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LONDON, England, August 1. USA's Tyler Clary posted the fastest Olympic swim in textile in the men's 200-meter back semis at the 2012 London Olympics.
Clary, who is looking for his first Olympic medal, crushed the second semifinal field by nearly a second with a 1:54.71. That swim bested the Olympic textile best of 1:54.95 posted by Aaron Peirsol at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He still has Ryan Lochte's overall record of 1:53.94 from 2008 ahead of him. The time nearly bettered Clary's lifetime best of 1:54.53 from the techsuit era.
“The swim went really well,” Clary said “I hit most of the things I wanted to hit. There are a couple of things I want to work on for tomorrow, namely a couple of my turns and my breakout. I think tomorrow is going to be a pretty good swim.”
USA's Ryan Lochte, who has a difficult double this evening with the 200 back and 200 IM, qualified second in 1:55.40. The defending champion in the event is vying for his 10th career Olympic medal after clinching his ninth medal in the men's 800 freestyle relay last night. Should he pick up the victory, he would join Roland Matthes (1968, 1972) as the only men to have defended a 200 backstroke title.
China's Zhang Fenglin posted a third-place time of 1:55.66 to jump to 13th all time in the event. China has never medaled in the event. Japan's Ryosuke Irie, who won his first Olympic medal with a third-place finish in the 100 back, qualified fourth in 1:55.68.
“I am usually thinking about (Ryan) Locthe but I tried not to think about him during the race,” Irie said. “If I can follow him in the final, I think I can get a good result. I have to get a result that is better than getting bronze. I will try to make Lochte aware of me from the beginning in the final.”
Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki (1:56.74), Japan's Kazuki Watanabe (1:56.81), Australia's Mitch Larkin (1:56.82) and Israel's Yakov Toumarkin (1:57.33) wrapped up the rest of the finale seeds.
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