Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA
The 2018 FINA World Cup Tokyo stop kicked off with some fast swims and tight races across the board. Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu blasted a 100 IM just a few tenths off her own World Record from 2017. Fellow World Record holder in this event Vladimir Morozov was the only swimmer to snag two top seeds for the finals. He raced to first place in both the 100 IM and 50 Freestyle.
Women’s 400 Freestyle
Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands carried over her success from Beijing to the opening event of the Tokyo stop of this World Cup Series. Her time of 4:05.15 gave her the top seed in the women’s 400 Freestyle over 16-year-old Miyu Nanba (4:05.28) and Mayuko Gotou (4:06.32).
Aoi Masuda (4:06.81) and Natsumi Shibata (4:06.84) were not far behind. Boglarka Kapas of Hungary (4:08.35), Mahiro Ishii (4:08.80) and Elisabet Gamez Matos of Cuba (4:08.86) took sixth through eighth.
Men’s 400 Freestyle
Kasuke Hagino posted the twelfth-best time of the year so far in his prelims swim of the 400 Freestyle. His time of 3:43.01 was the top swim of the morning, although Brazil’s Mattheus Costa was close behind in 3:43.64. Germany’s Poul Zellman was next in 3:44.46 while Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk next in 3:44.54.
Hungary’s David Verraszto (3:46.02) and USA’s Blake Pieroni (3:46.13), now World Cup veterans, cruised into the fifth and sixth seeds. Syogo Takeda (3:46.42) and Australia’s Mack Horton (3:46.60) will also compete in the final. Horton currently holds the third-fastest time in the world this year at 3:39.52 and will be the one to watch despite being in the outside lane.
Women’s 100 IM
Katinka Hosszu started off the meet strong with a season-best 100 IM. The prelims swim was just half a second off her World Record time of 56.51 set in Berlin in 2017. The time is the fastest in the world this year. Sarah Sjostrom, who currently holds the second-quickest swim of 2018, was next in 58.44. World Junior Record holder in this event, Rikako Ikee, was third in 58.89.
Adding to the already star-studded finals heat are Great Britain’s Siobhan O’Connor (58.92), Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson (58.96), Australia’s Emily Seebohm (59.19), Rika Oomoto (59.61) and Germany’s Franziska Weidner (1:00.59). Russia’s Yulia Efimova narrowly missed the final with a ninth-place swim of 1:00.61.
Men’s 100 IM
The men’s race proved similar, with a loaded field making its way to the finals. Vladimir Morozov, the World Record holder from September, raced to a 51.77 for the top seed. USA’s Michael Andrew, who holds the third-best time this year, was next in 52.51. Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori was third in 52.75 with China’s Wang Shun fourth in 52.87.
Australia’s Mitchell Larkin kicked off his meet with the fifth seed (53.09). Kousuke Matsui (53.17), Japan’s Keita Sunama (53.32) and Israel’s Yakov Toumarkin (53.38) will round out the heat.
Women’s 50 Backstroke
The Netherlands and Australia dominated the women’s 50 Backstroke this time around. Kira Toussaint (26.46) was not far off her season best to grab the top seed, while teammate Ranomi Kromowidjojo (27.01) was fourth. Aussie pair Minna Atherton (26.73) and Seebohm (26.85) were second and third.
Also making it back in the top eight were Emi Moronuki (27.10), Korea’s Hanbyeoi Park (27.16), Julie Jensen (27.35) and Hikaru Yamasaki (27.42)
Men’s 200 Backstroke
Less than one full second separated first and eighth place in the men’s 200 Backstroke. Yuuma Edo touched the wall first in 1:52.04 while Australia’s Bradley Woodward (1:53.01) was eighth. Woodward had two teammates also make the top eight in Larkin (1:52.32 – second) and Travis Mahoney (1:52.62 – fifth).
Germany’s Christian Diener (1:52.52), Hayate Matsubara (1:52.60), Masaki Kaneko (1:52.79) and Xu Jiayu (1:52.94) will also race in the final.
Women’s 200 Butterfly
Suzuka Hasegawa led five swimmers at 2:05 for the women’s 200 Butterfly. Her time of 2:05.54 edged out Hosszu (2:05.59), Franziska Hentke (2:05.63), Zhang Yufei (2:05.82) and Nao Kobayashi (2:05.90). Kobayashi was first through the 150 before cruising in for the fifth seed. All five of these swims rank in the top ten in the world so far for 2018. Sakiko Shimizu (2:06.37), Yuyu Kikuchi (2:08.04) and Kie Kaneko (2:08.42) placed sixth through eighth.
Men’s 100 Butterfly
Some new names for this cluster of the World Cup made the top eight of the men’s 100 Butterfly. Takeshi Kawamoto was first in 50.64 followed by Yauhen Tsurkin in 51.29. Great Britain’s James Guy was close behind in 51.30 as was Nao Horomura in 51.34 and Riku Poytakivi in 51.44. Australia’s Matthew Temple was sixth in 51.54 and was followed by Yuuya Yajima (51.56) and Yuuma Wada (51.56). Temple could also make a run for the win after posting a 50.73 at the Australian Championships.
Women’s 200 Breaststroke
Russian duo Vitalina Simonova and Efimova were back at it in Tokyo taking the top two seeds in 2:20.51 and 2:21.42, respectively. Simova was just off her season best while Efimova holds the fastest time of 2018 in 2:15.62. China’a Ye Shiwen posted the third-best time of 2:21.48 ahead of Miho Takahashi in 2:21.84.
Reona Aoki (2:22.63), Georgia Coates (2:22.84), Kako Ishida (2:23.00) and Runa Imai (2:23.53) also qualified for the final.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
The Russians also placed two men in the breaststroke finals with Kirill Prigoda (57.31) and Anton Chupkov (57.81). Yasuhiro Koseki (57.58), Zibei Yan (57.58) and Ilya Shymanovich (57.70) placed between them in the second and fourth positions. Ippei Watanabe (57.84), Arno Kamminga (57.93) and Wilson (57.94) will round out the heat.
Women’s 50 Freestyle
To no surprise, Sjostrom (23.59), Heemskerk (23.85), Kromowidjojo (23.94) and Pernille Blume (24.02) led the way in the women’s 50 Freestyle. The four are the current world leaders this year and have been trading wins in this event throughout the World Cup. Toussaint (24.47), Erin Gallagher (24.60), Julie Jensen (24.62) and Zhu Menghui (24.64) took fifth through eighth.
Men’s 50 Freestyle
Morozov placed himself among the top of the ranks once again, this time in the 50 Freestyle. He led the way of Kyle Chalmers of Australia 21.03 to 21.14. All eight qualifiers came in under the 22-second mark.
Kousuke Matsui was third in 21.43 with American pair Pieroni (21.43) and Andrew (21.44) fourth and fifth. Yoshihiro Asou (21.90), Louis Townsend (21.90) and either Dylan Carter or Daniel Hunter, who tied for eighth at 21.93, will also compete in the final.