Hosszu, Mellouli Continue Strong World Championships
July 29, 2009
USC sophomore Katinka Hosszu, a four-time 2009 All-American and a two-time Hungarian Olympian, registered the third-fastest time ever in the 200-meter butterfly to qualify for the event's final while Trojan distance great Ous Mellouli won his second silver medal in four days at the 2009 FINA World Championships on Wednesday (July 29) in Rome.
Hosszu, who won bronze in the 200m IM earlier in the meet, put herself in a great position to win a second medal after clocking a 2:04.27 to qualify as the top seed in Thursday's final. USA's Mary Descenza, who broke the world record in prelims at 2:04.18, qualified second. Previous world record holder Zige Liu of China qualified for the final in sixth while Chinese teammate Liuyang Jiao, who entered the meet as the second-fastest ever in the event, qualified in fourth.
Mellouli, second in the 400m free on Sunday and a favorite in the 1500m free at the end of the meet, battled China's Lin Zhang throughout the 800m free. Both swimmers began to distance themselves from the rest of the field less than halfway through the race with Zhang maintaining a short lead over Mellouli.
Mellouli, the 2008 Olympic champion in the 1500m free, was on Zhang's hip for the next few hundred meters and trailed by only 0.27 with 100 meters to go. But with 50 left, Zhang pulled away and won with a world record 7:32.12. Mellouli was solidly in second and his 7:35.27 was also under Grant Hackett's previous world mark of 7:38.65. Canada's Ryan Cochrane was third (7:41.92).
In prelims on Wednesday, USC senior Zoltan Povazsay competed in the 100m free, finishing 76th (50.73).
In addition to Hosszu's final in the 200m fly, Thursday's action will feature the prelims and semifinals of the 200m breast. Rebecca Soni, a 2009 USC graduate, is the top seed and a big favorite to win gold in the event. The 2008 Olympic champion in the race already has won a world title in the 100m breast and will work toward her second beginning Thursday.