The FINA Swimming World Cup 2022 season concluded on Saturday evening in Indianapolis with USA’s Katie Ledecky setting her second World Record of the series, while Beata Nelson and Trinidad & Tobago’s Dylan Carter took three consecutive wins in the 200m backstroke, 200m IM, and 50m butterfly respectively.
For the second time this World Cup series, Katie Ledecky set a world record, this time in the 800m freestyle on the final night in Indianapolis. A week after smashing the 1500m freestyle record, Ledecky swam a 7:57.42, taking nearly two full seconds off of Mireia Belmonte’s 7:59.34 from the 2013 World Cup in Berlin.
“I pushed myself a lot after last week,” Ledecky said. “It’s great to have all these fans here to cheer us on. It's nice to have some benchmarks (in short course).
"I am really happy to be here and racing at the World Cup events.
“I was putting some pressure on myself after my swim in Toronto. I wish I had done it in Toronto. It's always nice when you can hear a little bit of the crowd. It’s a fun way to start the fall and kick off the season. We usually don’t get the season started with an international level meet so it’s a little different for me.”
American Beata Nelson took full advantage of the FINA Swimming World Cup coming to the United States for the first time since she would have been a young age group swimmer in 2006 as she won triple crowns in the 200m backstroke and 200m IM on Saturday evening.
Nelson started her night off with a 2:00.43 in the 200m backstroke, getting oh so close once again to breaking the magical 2:00 mark that only five women in history have accomplished. Later on in the session she won the 200m IM with a 2:04.92, taking her third win in both races, achieving the triple crown and cashing in big on the overall World Cup title.
“I am not usually a slap the water lady but it's been a long three weeks and I am really happy with the finish,” Nelson said. “I had no expectations coming into this. I saw this as a great short course opportunity for me that's in my wheelhouse. I am really happy with the results and wanted to take full advantage.
“My family is in the stands, my boyfriend is up there and I have club coaches that I have known for years who are here watching. This pool has been a place of special memories for me in the past and I am really happy to get this done on home soil.”
For the men’s overall World Cup title, it came down to the final day between Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago and Nic Fink of the United States, who were tied on the overall points coming into today. Carter had the 50m butterfly final while Fink had the 200m breaststroke - both events were triple crown opportunities as they were each going for their ninth win of the entire circuit.
Ultimately the title went to Carter thanks to his 21.99 in the 50m butterfly, his fastest of the three finals.
“I am so very happy,” Carter said. I am over the moon. I have been saying that this was a goal of mine but the pressure started to mount this weekend. I really felt like I could do it tonight.
“I was cooler this week than I was in Toronto. I think the confidence outweighed the nerves. It's a massive step for me. I have always felt that I had massive potential but there were some things missing, and I was always trying to unlock them. I am pleased to see some consistent results.”
Fink won the 200m breaststroke from lane 8 with a 2:02.70. After nearly missing the final this morning, he won from the outside, taking the lead early and sticking to it as he finished second overall to Carter with 172.3 points to Carter’s 172.6.
“I was rattled a little bit,” Fink said of the morning swim. “I was in control of my heat this morning I guess I let the first two heats get away. My eyes were wide open. I was happy to get a lane, knowing that if you get a lane you get a chance.
“It's an opportunity to swim your own race and that's what I did tonight. I swam a 2:03 or 2:04 in Toronto. Tonight it was definitely the adrenaline and “It's pretty awesome to be the top breaststroker in all three. I am looking forward to getting some crowns in the mail from FINA.”
There were four other triple crown winners on Saturday in Indianapolis as notably Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte won her sixth breaststroke final with a 28.70 in the 50m breaststroke, the fourth fastest swim of all-time.
Meilutyte was off her best time of 28.60 from Berlin, but is back swimming better than ever at age 25.
“I am really happy to get the crown. I really wanted it,” Meilutyte said. “Everywhere we go, there are a bunch of Lithuanians cheering for us and that’s inspiring. I am happy to be enjoying the process of training, competing and winning. “Right now I am not thinking (about the World Championships) I want to clear my mind and refocus.”
In the women’s 100m freestyle, Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong, China won the third straight final with a 51.00, the 14th fastest time in history. Haughey won her sixth final of the 2022 World Cup, after also collecting a hat trick in the 200m freestyle. Haughey finished second overall in the points standings with 165.9 points after Beata Nelson scored 173.7 points.
#Swimming World Cup 2022 Women's rankings 👇— FINA (@fina1908) November 6, 2022
Full Rankings ➡️https://t.co/PfyMow2jF0 pic.twitter.com/dJWPKEqC52
“It’s not too much pressure, it’s fun and it’s exciting to race the world cup series,” Haughey said. “I was hoping to go under 51 but 51.0 is pretty good. It's a good sign that I am swimming faster during the world cup series.
"I am excited to have another training block before short course worlds. The 100 free is very competitive and I try to focus on my own race and not to rush the first 25.
“I am very excited for short course worlds. After these races I know the things that I need to work on and I will be focusing on them. I will be ready for Melbourne.”
American Shaine Casas also won his third 100m backstroke win at 49.40. Although not a best time, a win is a win after a long three weeks of racing for the young professional. However Casas was aiming for the 48.33 world record.
“That race was a surprise to me,” Casas said. “I wanted to go a second faster. It felt really good but sometimes it doesn't happen the way you want it to happen. I worked on what I have been doing. I am pretty obsessed with being number one, winning, and with my times. I really wanted to swim a bit faster but at the end of the day I got the job done.”
Swimming World Cup 2022 Men's Rankings 👇 pic.twitter.com/4sIwnAgwHu— FINA (@fina1908) November 6, 2022
South Africa’s Matthew Sates got back on track with a win in the 400m IM at 4:04.12, after having a disappointing swim in the 400m freestyle.
“I gave it my all tonight,” Sates said. “I am recovering from a bit of fatigue from the previous races. I was standing behind the blocks tonight trying to build my confidence. I’m happy with this result and I learned a lot about my body. I would like to swim the 400 at a higher level at worlds. I will be resting a bit for Melbourne.
USA’s Kieran Smith (200m freestyle) and Sweden’s Louise Hansson (100m butterfly) also won events on Saturday night in Indianapolis. Smith won his third event of the weekend with a 1:41.78 in the 200m freestyle while Hansson was a 55.45 in the 100m butterfly.