The world's best swimming sprinters gathered at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday for the inaugural Prudential Singapore Swim Stars, and it was Nathan Adrian's star which shone the brightest.
The American, who is the reigning Olympic 100m freestyle champion, was simply irrepressible at the nine-event meet, and finished with two wins, in the 100m and 50m free.
Said Adrian, who won the blue-riband 50m race with a time of 21.72sec, 0.04 ahead of Australian Josh Schneider: "I was a little surprised. It's my fourth (race of the meet), and I was pretty tired.
"But it was an energising win, especially after a lacklustre performance (at the recent Pan-Pacific Championships). It gives me a bit of energy, and I think I can go faster next year."
Australian Melanie Schlanger was the night's other big winner, also bagging both the women's 100m and 50m free titles.
Said Schlanger: "I wasn't expecting this. I thought I'd be competitive, but I haven't swam in this format before. It's tough, interesting, but I like it. We should have more of these events in swimming."
While all eyes were trained on the action in the pool, audiences expecting a run-of-the-mill swim meet were pleasantly surprised.
Event organisers Sport Swim Organisation served up a dazzling show, as the 2,500-strong crowd at the 3,000-seat venue were kept buzzing throughout by light shows, a drum crew, synchronised swimming performances and pop music reverberating non-stop throughout the arena.
Fun was also the buzzword among the swimmers, with many agreeing such an event should happen on a more regular basis.
Said Adrian: "That was a blast, that had to be some of the most fun I had at a swim meet since I was a kid."
Lithuanian world record holder (50m and 100m breaststroke) Ruta Meilutyte, who won the women's 100m breaststroke last night, agreed and said: "Everyone's relaxed, we're all having a good time, and I'll definitely come back (next year)."
The 17-year-old added she might be racing here again in the Singapore leg of the Fina Swimming World Cup in November.
The Singapore Swim Stars, a three-day swimming festival, continues today with the swimmers conducting clinics at 10 different locations.
They will then team up with selected students for a relay swim-off at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
It concludes with an open water challenge tomorrow at Changi Coast Walk.