FINA World Championships, Swimming: Liam Tancock Tops 50 Back Semis

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SHANGHAI, China, July 30. DEFENDING world champion Liam Tancock of Great Britain earned the top seed in the men's 50 back finale at the FINA World Long Course Championships.

Tancock clocked a 24.62 in the sprint back, and is looking to become the first man to ever defend the event in world championships history since it began being offered in 2001. Tancock owns the world record with a 24.04 from the 2009 World Championships.

"It was a great race for me," Tancock said. "The final is going to be a tough one, but I have 24 hours to get ready to go faster. I'm sure I will be much stronger tomorrow."

France's Camille Lacourt, the fastest man in textile with a 24.07 from last summer, qualified second in 24.85.

"Today's semifinal was fine, but what matters is tomorrow's final," Lacourt said. "France is really focused on the relay, so we are resting these days to get ready for the relay."

Meanwhile, South Africa's Gerhard Zandberg took third in 24.91.

"I'm very happy," Zandberg said. "You can't be too fast in the semi, so we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm just having fun here, and making a lot of friends."

Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer (24.99), USA's Nick Thoman (25.03), USA's David Plummer (25.03), Switzerland's Flori Lang (25.07) and Israel's Guy Barnea (25.09) also earned their way into the championship field. Surprisingly, defending silver medalist Junya Koga of Japan missed the final with a ninth-place 25.14.

Incidentally, the Americans seem to be in lockstep in this event. They tied in the prelims (25.22) and the semis (25.03).

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