Russia’s Vladimir Morozov began the 2016 International Swimming Federation (FINA) Swimming World Cup season in style by breaking the men’s 100 metres individual medley world record in Paris-Chartres.
Morozov was one of the Russian athletes initially banned from competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after being mentioned in the McLaren Report, which uncovered an alleged state-sponsored doping scheme in the country.
He clocked a winning time of 50.60sec to break the previous record held by Germany’s Markus Deibler, who set 50.66 at the 2014 Short Course World Championships.
Philip Heintz, also of Germany, came second in 51.87, while Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori finished third in 51.97.
Victory for Morozov earned him his second gold medal on the opening day of the meet having earlier won the men’s 100m freestyle in 45.57.
Japan’s Shinri Shioura took silver in 47.26 with Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov third in 47.60.
Also making headlines today was Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson, who equalled her women’s 100m breaststroke world record time of 1:02.36 which she already shared with Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte.
Atkinson topped the podium ahead of the United States’ Katie Meili, second in 1:03.52, and Russia’s Yuliya Efimova, third in 1:04.14.
Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina narrowly missed out on a world record in the women’s 200m backstroke, clocking 1:59.35 for the gold medal and a new World Cup record.
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszú, the runner-up in 2:01.80, holds the world record of 1:59.23, but Zevina’s swim was still hugely impressive given that she has become just the third woman to break the two-minute mark in the event’s history.
Australia’s Emily Seebohm completed the top three with a time of 2:02.46.
Hosszú tasted victory in three events today, winning the women’s 200m freestyle in 1:53.34, the women’s 100m butterfly in 56.09, and the women’s 200m individual medley in 2:06.64.
Australia’s Leah Neale and Madeline Groves came second and third in the 200m freestyle with times of 1:54.89 and 1:55.44 respectively.
Groves also finished third in the 100m butterfly, 0.23 seconds behind runner-up Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark with a time of 56.77.
Atkinson was Hosszú’s nearest challenger in the 200m individual medley, posting 2:07.89 to hold off the challenge of Japan’s Miho Takahashi who clocked 2:08.22.
Other multiple winners today were South Africa’s Cameron Van der Burgh and compatriot Chad Le Clos.
Van der Burgh registered a time of 25.98 to win the men’s 50m breaststroke ahead of Russia’s Kirill Prigoda, second in 26.16, and Brazil’s Felipe Lima, third in 26.46.
He then triumphed in the men’s 200m breaststroke with Prigoda coming closest to matching his time of 2:05.12 with 2:05.86 and Austria’s Johannes Dietrich third in 2:07.23.
Le Clos’ wins came in the men’s 50m butterfly and the men’s 200m butterfly, thanks to times of 22.17 and 1:51.25 respectively.
Govorov had to settle for silver in the 50m butterfly with his time of 22.41 bettering that of third-placed Frenchman Jeremy Stravius by 0.37 seconds, while Heintz was the runner-up in the 200m butterfly in 1:51.84, followed by Australia’s Nic Brown in 1:54.69.
Other winners today included Australia’s Bobby Hurley in the men’s 100m backstroke in 50.51, as well as compatriot Seebohm in the women’s 50m backstroke in 26.15, and France’s Jordan Pothain in the men’s 400m freestyle in 3:40.56.
Ottesen came out on top in the women’s 50m freestyle in 23.72, while there were also triumphs for Germany’s Franziska Hentke in the women’s 800m freestyle in 8:24.66, Heintz in the men’s 400m individual medley in 4:03.51 and France in the mixed 4x50m medley relay in 1:39.46.
Action in Paris-Chartres is due to continue tomorrow.