Katinka Hosszú has criticised changes to the FINA World Cup ©Getty Images

Changes to the International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Cup, which limit competitors to four individual events per meet, have been criticised by Hungarian star Katinka Hosszú.

The sport's governing body claims the changes have been made to "attract more stars and improve the exposure and visibility" of the competition. 

Alterations include Olympic and World Championship medallists having direct access to finals and a maximum of 25 events per leg.

FINA also claim there will be increased financial rewards for each race with swimmers competing for prize money of $3,900 (£3,000/€3,500) per race.

The overall amount of prize money available could rise to $2 million (£1.5 million/€1.8 million).

It is the change that allows swimmers to only enter a maximum of four individual races per leg, though, that has angered Hosszú the most.

The triple Olympic champion has dominated the World Cup in recent years, finishing top of the women's standings in the last five editions after entering into almost every discipline.

In a post on Twitter, Hosszú said the move was "ridiculous" and that "swimming is going backwards". 

Athletes will, however, be able to enter relay events on top of their individual races.

For winning last year's women's and men's overall World Cup titles respectively, Hosszú and Russia's Vladimir Morozov received $100,000 (£78,000/€89,000) in prize money.

When asked about the changes in an interview with ZRT ATV, FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu claimed the new rules will "stimulate the participation of the best athletes".

He also said the changes would be reviewed after one year and declared it was FINA's Technical Committee that were responsible for the move and that FINA vice-president Tamás Gyárfás was not involved.

Gyárfás resigned as President of the Hungarian Swimming Federation in November following criticism from the country's top stars after 23 years in the post, with a catalogue of problems alleged by swimmers.

Hosszú claimed her relationship with Gyárfás had been adversarial ever since he supposedly urged her to "stop swimming and retire" in 2008.

Other changes to the World Cup include enhanced sport presentation and television production at every event, additional promotional activities on-site involving athletes and medal ceremonies will be held at the end of each day.

"Our goal is always to organise great events with the presence of our stars," said FINA President Julio Maglione.

"Giving them additional recognition and visibility will certainly foster their participation and involvement with the FINA World Cup.

"The continuous support of prestigious cities, with emblematic venues, is also a guarantee of success for this fundamental competition in our calendar."

Held between August and November, this year’s competition will comprise of nine legs split into three clusters.

Action begins events in Moscow between August 2 and 3 before moving to German capital Berlin from August 6 to 7.

The Dutch city of Eindhoven brings cluster one to a close between August 11 and 12.

September and October will feature the second cluster with events planned in Doha, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Action will take place in Doha on September 22 and 23, Dubai from September 26 to 27 and Hong Kong on September 30 and October 1.

The World Cup will then come to a close in November with the third group of events.

They will take place in Beijing from November 10 to 11, Tokyo on November 14 and 15 and Singapore between November 18 and 19.