ISTANBUL, Turkey, December 14. BRAZIL's Nicholas Santos managed to match the meet record in the men's 50 fly as a highlight of day three prelims at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships.
Men's 50 back
USA's Matt Grevers continued his success with another big time this morning in the sprint back. He popped a 23.28 to lead qualifying, tying him for second in the world this year with Jeremy Stravius behind Stanislav Donets' 23.12 from the Tokyo stop of the World Cup. That is a best time for Grevers, moving him up to 14th all time and tying Nick Thoman as the fourth-fastest American ever.
Brazil's Guilherme Guido touched second in 23.48, while Donets picked up third in 23.49. Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer (23.54), Australia's Robert Hurley (23.57), China's Sun Xiaolei (23.60), Brazil's Daniel Orzechowski (23.64) and Belarus' Pavel Sankovich (23.74) rounded out the top eight.
Australia's Ashley Delaney (23.77), USA's Ben Hesen (23.79), Italy's Mirco Di Tora (23.81), Germany's Christian Diener (23.86), Norway's Lavrans Solli (23.87), Turkey's Iskender Baslakov (23.88), Israel's Guy Barnea (24.02) and China's Cheng Feiyi (24.06) also made the semifinals.
Women's 200 back
Ukraine's Daryna Zevina, who blasted a 2:01.97 at the European Short Course Championships to lead the world this year, cruised into the top seed into the finale with a 2:03.41. USA's Bonnie Brandon, who for the longest time swam in the shadow of Missy Franklin as a high schooler in Colorado, is definitely claiming her own spotlight. This morning, she qualified second with a 2:04.45 and will be looking to keep up the six-meet podium streak for the U.S. The last time the U.S. failed to medal was in 1999. Brandon's time moved her to fifth in the world this year as the top American, bettering the 2:04.70 by Kylie Stewart on the Junior National Team trip to the World Cup.
Slovenia's Anja Carman (2:04.95), Japan's Marie Kamimura (2:04.96), Spain's Duane Da Rocha (2:05.18), New Zealand's Melissa Ingram (2:05.20), Czech's Simona Baumrtova (2:05.38) and Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (2:05.65) also earned spots in the finale.
Men's 50 fly
Brazil's Nicholas Santos turned in a speedy time of 22.40 to match Albert Subirats' meet record from 2010. The swim puts him third in the world this year behind Matt Targett (22.30) and Roland Schoeman (22.34). Santos can go faster as evidenced by his fourth-ranked 22.16 from the Singapore stop of the World Cup in 2009, albeit in the techsuit era.
South Africa's Chad Le Clos sprinted to second with a time of 22.78, a personal best, under his 22.86 from the Dubai stop of the World Cup this year. He moved just on the outside of the top 30 all time with his swim. Belarus' Yauhen Tsurkin qualified third in 22.93, while China's Wu Peng (22.96) and Ukraine's Andrii Govorov (22.98) also cleared 23 seconds in qualifying.
Slovenia's Peter Mankoc (23.05), Kenya's Jason Dunford (23.07), USA's Tom Shields (23.07), The Netherlands' Joeri Verlinden (23.11), France's Fred Bousquet (23.18), Brazil's Kaio Almeida (23.21). Belgium's Francois Heersbrant (23.22), Paraguay's Ben Hockin (23.27), Ireland's Barry Murphy (23.52), France's Romain Sassot (23.53) and Russia's Evgeny Koptelov (23.57) each picked up semifinal spots.
USA's Ryan Lochte elected to scratch the event, which is not one of his top podium-producing swims.
Women's 100 breast
Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte continued her breakthrough year, which included an Olympic gold medal this summer, as she charted a 1:04.69 to lead the way this morning. That is the first time under 1:05, breakin her national record of 1:05.02 from the Stockholm stop of the World Cup circuit. She's now 10th all time in the event's history.
Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen touched out Australia's Sarah Katsoulis, 1:04.73 to 1:04.76, in heat six of seven as the two went 2-3 in qualifying. Both have been faster with a 1:04.12 and 1:03.73, respectively, to their credit. USA's Jessica Hardy qualified fourth in 1:05.04 and is looking to become the first swimmer to win the event more than once. Jamaica's Alia Atkinson (1:05.26) made it five swimmers under 1:06.
Sweden's Jennie Johansson (1:06.10), Czech's Petra Chocova (1:06.16), Australia's Samantha Marshall (1:06.32), Sweden's Rebecca Ejdervik (1:06.45), Turkey's Dilara Gunaydin (1:06.61), Canada's Tera Van Beilen (1:06.74), Russia's Valentina Artemeva (1:06.75), Finland's Jenna Laukkanen (1:06.90), China's Ji Liping (1:06.92), Great Britain's Sophie Allen (1:06.93) and China's Zhao Jin (1:06.98) comprised the rest of the semifinal field with a sub-1:07 required to make the next round.
Men's 400 free
Denmark's Mads Glaesner checked in with the top seeded time of 3:40.89 this morning in the middle distance event. That swim moved him to fifth in the world this year, one of only five swimmers under 3:41. The meet is definitely missing France's Yannick Agnel, who set the world record with a 3:32.25 at the French Short Course Championships in November. France elected to send a sparse team this week to Turkey.
USA's Michael Klueh, who stands second in the world to Agnel this year with a 3:40.23 from the Tokyo stop of the World Cup, qualified second in 3:41.07 and could be looking to make a run at Peter Vanderkaay's American standard of 3:34.81 during the finale.
Tunisia's Ahmed Mathlouthi qualified third in 3:41.34, while defending champion Paul Biedermann of Germany placed fourth in 3:41.40. New Zealand's Matt Stanley (3:41.59), Denmark's Anders Nielsen (3:41.80), China's Hao Yun (3:42.13) and Faroe Islands' Pal Joensen (3:42.43) wrapped up the rest of the championship heat.
Men's 200 IM
After scratching the sprint fly this morning, USA's Ryan Lochte posted a swift time of 1:53.31 in prelims, but definitely has more in the tank as he is the world-record holder with a sizzling 1:50.08 from the 2010 edition of the meet. Lochte is looking to become the only man to ever win this event four times, as he's previously claimed the title in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Australia's Matt Dunn is tied with Lochte for three victories from 1995-99.
Australia's Kenneth To, the FINA World Cup King, surged to a 1:53.57 for the second seed to break 1:54 for the first time, bettering his previous best of 1:54.38 from the 2011 Australian Short Course Championships. To moved even closer to Leith Brodie's Australian record of 1:52.86.
Japan's Daiya Seto (1:54.41), Hungary's Laszlo Cseh (1:54.50), USA's Conor Dwyer (1:54.67), Sweden's Simon Sjodin (1:54.90), Portugal's Diogo Carvalho (1:55.14) and Japan's Kosuke Hagino (1:55.41) swam their way into the finale.
Women's 400 free
FINA World Cup Queen Katinka Hosszu would have been gunning for her second gold medal of the meet after posting a smooth time of 4:03.49 in prelims, more than a second off her top time this year of 4:02.15 from the European Short Course Championships. Hosszu, however, elected to scratch out of a top seed to focus on the rest of a busy schedule this evening. This is another event that is sorely missing a French world-record holder as Camille Muffat's 3:54.85 from Euro Champs is sitting at home.
USA's Chloe Sutton turned on the afterburners down the stretch to touch out Russia's Elena Sokolova, 4:04.16 to 4:04.37, in heat four as the pair went 2-3 in overall qualifying and move into the top 10 this year. Spain's Melanie Costa Schmid (4:04.68) earned fourth, while 800 freestyle victor Lauren Boyle of New Zealand placed fifth in 4:04.83.
Australia's Angie Bainbridge (4:04.94), Spain's Erika Villaecija Garcia (4:05.04) and China's Zhou Lili (4:05.11) will also vie for the world title, while Denmark's Lotte Friis (4:05.67) and USA's Allison Schmitt (4:05.98) surprisingly missed the finale with 11th and 12th-place finishes.
Jaz Carlin, meanwhile, was drawn into the championship heat after Hosszu's scratch with her ninth-ranked (4:05.13).
Men's 200 breast
The top time in the world this year of 2:04.55 shared by Viacheslav Sinkevich and Sean Mahoney didn't stand a chance as seven of the top eight swimmers in the morning all cleared 2:05. Long course world-record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi of Japan topped qualifying in 2:03.57 to vault to 13th all time in the event. Hungary's Daniel Gyurta qualified second in 2:03.64, well off his world record of 2:00.67 from the techsuit era in 2009. USA's Clark Burckle completed the top three with a 2:03.87.
Great Britain's Andrew Willis (2:03.94), Germany's Marco Koch (2:03.95), Sinkevich (2:04.07) and Japan's Yukihiro Takahashi (2:04.93) all beat 2:05 to make up the top seven, while Great Britain's snagged the final lane transferring into the finale with a 2:06.05.
Women's 400 medley relay
Denmark's Mie Nielsen (57.59), Rikke Moeller Pedersen (1:04.40), Jeanette Ottesen Gray (57.42) and Pernille Blume (53.69) topped qualifying with a time of 3:53.10 in heat one, while Team USA's Olivia Smoliga (58.05), Laura Sogar (1:04.43), Christine Magnuson (57.31) and Lia Neal (53.38) turned in a time of 3:53.17 to win heat two for the second seed. Japan's Marie Kamimura (58.83), Kanako Watanabe (1:05.58), Nao Kobayashi (57.03) and Miki Uchida (52.97) qualified third in 3:54.41.
Great Britain (3:54.50), China (3:54.52), Italy (3:55.66), Germany (3:57.14) and Australia (3:57.36) managed to earn their way into the finale as well.