FINA World Championships, Swimming: Day Four Prelims

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SHANGHAI, China, July 27. DAY four preliminary competition at the FINA World Long Course Championships marks the midpoint of what has been a fast and entertaining meet thus far in Shanghai.

Last night, USA's Rebecca Soni dominated the women's 100 breast, but came up a bit short of the much-hoped-for world record in that event. Meanwhile, Jeremy Stravius and Camille Lacourt became France's first world titlists by sharing the men's 100 back title. Additionally, Ryan Lochte knocked off Michael Phelps in the men's 200 free.

Another textile best fell last night as well when Cameron van der Burgh became the first man to break 27 seconds in a textile with a 26.90 in semis, followed closely by Felipe Silva with a second-seeded 26.95.

This morning should set up yet another amazing night of action. Let's get it started.

Women's 50 back
World record: Zhao Jing, CHN, 27.06
Textile best: Gao Chang, CHN, 27.45

Opening up the morning with the sprint backstroke is a good way to get the blood flowing, and Russia's Anastasia Zueva led the way with a 28.20 China's Zhao Yanxin qualified second in 28.24, while Gao Chang of China, the owner of the textile best in the event, cruised home with a 28.27 for third.

"My swim was not as good as I expected, maybe because I was not in best shape," Gao said. It's really a pity that I didn't make to the 100 back semifinals, so I hope I would do better in the 50m. When I saw Zhao Jing touched home first in the 100m backstroke final last night, I felt very excited and happy."

Japan's Aya Terakawa qualified fourth in 28.34, while USA went back-to-back with Elizabeth Pelton (28.35) and Missy Franklin (28.37) taking fifth and sixth. Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (28.38), Australia's Emily Seebohm (28.39) and Great Britain's Georgia Davies (28.39) comprised the rest of the top nine spots.

Spain's Mercedes Peris Minguet (28.46), Greece's Theodora Drakou (28.46), Canada's Julia Wilkinson (28.62), Bulgaria's Ekaterina Avramova (28.66), Russia's Kseniya Moskvina (28.71), Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth (28.79) and Germany's Jenny Mensing (28.84) also made the semifinal.

Notably, Drakou downed Greece's national record of 28.60 that she set last year, while Avramova tracked down the Bulgarian record of 28.88 she set in June of this year.

Men's 100 free
World record: Cesar Cielo, BRA, 46.91
Textile best: James Magnussen, AUS, 47.49r

This week, Cesar Cielo's name has become synonymous with being given a positive doping pass with a warning, and he might never live down that new reputation. But, he's definitely focusing his energies in the pool, and trying to ignore the soap opera surrounding him. Cielo cruised in with a 48.41 to qualify fourth overall.

"I'm quite satisfied," Cielo said. "Even though I'm the world record holder, it's not easy, it just brings more pressure. Tonight, I'm going to fight as hard as I can to get a medal, and just focus on my race."

France's William Meynard blasted his preliminary swim with a 48.14 for the top seed, hoping to add to France's medal total from the men's 100 back titles last night. Australia's James Magnussen, who clocked a textile best of 47.49 as the relay leadoff for Australia's winning 400 free relay on the first night, qualified second in 48.21.

"Everything went well this morning, I'm pretty happy with this morning," Magnussen said. "I'm trying extra hard. I need to go back and rest. I need to get these experiences. I'm looking forward to London Olympics. Hopefully, I can make it."

Italy's Filippo Magnini, a two-time world titlist in this event with wins in 2005 and 2007, finished third with a 48.36. France's Fabien Gilot (48.48), Russia's Andrey Grechin (48.59), The Netherlands' Sebastiaan Verschuren (48.60) and USA's Nathan Adrian (48.62) rounded out the top eight.

"This morning, I had to swim very quickly," Gilot said. "But the most important thing is the tomorrow's final. Yesterday, France won two gold medals in one event. I trained with one of the gold medalists in Marseille. It will be great if I could do the same tomorrow."

South Africa's Graeme Moore (48.65), South Africa's Gideon Louw (48.74), Canada's Brent Hayden (48.75), Russia's Nikita Lobintsev (48.78), Italy's Luca Dotto (48.79), South Korea's Tae Hwan Park (48.91), Poland's Konrad Czerniak (48.92) and Australia's James Roberts (48.93) also picked up transfer spots in the semifinals.

Women's 200 fly
World record: Liu Zige, CHN, 2:01.81
Textile best: Liu Zige, CHN, 2:04.40

Japan's Natsumi Hoshi took home the top seed in the women's 200 fly with a 2:07.34, while Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos took second in 2:07.60. USA's Kathleen Hersey qualified third overall in 2:07.91.

"I like all of these races, and these are some great competitors," Hersey said. "I just try my best to race against then to see who is the best at the moment."

Great Britain's Ellen Gandy (2:08.14), China's Liu Zige (2:080.28), Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia (2:08.34), Australia's Stephanie Rice (2:08.43) and China's Jiao Liuyang (2:08.47) placed fourth through eighth.

"It was a good, and pretty quick time," Rice said. "It was a good swim overall. It was my first time to be on the international stage in the 200m, and it feels really good."

Australia's Jessicah Schipper (2:08.62), USA's Teresa Crippen (2:08.63), Great Britain's Jemma Lowe (2:08.67), Canada's Audrey Lacroix (2:08.88), Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak (2:09.01), Sweden's Martina Grandstrom (2:09.12), South Korea's Hye Ra Choi (2:09.33) and Sweden's Ida Marko-Varga (2:09.38) also grabbed spots into the semifinal round.

Schipper is the two-time defending world titlist in the event, while Liu took silver in 2009.

Men's 200 IM
World record: Ryan Lochte, USA, 1:54.10
Textile best: Ryan Lochte, USA, 1:54.43

Brazil's Thiago Pereira crushed the preliminary competition with a 1:57.82 for the top seed, while Hungary's David Verraszto earned the second seed with a 1:58.69. Meanwhile, a rush of 1:59 times made the rest of the semifinal field.

Australia's Kenneth To qualified third in 1:59.02, while USA's Ryan Lochte, the defending world titlist, finished fourth with a 1:59.04. Austria's Markus Rogan (1:59.22), Japan's Yuya Horihata (1:59.25), Lithuania's Vytautas Janusaitis (1:59.43) and USA's Michael Phelps (1:59.48) snared the rest of the top eight spots.

Portugal's Diogo Carvalho (1:59.51), Brazil's Henrique Rodrigues (1:59.54), Great Britain's James Goddard (1:59.68), Poland's Marcin Cieslak (1:59.77), Hungary's Laszlo Cseh (1:59.80), South Africa's Darian Townsend (1:59.97), Israel's Gal Nevo (1:59.98) and Germany's Jan David Schepers (1:59.99) grabbed the rest of the spots in the semifinal heats. Cseh is the reigning and defending silver medalist in the event.

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