SWIMMING Panorama: Strong marks at Australian Trials and Mare Nostrum in France

Australian swimming star Emma McKeon.

With the FINA World Championships coming quickly, swimmers are ramping up to top form, both at the Australian World Championships Trials and at the second of the three legs of the Mare Nostrum series, this time in France:

Australian World Championships Trials

More outstanding freestyle swimming in Brisbane as the women’s 200 m Free final was a battle between world leader Ariarne Ttitmus (1:54.20) and veteran star Emma McKeon. This time it was McKeon who came out on top, clocking 1:54.55 for the no. 2 spot on the world list for 2019, with Titmus second in 1:55.09, still faster than anyone else this year!

In the women’s 1,500 m Free, Madeleine Gough stopped the lock in 15:56.39 for no. 3 on the year list, with Kiah Melverton close behind (and no. 4) at 15:56.46. American Katie Ledecky continues as the world leader at 15:45.59.

Mitch Larkin posted an excellent 52.38 mark to win the men’s 100 m Back, no. 2 in the world this year and just 0.11 behind Jiayu Xu’s 52.27 from the Chinese Nationals back in May.

The World Trials continue through Friday; the live timing site is here.

Mare Nostrum/Canet-et-Roussillon

The second of the three legs of the Mare Nostrum series is on Tuesday and Wednesday in France, with some excellent marks on the opening day.

In the men’s 50 m Back, American Michael Andrew won in a speedy 24.53, moving him to no. 3 for 2019.

Top-five marks also came in the 100 m Breast, where British stars Adam Peaty (58.78) and James Wilby (58.99) went 1-2. Both have been faster, but absent their earlier performances, both marks would be in the top five on the world list.

Same for Japan’s Daiya Seto, who won the 400 m Medley in the second-fastest time of the year in 4:09.62. Only he is faster with an earlier 4:09.25.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu similar won the women’s 200 m Medley in 2:08.57; only she has been faster this year, at 2:08.50 in the FINA Champions Swim Series.

The Canet-et-Roussillon leg finished on Wednesday; the live timing site is here.

You don’t always have to qualify for the World Championships, as FINA showed by inviting Brazilian star Nicholas Santos to swim in Gwangju (KOR) in July.

Currently the world leader in the 50 m Fly, Santos – swimming brilliantly at age 39 – was left off the Brazilian team for the Worlds as it is concentrating on swimmers competing in Olympic events. The 50 m Free is contested at the Olympic Games, but not the other 50 m events in Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly. Santos was the silver medalist in the 50 m Fly at the last two World Championships (2015 and 2017).

Swimming World Magazine reported that FINA’s invitation came from Executive Director Cornel Marculescu (ROU) and includes payment for his travel to Korea.

FINA has confirmed the prize money distributed at the FINA Champions Swim Series, with 18 swimmers listed as money winners. There were a dozen who earned $50,000 or more:

1. $148,000 Sarah Sjostrom (SWE)
2. $124,500 Katinka Hosszu (HUN)
3. $106,000 Michael Andrew (USA)
4. $61,500 Vladimir Morozov (RUS)
5. $61,000 Danas Rapsys (LTU)
6. $60,500 Yuliya Efimova (RUS)
7. $57,000 Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED)
8. $53,500 Molly Hannis (USA)
9. $53,000 Kelsi Dahlia (USA)
10. $52,000 Anton Chupkov (RUS)
11. $51,000 Pernille Blume (DEN)
12. $50,000 Chad Le Clos (RSA)

The complete list of money winners is here.