Tomoaki Tasaka, FINA Press Correspondent (JPN)

During these three days in Tokyo (JPN), Russian Vladimir Morozov played an important role and showed his charismatic presence. The swimming ace marked a tie short-course World new Record in the 100m IM and two World Cup Records in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Morozov maintained his good performance in the last competition in Tokyo and got the gold at stake in the 50m butterfly, racing against Japanese Takeshi Kawamoto, Dylan Carter of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and American Michael Andrew. The four gold medals that he claimed in Tokyo made him perfectly stable for the overall leader.

"I could clock my best time in almost all the races. Four gold medals made this Tokyo leg the best for me, so this was pretty exciting. I am going to get even faster in all events in Singapore," Morozov said.

Meanwhile, women’s ranking situation was a bit more heated. By the end of Day 2, the Hungarian Iron Lady, Katinka Hosszu, took three golds, then she got another gold by winning in the 200m IM in 2:04.65, overwhelming Yui Ohashi of Japan, giving her, her fourth gold in Tokyo.

The result of the women's 100m butterfly was a bit of a surprising one ad 18-year-old Rikako Ikee of Japan defeated Sarah Sjostrom. She touched home in 55.31, establishing a new Japanese National Record.

Ikee herself was amazed:

“I never thought I would win and I am very happy about breaking my best record. I could show my good performance to the home crowds.”

The women’s 100m freestyle was a very close race between the Dutch Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Pernille Blume of Denamark and the queen Sjostrom. Kromowidjojo eventually won, her second title in Tokyo.

"The 100m freestyle was so tough but I am really happy with these two titles including the 50m freestyle. I hope to improve myself more and swim faster in Singapore to grab more golds," Ranomi said.

Sjostrom’s results of the last day in Tokyo made her a little bit disappointed but kept encouraging herself for the next leg.

“Although I think it is difficult to keep the level high in participating in a lot of legs, I have other opportunities to go good races,” Sarah said.

The above-mentioned race resulted in a narrow margin of Sjostrom about the overall ranking. In this leg in Tokyo Sjostrom was in better shape than in Beijing, so she would be raising her pitch to the seventh leg in Singapore.

The heated battle for the overall ranking leader is being notable even in the last leg of Cluster 3 in Singapore.

Another exciting moment was the men’s 100m backstroke: Jiayu Xu of China established a new World Record in 48.88. With this result, Xu swept all the backstroke events of the Tokyo leg.

“I always have a high goal, but to be honest I did not expect to break the World Record at this leg. I was glad with the results beyond my expectation. I think that it was a good step toward the FINA World Swimming Championship (25m) in December,” Xu said.

Jamaican Alia Atkinson touch home first in the 50m women's breaststroke, defeating Russian rival Yuliya Efimova by 0.61. Alia won in (28.95).

“Pretty good results. Hopefully I would like to swim faster in the seventh and final leg. My performance was getting better, so that leads to the next leg”, Atkinson said.

The world’s most famous breaststrokers gathered in the men's 200m breaststroke: 2015 World champion Marco Koch(GER), 2017 World champion Anton Chupkov (RUS), World Record holder Ippei Watanabe (JPN) and Kirill Prigoda (RUS) were taking part in this high-profile race but it was the latter who won the fierce battle. Prigoda took the lead from the first 50m split, and grabbed his second gold medal, after the 100m.

“I wish I could have swam faster but it was a good race. Now I can concentrate on the FINA World Championship in December. For the moment, I am going to take a bit of a rest and calm, to try my best later,” Prigoda said.

For the men's 200m freestyle, Rio 2016 champion Kyle Chalmers (AUS) controlled the 100m free race taking advantage of the good speed and won his first title in Tokyo in 1:41.83. He also won the last mixed 4x50m relay together with the rest of the Australian team.

“Tonight was a great night, with two gold medals. It made me so happy! Coming to Japan for racing and familiarizing with the venue and the vibe of the upcoming Olympic Games is a lucky thing to be able to do,” Chalmers said.

The winner of the men’s 400m IM was Hagino Kosuke of Japan in 4:01.93, also Rio 2016 champion.

Although the women’s 800m freestyle race was a very narrow one, Japanese Mayuko Goto defeated Hungarian Boglarka Kapas and earned gold in 8:19.74.

The mixed Australia team (Minna Atherton, Matthew Wilson, Emily Seebohm and Kyle Chalmers) won the relay with an excellent performance in 1:39.74, after finishing second the day before in the 4x50m IM relay.

After a little break, the World’s top swimmers who made the audience excited will move to the seventh and final leg in Singapore from November 15-17.