Siobhan Haughey back on top of the podium with 200m freestyle gold at Fina World Cup meet in Toronto
- ‘Hopefully I can just keep getting better,’ says Haughey, who was on pace to beat her own record before slowing late on
- Hong Kong’s double Olympic silver medallist will now look to defend 100m freestyle title on Sunday
Siobhan Haughey’s winning streak in the 200 metres freestyle continued on Saturday at the Fina World Cup in Toronto, despite the presence of seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky.
The Hongkonger showed her class by leading all the way – and was on pace to beat her own record until the 125-metre mark when she slowed slightly.
But she eventually topped the podium in one minute, 51.13 seconds, just 0.82 seconds off her best, while Ledecky edged a fierce battle for second place with the Australian Olympic medalist Madison Wilson.
“I’m happy the time was faster than in Berlin, hopefully I can just keep getting better,” said freestyle specialist Haughey, who won the same event in 1:51.36 in the German capital last week at the first leg of the World Cup.
The double Olympic silver medallist will now look to defend her 100m freestyle title on Sunday, before celebrating her 25th birthday on Monday.
Her toughest challenge is expected to come from four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Madison, who pushed her all the way in Berlin.
“I just try my best to see what happens,” Haughey said.
Further ahead, she will be looking to defend her 100m and 200m freestyle titles at the short course World Championships in Melbourne in December. She set Hong Kong’s first ever world record, in the 200m distance, at the same event in Abu Dhabi in 2021.
“We are pleased with Siobhan’s performance as a warm-up event for the World Championships,” Hong Kong head coach Chen Jianhong said. “She can still produce a decent time – it shows that the training results were as expected.”
Just 20 minutes before Saturday’s race, American 25-year-old Ledecky smashed the 1,500m world record by nearly 10 seconds, in a time 15:08.24, which earned her a US$10,000 bonus prize cheque.
She then came from behind to take the 200m free silver medal in 1:52.31, with Wilson settling for bronze in 1:53.49.
Stephanie Au Hoi-shun of Hong Kong, who finished 10th in her main event, the 100m backstroke, during Saturday’s heats in 58.79 seconds, will also compete in the 100m free prelims.
Lau Siu-yue advanced to the finals of the men’s 50m backstroke, finishing eighth in 24.22 seconds.
The second leg of the World Cup concludes on Sunday, with the third leg to follow in Indianapolis next weekend.