Published: Nov 12, 2012 09:37:19 AM Updated: Mar 19, 2013 09:37:48 AM
Australia’s Kenneth To will leave Singapore US$100,000 richer following his domination of the men’s events across the 2012 short course FINA World Cup series.
The 20-year-old proved his versatility and endurance as he travelled across Europe and Asia winning medals in the freestyle, butterfly and individual medley events, against esteemed international swimmers, to secure his place as the highest ranked male of the series.
To’s closest rival was Trinidad and Tobago swimmer George Bovell who was always hot on his heels. But the Australian short course star sealed his position on top following his win over Bovell in the men’s 100m individual medley last night.
As a results of his efforts, To has managed to achieve what only one other Australian has in the past, with Marieke Guehrer taking the top spot in the women’s rankings in 2008.
Capping off the series with a close silver medal in the men’s 100m butterfly, To will now turn his attention to the short course World Championships in Turkey this December.
Hitting the wall in 50.76 To picked up the silver medal in the men’s 100m butterfly final behind China’s Qi Bin Zhang (50.58) and ahead of Kazuya Kaneda (50.85) from Japan to stand on the podium for one last time at the tournament.
The final night of competition in Singapore saw the Australian swimmers step up their game, taking home a staggering 18 medals between them, five of which were gold.
A silver medallist in the 100m breaststroke at the London Olympics, Christian Sprenger was able to go one better in Singapore, cruising to victory in an impressive Australian Short Course Record time of 57.46.
Taking gold ahead of New Zealand swimmer Glenn Snyders (58.18) and American Sean Mahoney (58.53) capped off a remarkable year for the 26-year-old, which started at the EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships in March where he broke the minute mark for the first time, for the long course 100m breaststroke, before going on to win silver in London.
Finishing her series the way she started, Rachel Goh took first place in the women’s 100m backstroke just ahead of teammate and regular rival Grace Loh.
The Victorian’s hit the wall just over 0.3 of a second apart in 57.34 and 57.75 to take the gold and silver medals respectively. Chinese swimmer Tianlongzi Xiu was third in 58.96.
London Olympic debutant Cameron McEvoy added another gold to Australia’s haul in the final of the men’s 200m freestyle. The 18-year-old was too quick for South African Darian Townsend (1:43.50) and fellow Aussie Tommaso D’Orsogna (1:44.24), stopping the clock at 1:43.40 for the win.
Townsend once again spoiled Australia’s hopes of sweeping the podium, hitting the wall ahead of D’Orsogna, Jarrod Killey (1:44.28) and Robert Hurley (1:44.45) for the silver medal.
McEvoy then backed up for the final of the men’s 50m freestyle, finishing third in the sprint with a time of 21.36, just behind To’s rival Bovell (21.30) and American Anthony Ervin who finished first in 20.99.
Rising star Mackenzie Horton (14:54.25) collected his first god medal of the series with a win in his pet event, the 1500m freestyle. The 16-year-old, who will compete in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January next year, has gained valuable international experience from the World Cup series.
South African swimmer Mark Randall was second in the 60-lap swim while China’s Yun Xiang Zhang finished third in 15:07.19.
Dual Olympian Angie Bainbridge took a surprise win in the women’s 400m freestyle final, stealing the gold from New Zealand’s Melissa Ingram in the touch.
Bainbridge claimed gold in a time of 4:04.01, relegating Ingram to silver in 4:04.14 while South African Jessica Pengelly had to settle for bronze in 4:06.08.
Bainbridge (53.26) then went on to win silver behind Germany’s Britta Steffen (52.38) in the women’s 100m freestyle final. The bronze medal went to Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen Gray in 53.62.
Ashley Delaney collected two silver medals finishing second in both the 50m (23.51) and 200m backstroke (1:51.52) events. Delaney was beaten by Russian Stanislav Donets (23.22) in the 50m final while Japan’s Yuki Shirai (1:50.70) was too good in the 200m final.
Australian’s Robert Hurley (23.67) and Travis Mahoney (1:53.43) finished behind Delaney for bronze in the 50m and 200m backstroke respectively.
Australia then claimed two medals in the women’s breaststroke events with Sally Foster (2:22.15) and Sarah Katsoulis finishing a second and third in their respective events.
Foster’s silver came in the 200m breaststroke behind Rie Kaneto (2:20.18) of Japan.
A London Olympic finalist in this event, Foster was able to overtake Miku Kanasashi (2:25.27) in the early stages of the race to secure the silver.
The women’s 50m breaststroke was a much closer final with the top four all finishing within one second of each other. Katsoulis had to settle for bronze in a time of 30.59 behind Sweden’s Rebecca Ejdervik (30.52) and gold medalist from the USA Jessica Hardy in 29.96.
Kotuku Ngawati split the top ranked women in the final of the 100m individual medley, with all three swimmers clocking times under the elusive one minute mark.
Ngawati’s time of 59.74 was agonisingly close to gold, just 0.01 of a second behind Zsuzsanna Jakabos who stole the win in a time of 59.73. The top ranked woman from the series, Katinka Hosszu was third in 59.97.
Australian Institute of Sport swimmer Justin James stepped up on the final night to take third in the men’s 200m individual medley event.
South African swimmer Townsend finished first in 1:54.16 after holding off a fast finishing Yuki Shirai who touched second in 1:54.95 ahead of James’ in 1:58.14.
That was the final night of competition in the FINA short course World Cup, for more information on results and rankings, go to www.fina.org.au