Ippei Watanabe Rockets to Top of 200 Breast World Rankings in Barcelona

Photo Courtesy: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

The second and final day of the Barcelona stop of the 2018 Mare Nostrum Series saw a large variety of athletes claiming victories. Top athletes like Pernille Blume, Katinka Hosszu, Ippei Watanabe, Molly Hannis, and more posted swift times.

Many athletes entered the top 20 world rankings for the first time or improved upon their spots within the world rankings.

Men’s 800 Free

Jan Micka of the Czech Republic and Henrik Christiansen of Norway battled throughout much of the 800 free, but at the end, it was Micka who won the gold. Micka touched with a time of 7:56.08 over Christiansen’s 7:56.24. The two will move to 17th and 19th in the world rankings respectively.

Japan’s Shogo Takeda rounded out the podium with a time of 7:57.46.

Women’s 50 Back

Denmark’s Mie Nielsen held off Russia’s Anastasia Fesikova in finals of the women’s 50 back. The two delivered strikingly similar times of 27.73 and 27.76 respectively. Nielsen’s time neared her 2015 Danish national record of 27.63 and moves her to seventh in the world rankings for 2018.

Fesikova’s 27.76 improves upon her ninth-place world ranking of 27.84.

Finland’s Mimosa Jallow took third overall with a time of 27.84.

Men’s 50 Breast

Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus grabbed a narrow victory in the men’s 50 breast, finishing a shy .01 seconds ahead of Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki. Shymanovich posted a 27.15 to Koseki’s 27.16, however, his fastest time of the year stands at a 26.86.

Koseki’s time ties him for 13th in the world rankings with China’s Yan Zibei.

American Michael Andrew touched third overall with a 27.73. His best time for 2018 stands at a 27.12 from the Canet-en-Roussillon stop of the Mare Nostrum series.

Women’s 50 Fly

Japan’s Rikako Ikee flew within range of her own Japanese national record of 25.11 in the women’s 50 fly, stopping the clock at a time of 25.32.

Anastasiya Shkurdai of Belarus finished second overall with a 26.43, while Sara Junevik, representing Falu SS, posted a third-place finish of 26.47.

Men’s 400 Free

Hungary’s David Verraszto led the 400 free final for much of the race, finishing more than three seconds ahead of the competition with a 4:15.08.

Women’s 100 Free

Danish sprint specialist Pernille Blume earned gold and a spot in the 2018 world rankings for the 100 free. Blume delivered a final time of 53.32, a time that moves her to seventh in the world rankings for this year. She also succeeded in holding off two rising sprint stars: Taylor Ruck (53.39) and Ikee (53.92).

Ruck and Ikee currently sit fifth and sixth in the world rankings with previous swims of 53.05 and 53.10 respectively.

Men’s 100 Back

Australia’s Benjamin Treffers posted a first-place finish of 54.85 in finals of the men’s 100 back. He was followed to the wall by Poland’s Kacper Stokowski (55.09) and Ireland’s Conor Ferguson (55.19).

Women’s 100 Breast

Americans Molly Hannis and Katie Meili delivered a 1-2 punch in finals of the women’s 100 breast, posting times of 1:06.86 and 1:06.97 respectively. Both were just off their 2018 season bests of 1:06.09 and 1:06.49.

Daria Chikunova, representing Saint-Petersburg Sports Club, finished third overall with a 1:07.37.

Men’s 50 Free

Bruno Fratus of Brazil and Michael Andrew of the United States were the only two swimmers to post sub-22 second finishes in the men’s 50 free final. Fratus claimed the gold with a time of 21.76, just off his 2018 best of 21.35, while Andrew grabbed second with a 21.93.

Italy’s Andrea Vergani turned in a time of 22.14 for third.

Women’s 200 Back

Canada’s Ruck returned to the pool for the 200 back, leading the competition from start-to-finish. She touched with a time of 2:07.96, approximately one and a half seconds off her 2018 best of 2:06.36 from the Atlanta stop of the TYR Pro Swim Series.

Daria Ustinova of Russia grabbed a decisive second with a time of 2:08.39, while third went to China’s Luo Si and her time of 2:11.09.

Men’s 200 Breast

World Record holder Ippei Watanabe collected the gold medal in his signature event with a time of 2:07.74. His time blasts him to first in the 2018 world rankings and improves upon his 2018 best of 2:08.30 from the 2018 Japan Open.

The Russian duo of Anton Chupkov and Kirill Prigoda claimed second and third with times of 2:08.85 and 2:09.28 respectively.

Women’s 200 Fly

Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova led the women’s 200 fly from start-to-finish, posting a winning time of 2:07.50. Her time improves upon her 2018 best of 2:07.54 from the 2018 Russian Nationals and further anchors her spot at fifth in the world rankings.

Liliana Szilagyi and Zsuzsanna Jakabos, both of Hungary, picked up second and third with times of 2:09.68 and 2:09.83.

Men’s 100 Fly

Three men posted sub-53 second swims in finals of the 100 fly. Yauhen Tsurkin of Belarus jumped to an early lead and never looked back, posting a final time of 52.34 for the gold.

James Guy of Great Britain picked up second overall with a 52.53, while Joeri Verlinden was third with a 52.79.

Women’s 200 IM

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu delivered a come-from-behind win in finals of the women’s 200 IM. Hosszu was trailing Japan’s Miho Teramura for much of the race, but capitalized on the final 50 meters to touch first with a 2:10.99 over Teramura’s 2:11.31.

Kathleen Baker of the United States posted a third-place finish of 2:11.58. Baker’s time moves her into the top 20 world rankings for 2018, while Hosszu and Teramura were off their 2018 bests of 2:10.87 and 2:10.21.

Men’s 200 Free

Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto was trailing Russia’s Alexander Krasnykh going into the final 50 meters of the 200 free, but a powerful 26.99 split edged him towards the win. Matsumoto touched with a time of 1:47.34, while Krasnykh settled for second and a 1:47.47.

Both swimmers have been much faster in 2018 with Matsumoto sitting fourth in the world rankings with a 1:45.93 and Krasnykh seventh with a 1:46.25.

Malaysia’s Welson Sim rounded out the podium with a 1:48.03.

Women’s 400 Free

Holly Hibbott, representing Stockport Mo of Great Britain, won the women’s 400 free with a final time of 4:10.43. Hibbott’s 2018 best of 4:05.31 sits fifth in the 2018 world rankings.

China’s Wenxin Bi posted a second place finish of 4:11.97, followed by Italy’s Giulia Salin’s 4:15.17.

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