Jia Li, FINA Press Correspondent in China

The FINA Swimming World Cup 2019 second leg kicked-off on Thursday, August 8, in Jinan, China as swimmers kept their rhythm after the FINA World Championships in Gwangju last month and performed on the same level in Jinan.

In the women's 400m free, Erica Sullivan from the United States came from behind to win the race in 4:08.70. China’s Bi Wenxin trailed in 4:10.23, while China’s Dong Jie ranked third in 4:11.32.

Sullivan said: “It was hard. It was hard. I definitely tried to go out fast. I felt good and really controlled so I decided to keep going. I focused on myself in the race.”

“The World Cup is totally new for me. It is my first time in China too and I love the city very much.”

Danas Rapsys of Lithuania led all the way to win the men’s 400m free in 3:43.91, breaking his own World Cup record which was just set last week in Tokyo. Rapsys had ranked 4th in the same event at the FINA World Championships. China’s Ji Xinjie came second (3:49.87) while Aussie swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes was third (3:54.20).

“I thought this guy (Ji Xinjie) was going to be a lot faster than me,” said Rapsys.

“I didn’t feel good after the World Championships, but now I am really well again. I tried my best.”

In the women’s 50m back, China’s Liu Xiang smashed the World Cup record to win the gold medal in 27.35. Chen Jie came second, while Emily Seebohm of Australia, winner of the event in Tokyo, took bronze.

“I performed my normal level,” said Liu. “I swam 50m free at the World Championships, so this time I chose to swim 50m back and 50m fly.”

The men’s 200m back was a battle of three swimmers. At last Australia’s Mitchell Larkin won this time in 1:56.39, while his teammate Tristan Jason Hollard trailed in 1:57.94. China’s Xu Jiayu, who led the first split, fell behind and settled for the third place in 1:59.59.

“I am not worrying too much about the time,” Larkin said. “But I am very happy to win. I enjoyed the competition very much.”

Xu, winner of the event at the World Championships, said:

“I felt very tired and I am not in my best form now. Recently I dedicated much time in my studies.”

The women’s 200m fly was a close race between Katinka Hosszu (HUN) and her teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos, but Hosszu ended up beating Jakabos in 2:07.26 and won the title. China’s Zhang Yufei came third.

Hosszu said :“After the World Championships we don’t have time to make adjustment, so I just carried through. The World Cup is more relaxed than the World Championships. I think it is a fun way to just enjoy swimming for what it is and not what you have to do. You choose your events and see what you can do. We have more time to spend with other swimmers, we travelled together and we had days off to walk around the city, it’s really fun.”

The men’s 100m butterfly title also went to Hungary as Szebasztian Szabo dominated the race in 51.45.

The women’s 200m breast was a fierce race between Vitalina Simonova of Russia and China’s Yu Jingyao. Yu was on the lead at first but was surpassed by the Russian after the 100m mark. Vitalina won the gold medal in 2:24.52.

China’s Yan Zibei won the men’s 100m breast in 59.08. Andrew Wilson of the United States and Wang Lizhuo of China ranked second in 59.56.
The women’s 50m free was a revenge for Australia’s Cate Campbell. She lost to Sweden’s Michelle Coleman in a close race in Tokyo but this time she won in 24.16. Coleman ranked second in 24.74. Australia’s Holly Barratt was third.

The men's 50m free race was dominated by Russia’s Vladimir Morozov who claimed gold in 21.50. Michael Andrew of the United States trailed in 22.16 while China’s Yu Hexin ranked third in 22.31.

“It was good, very close to my World Cup record (21.49). It’s a good start and a good swim. Maybe the last five meters could have been better, so there is something to work out.”

“I didn’t have much time to adjust myself after the worlds. So I just go straight into racing with the same mindset, trying to improve on the races. I will go to Singapore after Jinan. It’s a lot of racing.”