BY RIZWAN REHMAT
DOHA: Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu yesterday smashed a world record and created two World Cup records on her way to four impressive golds on day one of the 2014 FINA World Cup series opener at Hamad Aquatic Centre here.
Also yesterday, South Africa’s Olympic Games star Chad Le Clos sealed two wins to validate his Commonwealth Games performance in Glasgow three weeks ago.
Nicknamed the ‘Iron Lady’, Hosszu was in imperious form in the pool as she rewrote the record books in the women’s 200m individual medley.
Earlier in the day, she also smashed a World Cup record in the 200m freestyle heats — finished the evening race ahead of Caitlin Levernez of the US and Lisa Zaiser of Australia.
The Hungarian clocked a time of 2:02.61 improving on her own time of 2:03:20 posted last August.
Leverenz finished with a time of 2:07:11 while Zaiser clocked 2:08.32 in the 25m pool at the state-of-the-art Hamad Aquatic Centre.
“That was awesome. I’m super excited to break the World Record! It’s my fastest ever time in a textile suit. I can’t believe it,” Hosszu said.
Hosszu also won the 200m freestyle, sealing her victory ahead of compatriot Evelin Verraszto and Swiss swimmer Danielle Villars.
The 25-year-old Hungarian clocked a time of 1:51.41 while Verraszto finished in a time of 1:55.81. Villars was close behind with 1:57.90.
In the 50m backstroke, Hosszu topped the field with a time of 26.18. Aleksandr Urbanczyk of Poland was second with a time of 26.44 while Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina was third (26.66).
It was Hosszu all the way in the 200m backstroke as the Hungarian secured a win with a time of 2:01.60.
Ukraine’s Zevina once again finished second (2:04.56) while Carolina Colorado Henao of Colombia ended the race in third sport (2:06.75).
Earlier in the heats, the ‘Iron Lady’ posted a time of 1:51.84 in the s 200m freestyle to break the previous World Cup record of 1:52.08 set by USA’s Allison Schmitt in 2011.
Also yesterday, Le Clos powered to two wins to continue with the kind of form that brought him two golds, a silver and four bronze medals at the Glasgow Games.
The 22-year-old — one of the most recognisable swimmers in the world after pipping Michael Phelps to gold in the 200m butterfly final at the London Olympics in 2012 — won the men’s 100m freestyle ahead of Poland’s Konrad Czerniak and Germany’s Steffen Deibler.
Le Clos — who launched his career at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games in 2010 — finished the 100m with a time of 46.29secs. Czerniak was second (46:62) while Deibler has to settle for the third spot (47.22).
“I’m really happy to get the win. It’s PB (personal best) time for me and a new record for South Africa. It’s good preparation for the worlds here in Doha in December,” Le Clos said. “Everyone’s excited to be here,” he added.
The South African swimming star also won the Men’s 50m butterfly ahead of Tom Shields of the US and compatriot Roland Schoeman.
Le Clos clocked a time of 22.17secs while Shields impressed with 22.63secs. Schoeman ticker stopped at 22.69secs.
Thomas Fraser-Holmes Australia and Inge Dekker of the Netherlands also won two races each yesterday.
Speaking on the high quality of swimming at Hamad Aquatic Centre, a delighted Khalil Al Jaber, President, Qatar Swimming Association (QSA), said: “What a perfect start to the FINA Mastbank Swimming World Cup Doha 2014.”
Al Jaber added: “Some of the world’s leading swimmers like Hosszu, Le Clos and Gyurta have already shown early in the series that they want to continue their form of 2013, by winning and going quick. We are going to witness some great finals and very quick times.”
Talented Qatari teenager, Walid Dalloul continued to make steady progress using the World Cup meet in preparation for the forthcoming GCC championship.
The talented 16-year-old, who recently set a new Qatar record in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China said after his 200m Breaststroke heat: “To swim against the best is the world as an event as big as this is a huge opportunity for me to learn. The experience is very important.”
He added: “As a 16-year-old, I know I am still young, but I’m using this meet to develop and prepare for the GCC Championship. I’m working very hard and my times are improving with each race.”
Later in the evening, Finland pipped Switzerland in the mixed 4x50 medley. China finished the race in third spot, a notch ahead of Singapore, the fourth team in the competition.