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Hosszu's $100,000 Rhapsody Complete

Nov 11, 2012  - Craig Lord

On the list of hard-working World Cup $100,000 prize winners, Hungarian Katinka Hosszu surely leads the way after concluding a tour of 28km of racing with two more triumphs at the Singapore round of the series to take her tally to 39 victories at eight meets. She set out to train and use racing as training, her bonus the money. Every box ticked.

More than $800,000 has been handed out to just shy of 200 athletes on tour, the major FINA sponsors backing the cup, the host cities and Arena. Hosszu's share is just shy of $170,000 in total, with individually race earning. If Kenneth To (AUS) won the $100,000 as best man on tour, the top earner in individual races on tour was Townsend, with almost $27,000.

On the last day of a monumental campaign, Hosszu fought back in the last 100m of the 400m medley to overhaul teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos for her 36th tour victory this year, a 4:27.96 leaving her 0.35sec the better of the only other sub-4:30 in the final, Miyu Otsuka (JPN) third in 4:33.55.

A few races later, Hosszu was back in for a 2:05.85 victory over China's Liu Lan, on 2:06.61, in the 200m butterfly, Jakabos taking third in 2:07.44. Liu led strongly to the 150m mark before feeling the heat. The 19-year-old has had a breakthrough year: on 2:09.32 at China long-course nationals in April, she improved from a 2011 lifetime best of 2:15.50. She had already shown short-course promise, clocking 2:06.92 a year ago in Beijing.

There was more to come from Hosszu but the focus shifted as Britta Steffen (GER) achieved a rare world cup success in winning the 100m freestyle in 52.38, off a 25.64 split and 26.74 return: the 2008 double Olympic champion has won all four-lap freestyle finals on court this year. Angie Brainbridge (AUS) clocked 53.26 to keep 2011 joint world champion Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) at bay by 0.36sec for silver.

Bainbridge, one of many Australians to flood the podium as the tour came to a close, had another battle ahead of her: in 4:04.01 she pipped Melissa Ingram (NZL), 4:04.14, in the 400m freestyle, with Jessica Pengelly (RSA) third in 4:06.08. Hosszu, at this stage, was taking a breather on 4:13.67 in readiness for her last final in the 100m medley. It turned out to be bronze - and there was no shame in that. The queen of the 2012 tour clocked 59.97, Jakabos first in 59.73, 0.01sec ahead of Ngawati Kotuku, one of many Australians who will travel home tomorrow weighed down in medals and experience from the tour, the last session providing another bonanza. 

MacKenzie Horton, 17, got the last session of the tour off to a solid start for Australia with a 14:54.25 win over Mark Randall (RSA), on 14:55.80 in the 1500m freestyle.  

Cameron McEvoy (AUS) continues to garner experience for bigger moments, his latest win a 1:43.40 to 1:43.40 triumph over Darian Townsend (RSA), with the winner's Aussie teammate Tommaso D'Orsogna third in 1:44.24, 0.04sec ahead of the next of four Australian's in the final, Jarrod Killey, Robert Hurley on 1:44.45. The fight for the future of 4x200m free relay lives and breathes Down Under.

McEvoy was not done: Anthony Ervin (USA) had the last say in the 50m freestyle this year with a 20.99 victory over George Bovell (TRI), on 21.30 and second on the men's leaderboard, 0.06sec ahead of the young Australian.

Townsend was also back in later for a 1:54.16 victory over Yuki Shirai (JPN) and Justin James (AUS), on 1:54.95 and 1:58.14 respectively, in the 200m medley.

Christian Sprenger gave the Dolphins more success with a 57.46 win in the 100m breaststroke ahead of Glenn Snyders (NZL), 58.18, and 200m winner Sean Mahoney (USA), 58.53. 

Rachel Goh and Grace Loh produced a 1-2 finish for Australia in the 100m backstroke, Goh getting the touch 57.34 to 57.75, China's Xiu Tianlongzi third in 58.96.

Zhang Qibin (CHN) swept past To, world cup leader on the men's side, and Jason Dunford (KEN) on the last 50 of the 100m butterfly for a 50.58 victory. To held on for second in 50.76, Dunford succumbing to 200m winner Kazuya Kaneda (JPN) 50.85 to 51.03. With that race, To finished his solo tour with a $100,000 cheque in the wings as men's champion this year, on top of about $20,000 in solo race earnings.

Like Steffen and several others, Rie Kaneto (JPN) has enjoyed a fine run of wins: she concluded her tour with a 2:20.18 victory in the 200m breaststroke ahead of Sally Foster (AUS), on 2:22.15, with third place going to the winner's Miku Kanasashi, in 2:25.27.

Yuki Shirai (JPN) brought the men's meet to a close with a 1:50.70 victory in the 200m backstroke ahead of Australians Ashley Delaney and Travis Mahoney, on 1:51.52 and 1:53.43 respectively.

Another tour done. The focus now shifts to short-course championships European, in Chartres, France, from November 22, and World, in Istanbul from December 12.