Anna Kozina, FINA Media Committee (RUS)

The women’s 50 free final at the end of the evening session was the highlight of the first day of the Moscow leg of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017, that opened the first cluster of the short course annual Series.

Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) made a successful victory, breaking the world record in 23.10. Sjostrom improved the result of Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), registered in December 2015 (23,24). The previous record holder herself touched second, clocking 23,39. Cate Campbell (AUS) placed third (23,96).

What was special about the Moscow stage in general, is that the participants tried out the new rules of the competition. Olympic and world medallists received a direct access to finals, a quota limit of maximum of 25 events per leg and maximum of four individual races per swimmer/per leg was established, the medal ceremonies were held in the form of a Parade of Champions. According to FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu, the changes were introduced in order to make the tournament more exciting and dynamic for both swimmers and spectators and to attract the titled sportsmen. The swimmers met the challenge.

Katinka Hosszu (HUN) managed to win two out of three races she took part in. She comfortably won 100m back in 55.65. Emily Seebohm (AUS) and Maria Kameneva (RUS) were respectively second and third (56.60 and 57.09). Hosszu got second gold medal of the day in 100m IM in 57.02. Sjostrom and Seebohm placed second (57.10) and third (58.63).

In the 200m butterfly Franziska Hentke (GER) won the race in 2.03:43, upsetting the “Iron Lady” from Hungary (2.05:36). In the absence of Yuliya Efimova, who pulled out from the tournament due to some health problems, Alia Atkinson (JAM) touched first in 50m breaststroke (29.46). Ruta Meilutite (LTU) was second in 29.51, while Natalia Ivaneeva (RUS) was third in 29,87.

In the men’s field tree-time overall World Cup winner Chad Le Clos (RSA) had no challengers in the 100m butterfly (49.13) and 200m free (1.42:54), leaving two Russians Aleksandr Krasnykh and Mikhail Vekovishchev behind.

 

The defending winner of the overall ranking Vladimir Morozov (RUS) finished fourth in the 50m backstroke in 23.49 and clinched victory in the mixed 4x50 m medley relay with team Russia (1.39:10).

The local hero this time was Kirill Prigoda, who dominated in 200m breaststroke, clocking 2.02:16.

He swam well ahead of Ilya Shymanovich (BLR) and his teammate Anton Chupkov (2.03:71 and 2.04:08 respectively).

Quotes

Sarah Sjostrom (SWE)

“I’m very happy with my result. I was looking forward to breaking a short course WR. I was good at my sprint events in Budapest. I wanted to show some fast times at the World Cup as well. I have never done the whole World Cup. It’s a hard thing, you know. I had a good start in Moscow. We’ll see how it goes.”

Chad Le Clos (RSA)

“I’m happy to be back. It was a tough competition. I had strong rivals especially in the 100m butterfly – Adam Barrett and Tom Shields. I won two races today and will try my best tomorrow. Of course, it will be great to win the overall ranking, but Vlad Morozov is a phenomenal racer. It will be very difficult to overcome him. So to be in the top three will be also a good result.”

Kirill Prigoda (RUS)

“We had the main battle at the Worlds. Now I’m relaxed. It’s nice to swim in front of the home crowd. I feel the support of the public. As for the changes in the rules, I think, we need some variety in swimming like in every aspect of our life. The athletes can try themselves in new conditions. The new format can also interest the swimming fans.”

Alia Atkinson (JAM)

“It’s a pity Efimova didn’t compete here, in Moscow. It’s always fun to race against her. She did really well at the Worlds. Hopefully, I’ll meet her later in the World Cup.”