Iron Lady seizes the mo­ment

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY PAUL NEW­BERRY

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.

Iron Lady.

“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.

Hosszu

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