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SHANGHAI, China, July 24. STILL hoping to erase the pain of having a positive doping warning levied against him last week after a positive test for furosemide at the Maria Lenk Trophy, Brazil's Cesar Cielo earned the top seed in the men's 50 fly during semis of the FINA World Long Course Championships.
Cielo clocked a time of 23.19, and will be looking for Brazil's first medal of any kind in the event's history since FINA first began offering it in 2001.
"I felt a little bit of pressure in the race as there are many good swimmers including two Frenchmen," Cielo said. "Tomorrow there will be more pressure. I hope I can swim faster."
The media took the chance to get Cielo on the record regarding his recent brush with doping issues.
"It's a learning process," Cielo said. "Everybody has something to improve. I'm happy to be here."
Australia's Geoff Huegill, an inspirational story by himself after his comeback in recent years, qualified second in 23.26, while France's Florent Manaudou took third in 23.32.
"I don't have any pressure or expectation on myself," Huegill said. "You step up, you race and you get your result. This is sport. My focus is on 100m butterfly. I'm 32 years old. If you want to go for a medal, you have to go strong. It's only 50m, so it's out of my control. I'm looking forward to getting into the pool tomorrow and just enjoy for what it is."
"I started well but the last 20 meters was bad," Manaudou said. "Tomorrow, anything is possible."
Kenya's Jason Dunford (23.34), Germany's Steffen Deibler (23.39), Ukraine's Andriy Govorov (23.39), Australia's Matt Targett (23.41) and France's Fred Bousquet (23.42) all made the finale.
Targett is the defending silver medalist, while defending world champion Milorad Cavic of Serbia missed the finale with a 12th-place 23.59.