Ruta Meilutyte‘s drive into uncharted waters on breaststroke continued apace at the Moscow round of the FINA World Cup today with a 1:02.36 world record victory. Out in 29.56, the 16-year-old Brit-based Lithuanian stunned double world champion Yuliya Efimova (RUS) with a 0.59 reaction off the blocks, a blistering first half and a roaring 32.80 return.
The first day of the third round of the Cup also witnessed a second world mark or sorts. Russians Sergey Makov, Andrey Grechin, Daria Tcvetkova and Ekaterina Borovikova established what FINA will record as the second world record ever in the 4x50m mixed medley relay. Their 1:41.70 was well inside the 1:49.87 effort of club tam from Indiana James Wells, Cody Miller, Gia Dalesandro and Olivia Barker last month. Here’s the background to that, while the best ever in the event remains the French effort of 1:38.74 that delivered the European s/c crown in Chartres last November for Jeremy Stravius (23.13); Florent Manaudou (25.90); Melanie Henique (25.61); Anna Santamans (24.10).
The day also saw three wins for Sarah Sjoestrom (SWE) and six podium places for Katinka Hosszu (HUN) but the 100m breaststroke final stole the show.
Efimova, who pipped Meilutyte for the 50m world crown in Barcelona this summer past, was out in 30.28 and back in 1:03.53 for silver, Alia Atkinson (JAM) taking third in 1:04.64. The Lithuanian smarted after the 50m clash in Barcelona. Today, she threw down another gauntlet for the Russian and other rivals.
The world record had stood to Rebecca Soni, the American beaten by Meilutyte for Olympic gold in London last year, in 1:02.70. Soni was absent from the world championships this far when the Lithuanian backed up with a world l/c record of 1:04.35 in semis and the world crown a touch slower in the final. A heavy cold fought off just before travelling, the world champion’s form in Moscow had been in doubt. No longer.
“I didn’t expect I could swim so fast,” said Meilutyte. “It wasn’t the aim to beat a record or to beat Yulia Efimova, but it was nice to win. I got back to training just a few weeks ago. I had some injuries, I was ill. My plan for this season is to improve myself as much as I can.”
Meilutyte and Efimova may well press each other to challenging Jessica hardy’s world 50 s/c record of 28.80 tomorrow. Meilutyte, coached by Jon Rudd at Plymouth Leander and College in England, now has three breaststroke world record to her name, all established this season:
- 29.48 50m 3 Aug 2013 World Championships Barcelona, Spain
- 1:04.35 100m July 29, 2013 Barcelona, Spain
- 1:02.36 100m 12 Oct 2013 World Cup Moscow, Russia
The best 10 performances ever:
- 1:02.36 Meilutyte, Ruta, LTU, SCM2013
- 1:02.70 Soni, Rebecca, USA SCM2010
- 1:03.00 Jones, Leisel, AUS SCM2010
- 1:03.30 Hardy, Jessica, USA SCM2010
- 1:03.33 Hardy, Jessica, USA SCM2012
- 1:03.41 Atkinson, Alia, JAM SCM2013
- 1:03.52 Meilutyte, Ruta, LTU SCM2013
- 1:03.63 Jones, Leisel, AUS SCM2011
- 1:03.72 Jones, Leisel, AUS SCM2008
- 1:03.73 Katsoulis, Sarah, AUS SCM2010
Another Olympic champion showing great form was Chad Le Clos (RSA, photo, La Presse/arena), on 1:49.83 as the only man inside 1:51.5 in the 200m butterfly. The time left the world champion shy of the 1:49.04 world mark he set in Eindhoven at the first round of the cup back in August off the back of Barcelona world l/c titles peak form. Le Clos led from go to gold, turning in 25.16, 53.78 and 1:22.29 on his way to a decisive history over Tom Shields (USA), on 1:51.98, and Poland’s world-titles medallist Pawel Korzeniowski, on 1:52.06.
Roland Schoeman having won the 50m breaststroke earlier, Myles Brown, Le Clos’ training partner under the guidance of coach Graham Hill, added to the South African joy with a 3:41.79 victory in the 400m freestyle. Robert Hurley, the Australian winner of the 100m back earlier in the session, clocked 3:43.89 for second, Brazilian teammates Lucas Da Cruz Kanieski and Marcos Oliveira next home on 3:44.75 and 3:45.99 respectively.
In the dash events, Schoeman took the breaststroke field by storm with a 25.83 triumph as the only man not only to get under 26 but 27: Sasa Gerbec (CRO), on 27.09, and Kirill Strelnikov (RUS), 27.20, followed him home. Schoeman returned to the fray in the last solo men’s final of the day for a 22.26 win over Le Clos, on 22.55, in the ‘fly dash, third place to Steffan Deibler (GER), on 22.86.
The first session of the third round of the Cup witnessed a trio of triumphs for Sarah Sjoestrom (SWE).
After Olympic silver medallist Mireia Belmonte (ESP) took the 800m free in 8:19.55 ahead of Katinka Hosszu (HUN), on 8:22.17, an Sarah Kohler (GER), on 8:25.53, the Hungarian claimed a second silver just 20 minutes later with a 1:54.15 (a touch slower than her heats time), world 100m free silver medallist and world 100m ‘fly champion Sjoestrom (SWE, pictured) following Belmonte’s example in keeping the world cup queen at bay, in 1:53.76. Sjoestrom did not quite lead from go to gold, world-titles l/c silver medallist over 400m this summer past summer, Melanie Costa (ESP) ahead with 50m to go before succumbing to pressure from the Swedish and Hungarians aces and settling for bronze in 1:54.28, Veronika Popova (RUS) on 1:54.85.
Sjoestrom [photo: LaPresse/arena] returned a little later to claim the 100m butterfly in 57.04 for a second gold on the day off a leading half-way split of 27.04, 0.01sec ahead of Tao Li (SIN) at the turn. The world champion was 0.6sec faster on the way home, Tao good for second in 57.65, just holding off Hosszu, third in hr third race on 57.67, after a 29.96 return 50. Hosszu had more on her plate yet: Daryna Zevina (UKR) clocked 27.12 for the 50m backstroke win ahead of the Hungarian, on 27.46, with Alexandra Papusha (RUS), on 27.63. Zevina backed up with a second gold in the 200m with a class-apart 2:02.95 towards the end of the session. The minor spoils went to japan’s Sayaka Akase, 2:05.69, and Hosszu, on 2:07.21 for her sixth podium place of the day.
Sjoestrom took a third gold of the day in 24.20 in the 50m freestyle, Dorothea Brandt (GER) second in 24.38, 0.04sec up on Russian 16-year-old Rosaliya Nasretdinova.
Before her last visit to the podium, Hosszu finally took gold, a 2:06.86 effort in the 200m medley a strong sting too far for the rest, Sophie Allen (GBR) second on 2:08.29, Theresa Michalak (GER) third in 2:09.74.
David Verraszto (HUN) dominated the 400m medley as the sole sub-4:10 swimmer, on 4:06.92, the race in his control from the 150m mark onwards. Russian teammates Dimitry Gorbunov and Alexander Tikhonov took the minor spoils in 4:10.28 an 4:10.49.
Robert Hurley (AUS) took the 100m backstroke in 50.32 ahead of teammate Ashley Delaney, on 51.13, Poland’s world-titles 200m silver medallist Radoslaw Kawecki third in 51.28.
Viatcheslav Sinkevich gave the hosts something to cheer about with a 2:05.61 win in the 200m breaststroke ahead of Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson (GBR), on 2:06.90, and the winners’ teammate Oleg Kostin, on 2:07.32.
The hosts cheered for their first home win when US-based world s/c champion Vladimir Morozov scorched a 45.68 victory just 0.04sec shy of the world cup record held by Matt Abood (AUS) since the last season of shiny suits in 2009. Morozov put in a decisive 21.84 half-way split on his way to setting the standard at the helm of the 2013-2014 world rankings (that season split will be made in our rankings offer in the coming week). The 2012 world cup champion Kenneth To (AUS) was closest, on 46.87, Konrad Czerniak (POL) third in 47.34.
Morozov was back later for a second win over To, 51.61 to 51.83 in the 100m medley, third place going to 50m free podium placer at l/c world this summer past, George Bovell (TRI) in 52.88.