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LONDON, England, July 29. A day after clinching the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the Chinese men with a 400 free victory, Sun Yang returned with the top seed in the men's 200 free this morning at the 2012 London Olympics.
Sun edged Ryan Lochte at the wall in heat five of six, 1:46.24 to 1:46.45, and will be looking to double his unprecedented gold medal haul with a second victory.
“I think I swam a normal race,” Sun said. “I was aiming to finish first or second in the heats to qualify for the semifinal. I'll try to do my best, but the 200m freestyle is not my best event, it's more difficult for me compared to the 400m or the 1500m.”
Lochte, the 400 IM victory, will also be looking to defended another Michael Phelps gold medal. Lochte kept the 400 IM gold medal in U.S. hands last night, and will look to do the same in this event. The men's 200 free is one of the few events in which the U.S. does not own the record for most gold medals. Only three Americans have won the event (Mark Spitz, Bruce Furniss, Phelps).
“There is some talk about [being on the relay] but at the end of the day it is the coach's decision and they are going to put the best four guys they think are right,” Lochte said. “I just have to wait and see if they put me on or not. I did not get to bed until 2am. I am really tired. But it was a prelim swim so I am not too worried.”
The press also asked Lochte about Ye Shiwen nearly swimming faster than him on the freestyle legs last night in her women's 400 IM world record swim.
“Yeah, we were talking about that at dinner,” Lochte said. “It is pretty impressive. She's fast. If she was there with me, she might have beat me.”
Early favorite Yannick Agnel of France, topped the final heat with a 1:46.60, while Russia's Danila Izotov posted a 1:46.61 in heat four. France has never medaled in this event, while Russia has won two gold medals as part of the Soviet Union and United Teams.
Defending silver medalist Tae Hwan Park (1:46.79), Great Britain's Robbie Renwick (1:46.86), Australia's Kenrick Monk (1:46.94) and USA's Ricky Berens (1:47.07) picked up the rest of the top eight spots.
“What happened yesterday is in the past,” Park said of his overturned disqualification in the 400 free. “I'm trying to forget what happened, I still have thoughts about the past, but I need to think about the present. Nobody likes to lose, I'd like to win the 200m. It was a blessing to compete against world class athletes on a stage as big as the Olympics, I'm just going to take one race at a time.”
Hungary's Dominik Kozma (1:47.18), world-record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany (1:47.27), The Netherlands' Sebastiaan Verschuren (1:47.31), France's Gregory Mallet (1:47.39), Australia's Thomas Fraser-Holmes (1:47.50), Cayman Islands' Brett Fraser (1:47.74), Russia's Artem Lobuzov (1:47.91) and Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry (1:47.97) all made the semifinal rounds.
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