Anna Kozina, FINA Media Committee Chair

A total of eight World Cup records were set during the first leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup taking place in Kazan (RUS) on September 7-9. In the final day of the competition, the record holders were Anton Chupkov (RUS), Andrii Govorov (UKR) and Sarah Sjostrom (SWE). 

Actually, in the women’s 100m butterfly, Sjostrom first equalled the time of Rikako Ikee (JPN), who beat the World Cup long course record in Tokyo in 2015, in the preliminaries (57.56). Then, in the evening session, Sarah took gold, clocking 57.42. Kimberly Buys (BEL) finished second in 58.33 while Alexandra Sasha Touretski (SUI) completed the podium in 59.17. 

On her results, Sjostrom commented: “Five golds - I’m very happy. I was racing at the European Championships three weeks ago and I’ve been training by myself since then. I’m glad I could still swim some decent times. As for the World Cup records, we had long course meets only in 2015. People haven’t been swimming in long course. So the records were not too fast compared with my best times. I was expecting a few WCup records anyway”.

Sarah Sjostrom (SWE)

Among men, the current record holder in the 50m butterfly, Andrii Govorov from Ukraine, confessed that he always seeks to improve his 22.27 dash he made in Rome in July 2018. In Kazan, he claimed gold, touching in 22.87, followed by Michael Andrew (USA, 23.19) and Vladimir Morozov (RUS, 23.38). 

“Not a bad result. I had a training camp without my coach, so it was difficult to make myself work hard. But I think you shouldn't be afraid to compete in any conditions. It's better to race and to gain experience and use it in future. I would give 7 out of 10 points for my performance in Kazan. I'm satisfied with the bronze in the 50m free and gold in the 50m fly, which is my best distance. Of course, I could swim faster. I will try to improve in Doha”, Govorov said after the race.

Anton Chupkov, who won the 100m breaststroke on Day 1, topped the all-Russian podium in the 200m breast. Anton had a comfortable advantage, touching first in 2:07.59 and leaving the other medallists well behind. Kirill Prigoda placed second in 2:09.75 and Mikhail Dorinov took bronze in 2:09.86. 

“It’s the first time in my career I won gold at the World Cup series. I took part in some short course stages, but didn’t succeed. Here in Kazan, I got two gold medals and I’m satisfied with my times as well. Now I’m going to Doha, which is also a long course meet. I will take part in short course legs too. Unfortunately, starts and turns are my weak points. I want to improve these two essential parts of the race”, Chupkov considered.

The persistent multi-medallist Katinka Hosszu concluded the first leg with 10 podiums, including five gold. On the final day, the Hungarian had no competitors in the 200m IM (2:12.71) and 200m back (2:10.13). Hosszu also claimed silver in the 800m freestyle in 8:46.48, well behind Chanzhen Zhou (CHN), who clocked 8:35.03. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) came third in 8:59.53.

In the end, Sjostrom and Chupkov were named the best performers of the meet according to FINA points. Sarah got 979 points for her 23.83 finish in the 50m free. Anton overcame his teammate Vladimir Morozov and got 978 points for his 200m breast swim (2:07.59).

Best performers in Kazan:

MEN

1.CHUPKOV Anton (RUS) 978 points, 2:07.59, 200m breast
2. MOROZOV Vladimir (RUS) 952 points, 24.43, 50m back
3. ANDREW Michael (USA) 945 points, 24.49, 50m back

WOMEN

1. SJOSTROM Sarah (SWE) 979 points, 23.83, 50m free
2. EFIMOVA Yulia (RUS) 919 points, 1:05.94, 100m breast
3. TOUSSAINT Kira (NED) 917 points, 59.80, 100m back

Rankings after leg 1 (Kazan, RUS)

MEN

1. MOROZOV Vladimir (RUS) 54 pts
2. CHUPKOV Anton (RUS) 48
3. ANDREW Michael (USA) 42
4. LARKIN Mitchell (AUS) 36
5. LE CLOS Chad (RSA) 30
6. VERRAZSTO David (HUN) 27
7. POTAPOV Iaroslav (RUS) 24
8. LIMA Felipe (BRA) 21
8. PIERONI Blake (USA) 21

WOMEN

1. SJOSTROM Sarah (SWE) 60 pts
2. EFIMOVA Yulia (RUS) 42
3. HOSSZU Katinka (HUN) 36
3. TOUSSAINT Kira (NED) 36
5. JAKABOS Zsuzsanna (HUN) 27
6. HEEMSKERK Femke (NED) 24
6. KROMOWIDJOJO Ranomi (NED) 24
8. SIMONOVA Vitalina (RUS) 21