Aimee Berg, FINA Press Correspondent

(SINGAPORE) - One day before swimmers take their marks in the 50m pool in Singapore to begin the third leg of the 2019 Swimming World Cup, Vladimir Morozov was at a mall next to the OCBC Aquatic Centre eyeballing the silver trophy given to the overall series champion at the end of the seven-city tour.

It was not, however, the first time the Russian had seen the cup.  Morozov was the men’s overall champion in 2018.

“It looks good,” he said of the 2019 version, “but I didn’t want to touch it. Not yet.”
Moments later, Morozov was joined by Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who recently captured world championship titles in the 200m and 400m individual medleys, and Quah Ting Wen, the first Singaporean woman to swim the 50m freestyle in less than 25 seconds and the 100m free in less than 55.

The trio had gathered at the Kallang Wave Mall for the opening press conference, where they represented the 143 swimmers from 24 countries taking part in this week's three-day event.

“We’ve been on the road for six, seven weeks now, so this is like the last hurrah,” Hosszu said, referring to the long upcoming break between the Singapore stop and the fourth leg of the World Cup, which will be held in Kosszu’s home city of Budapest, on October 4.
“We happy to race here, then go home,” Hosszu said. “I think everyone is shape.”

Katinka Hosszu (HUN) will swim six events in Singapore. ©Aimee Berg

For Quah, who is already at home in Singapore, the next few days will offer a chance to further lower her personal best times – marks that had been three years in the making.

“It’s going to be nice to feel fast again, but I want to go faster,” Quah said, explaining that, compared to the rest of the world, sub-25 and sub-55 “are just okay times. It’s always about trying to get better.”

Quah Ting Wen (SGP) plans to contest three individual events ©Aimee Berg

Morozov, meanwhile, leads the men's overall points race just ahead of Andrew Wilson of the U.S. but, he said, “I think Michael Andrew has the most potential.”

Both Andrews will also be competing in Singapore – as will the host nation’s most recognized swimmer: Joseph Schooling, who rose to stardom by winning Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games by beating Michael Phelps in the 100m butterfly. His lone event this week will be the 200m individual medley, on Friday, August 16.

Vladimir Morozov (RUS) to swim three events ©Aimee Berg

Preliminaries will be at 9:30 local time, followed by finals each evening at 18:30.  The first 10 events will be Thursday, August 15, followed by 12 each on Friday and Saturday.