Budapest - Katinka Hosszu said defending her women's 200m individual medley title in front of her home crowd at the world aquatics championships on Monday was an "unforgettable experience".
Hosszu clocked 2min 07.00sec to retain the gold medal with Japan's Yui Ohashi in silver at 0.91sec and Madisyn Cox of the United States earning bronze, 2.71sec behind.
The 28-year-old Hosszu is the first woman to win three gold medals in the event at world championships, following her successes at Barcelona in 2013 and Kazan two years later.
Hosszu was well short of her world record of 2:06.12, set in Kazan two years ago, but is the favourite to also defend her 400m IM world title on Sunday.
She was roared on to her third straight 200m IM world crown by the passionate crowd in Budapest.
"It was really amazing how everyone was supporting me in red, white and green, when I got out of the pool, I couldn't believe it," Hosszu said.
Fireworks were set off next to the podium as she collected the sixth world title of her career.
The crowd sang along with the Hungarian national anthem 'Himnusz' as Hosszu struggled to keep her emotions in check.
"Thank you for the experience, it was unforgettable -- I almost cried," admitted Hungary's "Iron Lady".