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ROME, Italy, July 26. BehindTheBlocks.com's Priyant Pratap is providing on the spot thoughts at the FINA World Championships of each session. Here is his day two prelims analysis.
Gemma Spofforth began the morning session with a blistering swim, to prove her 100 back from the medley relay in Beijing Commonwealth Record was not a fluke. She led the heats with 58.78 – just 0.01s outside the WR (Kirsty Coventry's 58.77 from the semi-finals in Beijing last year). Anastasia Zueva was 2nd in 59.01 while Coventry was next in 59.51. Seven women qualified under the minute barrier.
Michael Phelps began his individual campaign in the 200 Free leading the men in 2nd position to Paul Biedermann, last night's 400 free champ, with Phelps swimming 1:45.60 to Biedermann's 1:45.30. Danila Izotov, the Russian wunderkind from Beijing, and Jean Basson were the other two top seeds going under 1:46.
Rebecca Soni took Leisel Jones' World Championship record with her, as she again dipped under the 1:06 barrier with a 1:05.66 taking her to the final as the top seed. Yuliya Efimova was 2nd in 1:06.42, while Beijing bronze medalist in this event Mirna Jukic clocked 1:06.58.
Aschwin Wildeboer stunned with a barrier breaking 52.93 while Japanese superstar Ryosuke Irie cleared 53.00 ahead of Liam Tancock in 53.08 to enter tonight as the top 3 seeds. Australia entered only one swimmer into this event, as Hayden Stoeckel pulled out due to an injury.
All the top contenders made it safely through to the 1500m free final for women with Lotte Friis leading them through in 15:58.23 slightly ahead of breakthrough swimmer Kristel Kobrich Schimpl of Chile in 15:58.75. On the comeback trail, Camelia Potec also qualified, along with Alessia Filippi, Chloe Sutton, Wendy Trott, Erika Villaecija and 5km Open Water World Champion, Melissa Gorman.