Sarah Sjöström made an emphatic start to the defence of her FINA Swimming World Cup crown in Russia over the weekend.
Sjöström set three new World Cup records on her way to five victories at Kazan's Aquatics Palace, which hosted the first of eight legs in the 2018 series.
The Swedish swimmer set new competition bests in the 50m freestyle (23.83), 50m butterfly (25.39) and 100m butterfly (57.42). Her two other wins came in the 100m and 200m free.
Her performances earned her 60 points to give her a commanding early lead over Russia's Yuliya Efimova and Hungary's Katinka Hosszu.
Hosszu, who won the World Cup for five years in a row between 2012 and 2016, claimed five event wins in the 400m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 200m butterfly, 200m IM and 400m IM. Efimova took gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.
Chad le Clos is the defending men's World Cup champion, and he picked up a win in the 200m butterfly.
However it was Russia's Vladimir Morozov who set the pace after the first round, winning the 50m and 100m freestyle, and 50m backstroke. His two 50m swims were both World Cup records, 21.49 in the free and 24.43 in the back.
Morozov, the runner-up behind le Clos last year, currently tops the standings with 54 points from fellow Russian Anton Chupkov, who won the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Chupkov's 200m winning time was a new World Cup record of 2:07.59.
Russia claimed another couple of wins through Iaroslav Potapov in the 400m and 1500m freestyle. Other countries with gold medallists were:
- Brazil - Felipe Lima (men's 50m breaststroke)
- China - Chanzhen Zhou (women's 800m freestyle)
- Netherlands - Kira Toussaint (women’s 50m and 100m backstroke)
- USA - Blake Pieronimen (200m freestyle); Michael Andrew (men’s 100m butterfly)
The second leg of the 2018 FINA Swimming World Cup will be held in Doha later this week, from Thursday to Saturday. Like in Kazan, it will be held in a 50m pool. After that, the World Cup heads to 25m pools in Eindhoven, Budapest, Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore.
2018 FINA World Cup Women's Standings
1. Sarah Sjöström (Sweden) 60pts
2. Yuliya Efimova (Russia) 42pts
=3. Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) 36pts
=3. Kira Toussaint (Netherlands) 36pts
2018 FINA World Cup Men's Standings
1. Vladimir Morozov (Russia) 54pts
2. Anton Chupkov (Russia) 48pts
3. Michael Andrew (USA) 42pts
2018 FINA Swimming World Cup Schedule
1. Kazan (RUS) – September 7-9
2. Doha (QAT) – September 13-15
3. Eindhoven (NED) – September 28-30
4. Budapest (HUN) – October 4-6
5. Beijing (CHN) – November 2-4
6. Tokyo (JPN) – November 9-11
7. Singapore (SGP) – November 15-17