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SHANGHAI, China, July 28. JAPAN's Kosuke Kitajima will be looking to reclaim his world title in the men's 200 breast after leading semis at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
Kitajima clocked a time of 2:08.81 for the top seed, and will hope to win his third world title in the event. He previously won in 2003 and 2007, and was on hiatus during the 2009 edition of the meet.
"I've been waiting for this feeling," Kitajima said. "I was nervous in the 100 breast, because Alexander [Dale Oen] was next to meet and he is very competitive. My body didn't respond as I expected. I am satisfied with today's performance."
Daniel Gyurta of Hungary, the defending world champion, will definitely be in the thick of it in the finale after qualifying second with a 2:08.92. Gyurta gave Hungary its third different world titlist in the event with his win in 2009. Previous Hungarians to win were Norbert Rozsa (1994) and Joszef Szabo (1986).
Germany's Christian Vom Lehn earned third in 2:09.44, while defending silver medalist Eric Shanteau of the U.S. qualified fourth in 2:10.03.
"I'm happy with the result," Shanteau said. "Compared to two years ago, I am a more mature person. Physically, I just train harder, so I am getting to the place I need to be now."
Great Britain's Andrew Willis (2:10.49), Great Britain's Michael Jamieson (2:10.54), South Korea's Kyu Woong Choi (2:11.27) and Lithuania's Giedrius Titenis (2:11.43) snagged the other transfer spots into the finale.