha, Day 3 Finals

 There was so much outstanding swimming on Day 3 in Doha it is hard to know where to start.  4 golds for Hungary and 5 world records tell their own story, but this would be to miss the emotion and human reaction to the effort on the night.

 Hosszu became the first woman to break 2m in a stunning 200m back (1:59.23 WR) and slapped the water; Gyurta successfully defended his title in the 200m breast (2:01.49) and slapped the water with the broadest smile he has given in years; Hosszu set her second world record in the 100IM (56.70)with astonishing skills around the turns and pulling away for Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR), and slapped the water and Peter Bernek also won gold for Hungary in the 400 free, ahead of James Guy and yet another silver for GBR (5 in total) and he too slapped the water.  Denmark set a world record in the 4 x 50m medley relay and slapped each other, especially Jeanette Ottesen and her 24.09 fly split, as did the Dutch in the women’s 4 x 100m free relay.  But none of this captured the explosive celebrations and release of tension after the wins of Femke Heemskerk in the 100m free and Flo Manaudou’s world record in the 50m free.

 Heemskerk has won it all in the relays, but in the individual swims, the emotional damage from the 200m free in Shanghai worlds in 2011 will take a long time to heal.  But silver in the 100m in Berlin last summer started the journey and a very well judged victory in the 100m today saw the joy pouring out.   Add to this the fastest split in the 4x200 on day 1 (1:51.22) and the 4x100 today (50.58), and the 200m to come on Sunday, 2014 could very well be the year that an outstanding relay swimmer steps forward as an outstanding individual.

 On the men’s side there is no doubt who the outstanding individual was on day 3.  The tension in the moments before the start of the 50m free was high.  The Frenchman had already swim the fastest 50m backstroke across the semis, and lining up alongside world lc champion Cesar Cielo, Commonwealth silver medallist Cam McEvoy (AUS), defending champion Vladimir Morozov (RUS) and Marco Orsi (ITA), the pressure was on the Olympic and European champion.  But with his trademark power and height in flight off the block and strength in the finish, Manaudou set a world record 20.26 and the emotion exploded out.

 Mireia Belmonte was back in action, winning the 400m free in 3:55.76, just over a second outside her world record, and comfortably ahead of Sharon Van Rouwendaal (NED)

 Sarah Sjostrom finished in second in the 100m free, but made amends shortly after in the 50m fly, with a strong win over Ottesen, finishing in 24.58 to the Dane’s 24.71, herself just 0.02 in front of Inge Dekker.

 It’s not Ryan Lochte’s week, but his second place in the 200IM behind Kosuke Hagino (JPN) shows signs of his recovery. But when you are 30 years old, and giving away 10 years to the winner, the injuries take longer to heal, the training sets take longer to recover from, and let’s face it, mornings are just harder to get up and into.

 James Parrack is Eurosport's swimming commentator and co founder of the BEST Centre, the swim training centre in Mallorca.