Siobhan Haughey, Hwang Sunwoo Break Mare Nostrum Records; Kristof Milak Shines in 200 Fly

Siobhan Haughey -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Siobhan Haughey, Hwang Sunwoo Break Mare Nostrum Records; Kristof Milak Shines in 200 Fly

As she aims for a return to the Olympic medal podium in the 200 freestyle, Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey has been extremely consistent in recording times in the 1:54-range this season. She won gold at the World Championships in February in 1:54.89, and she has been as fast as 1:54.52 at the TYR Pro Swim Series in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Earlier this week in Barcelona, she clocked 1:54.57 for a new Mare Nostrum record in the 200 free, and now she has clipped the mark again in a dominant win in Monaco.

Haughey crushed her closest competition in the heat while putting up a time of 1:54.53. Great Britain’s Freya Anderson took second (1:58.45) with Portugal’s Francisca Martins third (1:59.13). Haughey was a tick off her San Antonio time, which ranks her fourth in the world for 2024 behind world-record holder Mollie O’CallaghanSummer McIntosh and Yang Junxuan, the swimmers who will be Haughey’s toughest competition for the Olympic medal podium along with Ariarne Titmus.

Hwang Sunwoo got the win in the men’s 100 freestyle in 47.91, well clear of Britain’s Tom Dean (48.67) and the Netherlands’ Sean Niewold (49.08). Hwang, the world champion in the 200 free earlier this year, became the first swimmer to ever break 48 at a Mare Nostrum meet as he surpassed the previous tour record of 48.08 set by American Nathan Adrian a decade ago.

A second record nearly fell on the men’s side as Kristof Milak continues to work his way back to form after missing the 2023 World Championships and taking a break from training. At the last Mare Nostrum meet, he won the 100 butterfly but struggled over 200 meters. No such problem in Monaco as he blasted a time of 1:53.94, his fastest time since 2022. He finished a fraction off the Mare Nostrum record of 1:53.89 he set in 2022 but did beat the previous Monaco record of 1:54.22.

Milak’s time was the second quickest in the world this year, narrowly behind the 1:53.88 that Japan’s Tomoru Honda swam to win the world title in February. Honda raced head-to-head with Milak here but could not keep pace with the Hungarian down the stretch. Honda finished in 1:54.65, with countryman Genki Terakado third (1:55.72).

Hwang was not the only Korean man to win Saturday as countryman Kim Woomin had previously topped the 400 freestyle. Kim was the world champion in the event earlier this year, and after going 3:42.71 in Doha, he eclipsed that mark here with a 3:42.42, behind only Lukas MartensElijah Winnington and Sam Short in the global rankings. Korea’s Lee Hojoon took second (3:48.43) with Italy’s Marco De Tullio third (3:49.17).

Dean was a winner in the 200 IM, overcoming a deficit of almost a second at the halfway point by clocking 34.78 on breaststroke and 27.75 on freestyle for a final time of 1:59.36. Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsushita, in first place most of the race, settled for second in 1:59.50, and Greece’s Apostolos Papastamos was third (2:01.93).

Anastasia Gorbenko, who earlier this year became the first Israeli woman to win a medal at the long course World Championships, is positioning herself to chase an Olympic medal as well. She captured first place in the 400 IM Saturday in 4:34.87, setting her third Israeli record in as many meets on the Mare Nostrum tour. She previously went 4:36.95 in Canet and 4:36.57 in Barcelona before wiping more than one-and-a-half seconds off the time in her win here. Gorbenko also moved to No. 5 in the world, trailing McIntosh, Kaylee McKeown, Katie Grimes and Freya Colbert. The Japanese duo of Mio Narita (4:37.48) and Shiho Matsumoto (4:41.69) came in second and third, respectively.

Japan’s Ippei Watanabe continued his strong form on the Mare Nostrum tour with a men’s 200 breast win in 2:07.82. He was again close to his tour record of 2:07.23 set in 2021. Watanabe was joined at the top of the race by countryman Yu Hanaguruma (2:08.34), with Dutch swimmers Caspar Corbeau (2:08.95) and Arno Kamminga (2:09.96) also sub-2:10.

The Netherlands’ Tes Schouten, the world champion in the women’s 200 breaststroke this year, got the win over 100 meters of her preferred stroke in 1:06.79, ahead of Japan’s Reona Aoki (1:07.48) and the United States’ Skyler Smith (1:07.52). Louise Hansson, meanwhile, clocked 57.04 to win the women’s 100 fly win in 57.04, just shy of her season-best mark of 56.94 which ranks 12th globally. The French duo of Marie Wattel (57.90) and Lilou Ressencourt (58.04) followed Hansson.

Apostolos Christou topped the 100 back in 53.34, beating South Korea’s Juho Lee (54.01) and India’s Srihari Nataraj (54.82). The women’s 200 back went to South Africa’s Hannah Pearse in 2:11.73, ahead of France’s Bertille Cousson (2:12.29) and Hungary’s Katalin Burian (2:12.63).

The 50-meter events in Monaco feature five rounds of racing, with full fields racing Saturday morning, 16 swimmers in the second round, eight in the quarterfinals, four in the semifinals and two in the final round. Quarterfinal action is now completed, with the remaining two rounds scheduled for Sunday.

Swedish sprint superstar Sarah Sjostrom led the way in two of the events. She clocked 23.91 in the 50 free, just off the Mare Nostrum record of 23.82 she set last year. Sjostrom herself is the only swimmer to go faster so far this year, having won the world title in February in 23.69, while American Kate Douglass owns a season-best of 23.91, identical to Sjostrom’s time here, for second in the rankings. Sjostrom will be joined in the 50 free semifinal by Hungary’s Petra Senanszky, Sweden’s Michelle Coleman and Belgium’s Florine Gaspard.

Sjostrom also went 25.21 to crush the field in the 50 fly by more than a second, with Hansson coming in at 26.38 and Italy’s Silvia Di Pietro and the Netherlands’ Tessa Giele also advancing. Canada’s Ingrid Wilm went 28.02 in the women’s 50 back, with Finland’s Fanny Teijonsalo, Bermuda’s Emma Harvey and Spain’s Mireia Pradell Carrasco making it through. Smith got first in the 50 breast, touching out Aoki and South Africa’s Laura Van Nierek.

For the men, 100-meter fly Olympic bronze medalist Noe Ponti clocked 23.38 to advance, ahead of the Netherlands’ Thomas Verhoeven, Portugal’s Diogo Ribeiro and Greece’s Stergios-marios Bilas. Christou was first in the 50 back (25.12) ahead of Anastasios KougkoulosKai Van Westering and Italy’s Michele Lamberti. Corbeau topped Kaminga in the 50 breast, 27.24 to 27.28, with Japan’s Taku Taniguchi and Kyrgyzstan’s Denis Petrashov in pursuit. Finally, Venezuela’s Alberto Mestre came through for the lead slot in the 50 free with a time of 21.93. followed by Dutch swimmers Kenzo Simons and Renzo Tjon a Joe plus  Hong Kong’s Ian Ho.


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1 month ago

If Gorbenko continues to improve at this rate she’ll be a contender for the minor medals in the 400m IM.
Ofcourse Haughey remains in contention for the 100m & 200m Freestyle, but we need to see what the Australian Trials times are like.
Finally, Milak is Back!
Hope he proves doubters wrong and takes the Gold at Paris!

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