Swimmers from six different countries shared the first eight gold medals as the 2019 World Para Swimming World Series begun in Melbourne today.
All events were swum as multi-class races, meaning athletes from all classifications competed together.
The swimmer recording a time closest to their class world record was crowned the winner.
Australia, with a proud swimming heritage and hosting the event for the first time, did not have everything their own way, despite picking up a win in the evening’s opening final at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Three-time Paralympic gold medallist Brenden Hall led home 17-year-old French challenger Ugo Didier in the men’s 400 metres freestyle, winning in 4min 22.88sec.
"I loved being able to have some international competition in our own backyard to start the year off," Hall said.
"So it’s fantastic that Melbourne has been able to host the beginning of the Series.
"I was surprised to get the win and I know that as I start to feel better, as the weeks go on with extra fine-tuning, I’ll be ready for trials in six weeks' time.
"It’s always great to get some race practice in so I know what’s needed to get there."
Australia’s Logan Powell finished third to set high hopes for the home crowd, but they were dashed as swimmers from France, Hong Kong, Japan and Kazakhstan all stood on top of the podium before the hosts clinched their second win of the evening through Tiffany Thomas Kane in the women’s 50m breaststroke.
Recording a time of 43.59sec, the 17-year-old Thomas Kane beat compatriots Ashley Van Rijswijk and Madeleine Scott, the silver and bronze medallists respectively.
Australia’s neighbours New Zealand finished the night on a high with Leslie Cameron and superstar Paralympian Sophie Pascoe each taking gold in their respective 100m freestyle events.
Cameron prevailed in 1:24.17 with Australia's Liam Schluter the silver medallist and France's David Smétanine taking bronze.
Pascoe, a nine-time Paralympic gold medallist, triumphed in 1:01.17 with Australia’s Ellie Cole second and France’s Anaelle Roulet third.
Experience told in the women’s 400m freestyle, as 50-year-old Claire Supiot, who has represented France at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, came home in first place in 5:01.61.
She finished ahead of two athletes whose combined age is 16 years younger than hers.
Australia’s Lakeisha Patterson and her 14-year-old compatriot Jasmine Greenwood fought out a thrilling battle for second.
In the end, they could not be separated and were awarded joint second place under the multi-class point score system.
Japan’s Keichi Nakajima sped to victory in the men’s 100m butterfly in 58.07, finishing ahead of Australian pair Timothy Hodge and Schluter, while the women’s event over the same distance was won by Hong Kong’s Chan Yui Lam with Australia’s Scott and Taylor Corry completing the top three.
A powerful performance from Kazakhstan’s Akhmetov Anuar saw him clock 31.61 in winning the men’s 50m breastroke as Australia's Ahmed Kelly and Matthew Ward rounded out the podium in that order.
Action in Melbourne is due to continue tomorrow.