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LONDON, England, July 29. CHINA's Sun Yang, already the winner in the men's 400 free and the first man from his country to win Olympic gold, is well on his way to being the first to win two after leading the men's 200-meter freestyle semifinals at the 2012 London Olympics.
Sun posted a 1:45.61 to beat France's Yannick Agnel (1:45.84) to the wall in the second semifinal as the duo both eclipsed 1:46 to make the finale. Agnel, meanwhile, is attempting to be the first man from France to medal, much less win, the men's 200-meter freestyle in Olympic competition.
Defending silver medalist Tae Hwan Park of South Korea qualified third in 1:46.02. He will be looking to join Ian Thorpe as the only man to move from silver to gold the following Olympiad. Thorpe did so with a 2004 victory over Pieter van den Hoogenband after taking second to him in 2000.
“I swam better than this morning so expect to do better in the final,” Park said. “The last 50m I didn't push all I could because it is a semi and not a final. I didn't have to win just to qualify. I saw Sun Yang watching me and it made me feel proud to compete with such a rival. My goal is to break my personal best whatever colour is the medal. I want to build my confidence and show I am confident and strong. I expect to swim faster in the final. This is not my main event If I can get a bronze I will be happy.”
World record holder Paul Biedermann qualified fourth for the 200 free final with a 1:46.10 after missing out on yesterday's 400 free final. Ryan Lochte, likely saving up for anchor duty in the men's 400 free relay later in the evening, cruised to fifth in 1:46.31. Russia's Danila Izotov (1:46.65), Great Britain's Robbie Renwick (1:46.65) and Australia's Thomas Fraser-Holmes (1:46.80) all earned spots in the finale.
“I needed this race after going out in the 400m prelims,” Biedermann said. “I knew it was going to be hard because the 400m was a big shock in my mind, but I wanted to use it a good way. This race has given me more confidence and now I just want to make it and use the experience of the 400m as a positive going into the final.”
Ricky Berens of the U.S. finished just outside of advancing to finals with a ninth-place 1:46.87.
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