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SHANGHAI, China, July 26. JAPAN's Takeshi Matsuda utilized a strong backhalf swim in the men's 200 fly semis to lead the way into the finale at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
Matsuda clocked a time of 1:54.30 to put himself in strong podium contention in the finale. Matsuda won bronze in 2009 behind Michael Phelps and Pawel Korzeniowski. He also took silver in 2005 behind Korzeniowski.
China's Chen Yin qualified second tonight in 1:54.80, closing the distance to Wu Peng's national record of 1:54.35 from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"Today's 1:54.80 is my personal best, so I'm satisfied with it," Chen said. "Hopefully, I can adjust myself into peak form tomorrow night, a placing higher than seventh in the final would make me happy."
Phelps, meanwhile, cruised into the championship finale with a third-seeded 1:54.85. He had led his semifinal heat at the halfway mark, but settled down to take third overall, likely feeling the effects from a 200 free/200 fly double this evening after taking silver to Ryan Lochte in the freestyle event earlier in the evening.
Austria's Dinko Jukic (1:54.94), Wu (1:55.28), Hungary's Bence Biczo (1:55.35), South Africa's Chad Le Clos (1:55.56) and Korzeniowski (1:55.85) also earned their way into the championship eight. USA's Tyler Clary just missed the finale with a ninth-place 1:56.01.