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Siobhan Haughey is the Queen of 200m freestyle of the World Cup after dominating all three legs in Berlin, Toronto and Indianapolis. Photo: Fina

Fina World Cup: Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey claims golden hat-trick with 200m freestyle triumph in US

  • The 25-year-old completes ‘triple crown’ in Indianapolis after wins in Berlin and Toronto
  • Haughey’s coach says ‘Siobhan is back’ while swimmer targets more gold in 100m

Siobhan Haughey won the women’s 200m freestyle at the Fina World Cup in the US on Saturday, completing her hat-trick and capturing the “triple crown” for the first time.

After a disappointing fourth-place finish in the 50m free the day before, the 25-year-old Haughey led all the way in her favourite event, and not even seven-time Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky could catch her.

The Hong Kong sensation was under her own world-record pace before halfway in Indianapolis, and maintained her lead before touching the wall in 1 minute 51.19 seconds, 0.88 second off her own best.

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey finally runs out of steam at Fina World Cup in US

Home hero Ledecky meanwhile recovered from a slow start to finish second in 1:52.10, with Australian Madison Wilson third in 1:52.23. The 17-year-old American Bella Sims finished fourth in a new world junior record time of 1:52.63.

“It was a very exciting race today,” Haughey said. “I was just trying to focus on my race, I saw the crowd yesterday and today and I really want one too [a triple crown], so I just tried my best to get my hand on the wall first.”

Haughey’s third consecutive win over the distance at World Cup meets, following victories in Berlin and Toronto, earned her a triple crown and an additional US$10,000 in prize money to go with the US$12,000 for winning.

A poolside slip during a training session in Dubai in May cost the Hongkonger 10 months away from international competition, but she has made a strong return, and could do better yet with the 100m free race still to come.

She will face a strong challenge to her bid for a third win in that discipline, with Beryl Gastaldello of France and veteran swimmer Katarzyna Wasick of Poland, the 50m free “triple crown” winner, also taking part.

Siobhan Haughey is all smiles after winning the women’s 100m freestyle at the Fina Swimming World Cup meet in Toronto. Photo: AP

Still, head coach Chen Jianhong said Haughey’s performances signalled to the world that “Siobhan is back”.

“The goal of the World Cup competition was accomplished,” he said. “It was difficult for the athlete to go without international competition for a long time, especially with her injury, and after half a year of hard work, we can say Siobhan is back.”

Elsewhere in Indianapolis, Stephanie Au Hoi-shun finished 11th overall in the women’s 100m backstroke in 59.08 seconds, slower than her preliminary time of 58.79 in Toronto.

In the men’s events, Adam Mak Sai-ting, the World Junior Championships bronze medallist, clocked 28.26 seconds in the prelims and Adam Chillingworth 28.48 seconds, finishing 21st and 23rd overall in the men’s 50m breaststroke.

On Saturday, the pair will compete in their main event, the 200m breaststroke, alongside Benson Wong, with Mak, 16, holding both the senior and junior Hong Kong records, which he set in Toronto last week.

Three Hong Kong swimmers, Ng Cheuk-yin, Hayden Kwan and Lau Shiu-yue, will try to set a city record in the men’s 100m backstroke, while Ng will also compete in the 50m butterfly alongside Ian Ho Yentou.