ROME, Italy, August 1. BRAZIL's Guilherme Guido dropped the meet record in the men's 50 back preliminary heats at the FINA World Championships.
Guido clocked a 24.49 to lead qualifying, and erase Thomas Rupprath's meet record of 24.80 from 2003. He also downed his Brazilian record of 24.71 set in May. Guido's time of 24.49 is the fourth fastest of all time, behind Randall Bal's world record of 24.33 and Junya Koga's 24.45 as well as Liam Tancock's 24.47.
Bal, the world record holder from the United States, is not in Rome to defend his global standard. The U.S. does not hold Trials for the 50s of any stroke other than the freestyle, and the sprint backstroke specialist did not fare well in the 100 and 200 events to earn a spot on the team.
Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer qualified just behind Guido with a 24.50, while France's Camille Lacourt (24.52), Tancock (24.55) and Koga (24.57) qualified with 24.5s. Wildeboer lowered his national record of 24.73, while Lacourt beat his national mark of 24.78.
Germany's Helge Meeuw (24.60), South Africa's Gerhard Zandberg (24.68) and Switzerland's Flori Lang (24.75) were among the top eight qualifiers as well. Meeuw downed his national standard of 24.64, while Zandberg dipped under his national record of 24.98. Lang also lowered his national record of 24.84.
Spain's Juan Miguel Rando (24.77), Israel's Guy Barnea (24.79), Greece's Aristeidis Grigoriadis (24.80), Japan's Ryosuke Irie (24.87), Rupprath (24.92), Brazil's Daniel Orzechowski (24.97), Australia's Ashley Delaney (24.97) and Italy's Mirco Di Tora (25.01) made up the rest of the semifinal field.
Barnea downed his national record of 24.89, while Grigoriadis shot down his national mark of 24.94.
Neither Matt Grevers nor Aaron Peirsol made it out of prelims for the United States.