Sun Yang (CHN) celebrates after winning his men's 200m freestyle semifinal during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Aquatics Centre.
Courtesy of: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
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BARCELONA, Spain, July 28. THIS week, China's Sun Yang could be looking to match Grant Hackett's 2005 performance of the 400-800-1500 freestyle sweep, but he's going to have to shake off some controversy at home during his time at the FINA World Championships.

Sun has been dogged by issues with the Chinese swimming federation as well as his coaching staff throughout his post-Olympic celebratory year. Not only has his support system been unhappy with Sun's relationship with a flight attendant, but he also had a bit of a row a month ago when China tried to sandbag his competition saying Sun would only participate in two individual events this week. Sun later corrected the record via social media.


Sun certainly did what he needed to do this morning with an easy speed 3:44.67 to capture the top seed heading into this evening. He definitely has more speed left tonight, already owning the top time in the world this year with a 3:42.96 from Chinese Nationals in Zhengzhou.

Canada's Ryan Cochrane will give chase tonight after posting a 3:45.74 to move to fourth in the world rankings behind Sun, David McKeon (3:43.71) and Kosuke Hagino (3:45.42). Cochrane is looking for some redemption after taking silver behind Sun in 2011 in the 1500 free. Australia's Jordan Harrison, part of a wave of youngsters in the finale, placed third overall in 3:46.85. He's already been a sterling 3:45.85 at Australian Nationals this year, and could push the pack early on.

Hagino (3:46.92), South Africa's Devon Myles Brown (3:47.17), China's Hao Yun (3:47.49), USA's Connor Jaeger (3:47.83) and Great Britain's James Guy (3:47.86) also made the finale in what could be a special heat this evening.

The 400 free certainly lost a bit of luster this year, however, with South Korea's Tae Hwan Park taking the year off. Park had won two of the previous three world titles in the event with wins in 2007 and 2011, beating Sun head-to-head in 2011 before Sun went on to have a monster Olympic outing with world records and gold medals in abundance.



Results: FINA World Championships: Men's 400 Free Prelims

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