Tomoaki Tasaka, FINA Press Correspondent in Japan

The 2019 FINA Swimming World Cup 2019 kicked-off today, August 2, in Tokyo, Japan.

Still fresh from the FINA World Championships, the swimmers performed the most interesting races in Tokyo on Day 1.

In the women's 400m free, Spain's Mireia Belmonte and Australian Kiah Melverton, who fought in the 800m and 1500m free finals in Gwangju, made the top battle.
Belmonte started the first 350m really fast, however Melverton ran away with 0.10 and got the gold medal (4:06.71).

Danas Rapsys demonstrated his power in the men's 400m free and won the gold medal at stake, smashing the World Cup record in 3:45.57. Rapsys had ranked 4th in the same event at the FINA World Championships.

Rapsys said: “I am not completely satisfied but I think it was a good result.”

Three sprint events took place tonight: the women's 50m back, the women's 50m free and the men's 50m free.

Australia's Emily Seebohm took the lead from the start in the 50m back to steal the gold in 28.03.

The women's 50m free was a close race between Australia's Cate Campbell and Sweden’s Michelle Coleman, but the latter ended up beating Campbell in 24.66 and emerged victorious.

The men's 50m free race was composed of top sprinters from Japan and Russia: Vladimir Morozov claimed gold (21.56), while Japan's Shinri Shioura came second in 21.92 and Noth American Michael Andrew closed the podium touching home in 21.94.

Morozov said: “I think it was pretty good. The result was as satisfying as the FINA World Championships for me. Towards the end Shinri was approaching so I had to speed up but it was a fun race.”

The audience was captivated by the men's 200m back race because it was a race of two people: USA's Jacob Pebley (6th at the World Championships) and Australia's Mitchell Larkin. Larkin however won this time in 1:55.97 and Pebley ranked second in 1:56.37.

“It was a fantastic race. I did not know what kind of record I could put out because it was right after the World’s, however I was able to swim better than I thought. The World Cup is a competition where good swimmers from around the world gather. And there aren't many opportunities to swim with such great swimmers. Fighting with strong swimmers is a good motivation for me,” admitted Larkin.

Hungary's queen Katinka Hosszu took part in the 200m fly. Her power was overwhelming as she finished first with a time of 2:07.10.

“This was a pretty good time, because it was straight away after the conclusion of the FINA World Championships. However, I like to swim a lot of races in a row so I enjoyed it. I am very relaxed and ready to race now and I love Japan. I was looking forward to participating in this competition as it is where the Olympics will be held next year,” Hosszu said.

Andrew Seliskar (USA) emerged victorious in the 100m fly, touching home in 51.34.

Gwangju silver medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa won the 200m breast in 2:22.35, while Japan's Reona Aoki was second.

“I am very happy because I did not imagine such a good time. I moved a lot, so I was tired in the morning, but I was able to relax and swim fast. I enjoyed swimming with world class swimmers here in Tokyo,” Schoenmaker said after her victory.

In the men's 100m breast, Belarus's Ilya Shymanovich, America's Andrew Wilson and Japan's Yasuhiro Koseki performed a three-way battle. As a result, Ilya won the gold on offer and broke a World Cup record in 58.73, Koseki collected the silver in 59.01, and Wilson snatched the bronze in 59.02.

Twelve events are on the programme of tomorrow’s World Cup in Tokyo.