SWC 2014, Moscow Day 1: Hat-trick for Hosszu and Le Clos

Swimming World Cup

Katinka HosszuBefore the start of the fourth stage of the FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup in Moscow, journalists were betting in how many races Katinka Hosszu would take part in this time. At a press conference, the Hungarian 'Iron lady' said she would stick to her 11-12 events schedule.

After the first competition day Hosszu added five more medals – three gold and two bronze – to her solid World Cup collection. In the women's 200m freestyle, Hosszu registered a clear victory in 1:53.18 over local Veronika Popova (1:54.88) and teammate Evelyn Verraszto (1:56.26).

In the 200m backstroke Hosszu finished first in 2:02.05. Daryna Zevina (UKR) and Anastasia Osipenko (RUS) came second and third in 2:02.87 and 2:06.59, respectively. Finally in the 200m IM the Hungarian touched first in 2:05.81), holding much at bay Spain's Mireia Belmonte (2:08.25) and compatriot Evelyn Verraszto (2:10.49).

On her performance so far, Hosszu said: "I’ve just returned from the Hong Kong leg but a three-day break is enough for me to recover. So I came to Moscow full of energy and willing to compete. At the previous stages I was very close to setting more World records. I hope I will succeed here."

The leader among men, South African Chad Le Clos, also confirmed his ambitions in Moscow. Le Clos triumphed in the 200m butterfly, touching home in 1:49.73 while American Tom Shields (1:51.61) and Victor Bromer of Denmark (1:52.19) completed the podium.

Le Clos also prevailed in the 50m butterfly, sweeping the event in 22.08. Steffen Deibler (GER) claimed the second spot (22.64) and Tom Shields (USA) took third (22.72). The third victory of the session for Le Clos was in the 100m freestyle, where he finished strongly in 46.60, well ahead closest challengers Deibler and Shields, 47.18 and 47.35, respectively.

After winning the 200m butterfly, the South African great was asked about the challenge of racing Michael Phelps again:

"I will enjoy the new stage of competing with Michael Phelps. My plan is to do my best in training and at the competitions. Michael [Phelps] is still the world record holder. And this is a good motivation for me. I think I’m able to beat him one more time like I did in London 2012."

Another highlights of the day among women were the two gold medals for Inge Dekker (NED) who managed to overcome Hosszu in the 50m freestyle (24.05) and 100m butterfly (56.08). Among men, Australian Thomas Fraser-Holmes clinched two gold, sweeping the 400m freestyle and 400m IM in 3:40.59 and 4:02.31, respectively.

Russians, whom Hosszu and Le Clos called some of the strongest 'home' rivals, concluded the first day with one gold in the mixed 4x50m medley relay, four silver and six bronze medals.

On the local squad's ambitions, Russian Veronika Popova, who took second behind Hosszu in the women's 200m freestyle, said:

"I think that we can fight with Hosszu or anybody else and beat them. There is nothing impossible. The problem is not physical, but mental. Our mind is just not ripe enough to be able to win. We just can’t believe that we can do that."