ISTANBUL, Turkey, December 13. QUITE a few epic battles were set up this evening after day two prelims of the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships.
Women's 100 free
Australia's Marieke Guehrer charted the top time in the morning with a 53.26 out of the final heat of 11. That swim puts her in a ninth-ranked tie with Angie Bainbridge in the world rankings this year, and gives Australia a chance to become the first country to win the event three times. The U.S. and Sweden are the only other countries to also have won the event twice before.
“It was a good swim, it was a good time. But I definitely have more to give tomorrow night. I just wanted to get out there and swim a good race.,” Guehrer said. “I do not want to expect too much, then I might end up with nothing.”
China's Tang Yi qualified second in 53.32 in a touchout triumph ahead of USA's Jessica Hardy (53.42) in heat nine, while the favorite Britta Steffen of Germany posted a 53.42 as well. Steffen has the top time in the world by far this year with a 52.38 from the Singapore stop of the World Cup tour.
Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte (53.54), USA's Megan Romano (53.57), Germany's Daniela Schreiber (53.59), Russia's Veronika Popova (53.82), Brazil's Allesandra Marchioro (53.95), Sweden's Michelle Coleman (53.96), Bulgaria's Nina Rangelova (54.01), Japan's Haruka Ueda (54.04), Australia's Angie Bainbridge (54.10), Hong Kong's Sze Hang Yu (54.15), Spain's Melanie Costa Schmid (54.25) and Brazil's Larissa Oliveira (54.27) also made their way into the semifinals.
Men's 400 IM
Japan's Daiya Seto cruised to the top seed in the distance medley with a time of 4:04.28, while Hungary's Laszlo Cseh qualified second in 4:04.61. Both swimmers have way more left in the tank, as Seto (4:00.02) and Cseh (4:00.99) have the top two times in the world this year. Cseh, who has won this event at the European Short Course Championships seven times, is looking to capture his first FINA World Short Course Championship gold medal. Seto, meanwhile, burst onto the scene this year with several victories on the FINA World Cup in this event.
“I'm looking really good this time. I'm just going to enjoy the competition tonight,” Seto said. “I am going to be aggressive in the first 200 meters. Breaststroke is my biggest strength, so I am going to swim really fast in the breaststroke leg.”
Israel's Gal Nevo (4:05.99), Hungary's David Verraszto (4:06.64), Portugal's Diogo Carvalho (4:07.42), Japan's Kosuke Hagino (4:07.78), Denmark's Chris Christensen (4:08.38) and USA's Michael Weiss (4:08.46) picked up the rest of the finale spots. Weiss has a bit of a burden on his shoulders, as Team USA has had a medalwinner in each of the last five meets in this event.
Women's 50 fly
Canada's Noemi Thomas raced to the top seed with a Canadian-record 25.76, while USA's Christine Magnuson checked in with a 25.83. China's Lu Ying was the only other sub 26 with a third-seeded 25.87. These times are among the top 10 in the world this year, with Jeanette Ottesen Gray leading the way with a 25.21 from the European Short Course Championships. Magnuson will be gunning for her American record of 25.65 set in Dubai in 2010, although Lara Jackson owns the top American time legally swum with a 25.17 from 2009 in Berlin.
USA Swimming decided that American records set in techsuits after Oct. 1, 2009 — when USA Swimming implemented the techsuit ban domestically – would not be ratified. This is the case even for times swum legally in international events where ban was not in effect yet.
Ottesen Gray (26.02), Italy's Silvia Di Pietro (26.05), Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (26.06), Poland's Anna Dowgiert (26.15), USA's Claire Donahue (26.15), South Africa's Vanessa Mohr (26.17), Italy's Ilaria Bianchi (26.20), Sweden's Louise Hansson (26.28), China's Jiao Liuyang (26.36), Estonia's Triin Aljand (26.38), Poland's Aleksandra Urbanczyk (26.39), Brazil's Daynara De Paula (26.43) and Australia's Brianna Throssell (26.54) comprised the rest of the semifinal field.
Men's 50 free
Russia's Vlad Morozov has been on point early on this year at Worlds. First, he dropped the meet record in the 100 free with his leadoff in the 400 free relay for Russia last night, and this morning he blasted the field with a 20.98 in the splash-and-dash. He has been a bit faster this year with a 20.79 at the European Short Course Championships behind Olympic gold medalist Florent Manaudou's 20.70. Manaudou, meanwhile, turned in a 21.06 for the second seed in semis.
Italy's Marco Orsi qualified third in 21.36, while Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell picked up fourth with a 21.39. Japan's Kenta Ito snared fifth in 21.49. USA's Anthony Ervin and Brazil's Nicholas Santos tied for sixth with matching 21.50s, while King Shark Federico Bocchia of Italy took eighth in 21.51.
Finland's Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (21.57), New Zealand's Cameron Simpson (21.62), Poland's Konrad Czerniak (21.64), Belgium's Francois Heersbrandt (21.67), Japan's Shinri Shioura (21.68), Ukraine's Andrii Govorov (21.69), USA's Josh Schneider (21.70) and Australia's Kyle Richardson (21.78) snagged the other semifinal spots.
Women's 100 IM
Great Britain's Sophie Allen turned in a lifetime best effort of 59.20 to lead the way in the sprint medley. That swim bettered her 59.50 from the Tokyo stop of the World Cup circuit this year, and jumped her to 18th all time in the event. She still has some time to make up to beat Fran Halsall's national record of 58.55 from the Singapore stop of the World Cup in 2009 during the techsuit era.
“I wanted to try to get as close to my personal best as possible in the heats, and I got a personal best,” Allen said. “The Olympics obviously did not go to plan. But you learn more when things do not go to plan, so there is certainly a learning curve.”
Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte, who has been having herself a strong meet thus far, qualified second in 59.33 to move to 22nd in the all time rankings. That's the first time she's been under 1:00, having previously held the national record with a 1:00.65. Hungary's Katinka Hosszu qualified third in 59.37, but has more left as she's already led the world this year with a 58.83 from the European Short Course Championships. Japan's Kanako Watanabe (59.74) and Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (59.84) also beat 1:00 in prelims.
USA's Melanie Margalis (1:00.03), Germany's Theresa Michalak (1:00.03), Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (1:00.32), China's Zhao Jing (1:00.37), China's Chen Xinyi (1:00.45), Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (1:00.79), Japan's Emu Higuchi (1:00.85), Jamaica's Alia Atkinson (1:00.99), Finland's Emilia Pikkarainen (1:00.99), Great Britain's Hannah Miley (1:01.19) and Poland's Alicja Tchorz (1:01.37) placed sixth through 16th for the rest of the semifinal spots. USA's Maya Dirado just missed the top 16 with a 17th-place 1:01.55.
Men's 800 free relay
The first heat proved to be where the action was at in prelims with Germany's Dimitri Colupaev (1:45.23), Christoph Fildebrandt (1:45.69), Yannick Lebherz (1:43.02) and Paul Biedermann (1:44.73) topping qualifying in 6:58.67. Russia's Artem Lobuzov (1:45.29), Evgeny Lagunov (1:43.81), Dmitry Ermakov (1:45.29) and Viatcheslav Andrusenko (1:45.34) placed second in the heat and overall with a 6:59.73.
Australia's Tommaso D'Orsogna (1:44.65), Jarrod Killey (1:46.52), Travis Mahoney (1:46.81) and Robert Hurley (1:43.79) won the second heat in 7:01.77 with Team USA's Garrett Weber-Gale (1:46.62), Michael Klueh (1:44.37), Matt McLean (1:45.45) and Michael Weiss (1:45.34) taking fourth overall in 7:01.78.
Japan (7:03.43), Italy (7:04.96), Great Britain (7:06.50) and Brazil (7:07.40) also earned their way into the championship heat.
Women's 800 free slower seeded heats
The Chinese put up the top two times of the morning in the timed final event as Xu Danlu (8:22.88) and Zhou Lili (8:25.19) with another heat of swimmers to compete during finals this evening.