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Peaty's WR leads charge of favourites in opening Rio swim session

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Britain‘s Adam Peaty improved his own world record in the 100-metre breaststroke Saturday as the majority of favourites had little trouble in cruising through their heats on the opening day of swimming at the Rio Olympics.

Peaty and won his heat in 57.55 seconds, shaving 35 hundredths off his own record, as the 50m and 100m breaststroke world champion produced a devastating opening display.

"I just raced today and did what I did," Peaty said on his Olympic debut. "I became an Olympian now and that‘s a good thing to have.

"We (he and coach Mel Marshell) are not going to get too complacent now, we‘ll keep striving, keep pushing the boundries and see what we get."

Current Olympic champion Cameron Van der Burgh of South Africa is expected to be Peaty‘s main challenger but took the opposite approach to his heat. He swam a leisurely 59.35 seconds to qualify for the semi-finals in seventh.

Japan‘s Daiya Seto was under world record pace for the first 150 metres of the men‘s 400m individual medley before finishing in 4:08.12 minutes but even that was not enough to be seeded first - that honour went to American Chase Kalisz who was 0.35 seconds quicker.

"I thought I was going to go three seconds slower there so I‘m pretty pumped with that time," Kalisz said. "I was just trying to control my heat and get a good lane for tonight. I didn‘t expect to be anywhere near that time ever."

In the women‘s 100m butterfly, Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, Dana Vollmer of the US and Canadian Penny Oleksiak all reached the semi-finals in breaking the 57-second barrier but refugee team star Yusra Mardini hogged the attention.

The 18-year-old Syrian, who is now resident in Berlin, was eliminated with a time of 1:09.21 but said she was relishing her Rio experience regardless.

"It was really amazing, it was an incredible feeling to compete here at the Olympics," she said.

In the men‘s 400m freestyle American Conor Dwyer topped the charts going into the final with Olympic champion Sun Yang of China in fourth while Hungarian multiple world champion Katinka Hosszu started her bid for a first Olympic medal by topping the women‘s 400m medley lists.

Hosszu threatened the world record, being more than 3 seconds ahead of schedule after 300m only to slow on the final freestyle leg. She finished 15 hundredths above Ye Shiwen‘s 4:28.43 mark from London 2012 but did improve her own European record set earlier this year.

While Ye narrowly held onto her world record, she will not retain her Olympic title having finished well down the field.

And in the final races of the first session, the Campbell sisters Cate and Bronte led massive favourites Australia into the final of the 4x100m freestyle relay as top seeds after setting an Olympic record of 3:32.39.

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