Iron Lady seizes the moment
With Katie Ledecky getting the night off, Hungary’s Iron Lady seized the moment Monday at the world championships.
Katinka Hosszu lived up to her country’s enormous expectations with an electrifying victory in the 200-metre individual medley, spurred on by a flag-waving, foot-stomping crowd at Duna Arena.
The new 12,000-seat aquatic facility along the Danube was packed all the way to the rafters, and it was clear who most of the fans came to see. Hosszu didn’t let them down. “It’s really hard to put into words what it means to win at home,” she said. “It definitely gives you extra energy and motivation. It was just crazy.”
She led from start to finish in the race encompassing all four swimming strokes, finishing off with the freestyle and a time of two minutes, 7.00 seconds. It was nearly a second slower than her worldrecord performance at the Rio Olympics last summer but enough to hold off hard-charging Yui Ohashi of Japan, who settled for silver in 2:07.91.
The bronze went to Madisyn Cox of the United States in 2:09.71, just ahead of teammate Melanie Margolis.
Canada’s Sydney Pickrem was unable to finish the race after the first turn. Swimming Canada said Pickrem had to leave after she “took on water.”
After touching the wall, Hosszu pounded the water, stuck out her tongue and climbed atop a lane rope to acknowledge the raucous crowd.
Her husband and coach, Shane Tusup, pumped his fists and led out a guttural scream.
Hosszu popped out of the water and ran around the deck to embrace Tusup, who handed her a red cap emblazoned with the nickname she received a few years ago for her grueling repertoire of events.
“This is pretty much how I felt the first time I won,” she said.
Hosszu wasn’t the only big name to claim gold on the second night of swimming.
Britain’s Adam Peaty romped to victory in the 100-meter breaststroke, while Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom just missed breaking her own world record in the 100 butterfly.
After claiming two golds on Sunday, Ledecky’s lone race Monday was the morning preliminaries of the 1,500 freestyle. She breezed through the grueling event in 15:47.57 — nearly 18 seconds faster than secondfastest qualifier Mireia Belmonte of Spain.
The final is tonight.
“It felt good,” Ledecky said. “I know how to manage the schedule. I just kind of have to work through the prelims as easy as I can to keep myself rested.”
Having already set a world record with her leadoff leg in the 4x100 freestyle relay, Sjostrom nearly took down another mark in the fly with a winning time of 55.53.
That was just 0.05 seconds off her gold-medal triumph at Rio. When Sjostrom saw the time on the scoreboard, she covered her mouth in surprise.
“It felt like I was going a bit slower than I did (Sunday) actually, so maybe butterfly is about being all relaxed and then you can be even faster,” said Sjostrom, who didn’t look at all tired a day after racing four times.
Australia’s Emma McKeon (56.18) grabbed the silver and Kelsi Worrell of the U.S. (56.37) settled for bronze. Seventeenyear-old Penny Oleksiak of Toronto, a breakout star in Rio with four medals, finished fourth.