Women's rankings leader Kaylee McKeown won the women's 50 metres backstroke in a World Cup record in Athens ©Getty Images

Australian Kaylee McKeown and China’s Qin Haiyang lead the World Aquatics Swimming World Cup rankings following the second leg of the season, held at Athens in Greece.

Three days of racing took place at the Olympic Aquatic Centre in Athens, the venue for water polo at the 2004 Summer Olympics, with McKeown and Haiyang both enjoying multiple wins throughout the event.

The highlight of day one saw McKeown triumph in the women’s 50 metres backstroke in a World Cup record time of 27.02 seconds.

McKeown’s time was just 0.04 seconds off the world record time currently held by China’s Liu Xiang of 26.98.

Other opening day winners on the women’s side included Zhang Yufei of China, double Tokyo 2020 gold medallist, in the 200m butterfly in 2min 06.73sec, while Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom took the 50m freestyle crown in 24.10.

On the men’s side the star performer on day one was Haiyang of China who took the 100m breaststroke title in 58.44, the third fastest time of the year.

Qin Hiayang, who set the year's third fastest time in the 100m breaststroke is the men's rankings leader after Athens ©Getty Images
Qin Hiayang, who set the year's third fastest time in the 100m breaststroke is the men's rankings leader after Athens ©Getty Images

The men’s 100m butterfly was a particularly tight race, with just 0.010 separating the top three.

Victory went to South Africa’s Matthew Sates in 51.82, with a tie for second place between Michael Andrew of the US and Cody Simpson of Australia in 51.92.

On day two McKeown continued to impress swimming a World Cup record of 57.63 on her way to winning the women’s 100m backstroke.

Earlier this year McKeown won the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke races at the World Championships in Fukuoka and looks to be continuing her dominance in the latter part of the season.

Sjostrom was also a winner on day two lowering her own World Cup record as she broke the 25 second barrier in winning the women’s 50m butterfly in 24.97.

Sates enjoyed a 200m golden double, winning the men’s 200m individual medley in 1:58.86 and the 200m butterfly in 1:55.44.

Elsewhere on the men’s side Haiyang won the men’s 50m breaststroke in 26.52, defeating world record holder Adam Peaty of Britain in 26.89.

There was also a World Cup record for Henrik Christiansen of Norway, who was a convincing winner of the men’s 800m freestyle in 7:51.92, as he won by seven seconds from Dimitrios Markos of Greece.

On the final day Kaito Tabuchi of Japan won the men’s 400m individual medley in 4:13.30, with Sates forced to settle for second place.

In the women’s 100m freestyle, victory went to Hong Kong’s Bernadette Haughey in 52.55, as the double Tokyo 2020 silver medallist got the better of Sjostrom, who took silver in Athens.

There was more gold on the final day for Haiyang in the men’s 200m breaststroke who won in 2:08.05, with his compatriot Zhihao Dong taking silver in 2:09.18.

McKeown leads the women’s individual rankings with a total of 117.7 points, with Haiyang in front in the men’s individual standings on 116.7 points.

All three Swimming World Cup rounds are taking place this month, with the final leg due to be held at Budapest in Hungary from October 20 to 22.