The local favorites Vladimir Morozov and Yulia Efimova (RUS) made a good start on the first day of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup series 2016 in Moscow.
Vladimir Morozov registered a clear win on 100m IM over his rivals, clocking 51.03. Japanese Hiromasa Fujimori took second (51.78) while Philip Heintz finished in a time of 52.19, claiming bronze.
On the reasons why he didn’t set a new world record, as it was expected after two excellent races in Chartres and Berlin, Morozov commented: “Unfortunately, I took a cold in Berlin. So now I’m not in my best conditions. Besides, I swam too fast at the second leg. I overplayed a little bit. That’s why it will be hard for me to improve my own world record. But I know I can do this maybe once or twice till the end of the short course season”.
Morozov was satisfied with his performance today. He also dominated on 100m free, clocking 46.36. Adam Barrett (GBR) and Shinri Shioura (JPN) placed respectively second and third (46.99 and 47.00). The Russian got his third gold in the mixed 4x50m medley relay along with Stanislav Donets, Yulia Efimova and Daria Ustinova (1:39.67). Team USA took the silver medal (1:41.79). Team Russia 2 got the bronze (1:42.62).
As for Yulia Efimova she finally managed to get her first 2016 circuit Word Cup individual gold medal by winning the 100 m breaststroke. She clinched victory in 1:02.91. Katie Meily (USA) finished second (1:03.36) and Rie Kaneto (JPN) was third in 1:05.47.
“I knew I would get my first SWC gold here, in Moscow. When you compete at home, you don’t have any other choice – just to win. I didn’t have enough time for the warm-up, because I was talking with my fans and friends. They cheered me up, I couldn’t walk through. I felt a lot of responsibility because so many fans made me nervous at the beginning, but then I calmed down and touched first. I'm happy with the result. From race to race I’m getting in my best shape. I don’t have a goal to beat a world record, but I have a great motivation to improve my results,” Efimova said.
The Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu took an overall Day 1 tally of six medals, including three gold. She triumphed in the 200m free (1:54.40) and 200m IM (2:05.60). In the 800m free she emerged victorious, clocking 8:26.24. Hannah Miley (GBR) and Anastasia Kirpichnikova (RUS) completed the podium (8:27.75 and 8:28.65 respectively). It was a comfort win for Hosszu in terms of performance. But after the race, the “Iron Lady” felt really sick right in the competition pool. In some 10-15 minutes, Katinka recovered herself and was smiling at the award ceremony.
“I always want to challenge myself. I will definitely be able sometime to get to my limit one day. To have only one race in the afternoon is too easy for me. Today I didn’t swim only the 100m breaststroke. I had a lot of fun racing today. Now I'm going to have a big dinner to be ready for tomorrow,” Hosszu commented.
On winning only three gold in seven races, Hosszu told: “I love the World Cup just for racing. The most important is not the end result but trying to get better each race and trying to work on the things I need to work on. And if I get the medal it’s like a bonus”.
In the men’s 200m fly Chad Le Clos (RSA) was very close to the World Record line (1:48.56) in the first 100m. He dominated all the time and captured gold in 1:49.10. The journalists joked that he missed the record because of the beard on his face… Germany’s Philip Heintz took silver (1:52.52), while Hao Yun (CHN) claimed the third place (1:52.61).
“I’m very happy. Good day for me, with two wins. I showed good results. After the first event I was a little bit tired. But despite this it was a good time for me. Now I need to rest and prepare for tomorrow’s event. I like this swimming pool. After the Olympic Games, I’m happy to visit Moscow,” Le Clos considered.