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SHANGHAI, China, July 29. MICHAEL Phelps had to work for it, but he grabbed the top seed heading into finals of the men's 100 fly at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
Initially, Phelps flipped seventh in the second semifinal of the 100 fly, but had more than enough closing speed to grab the top seed in 51.47. Phelps is looking to become the first man to threepeat the men's 100 fly after winning in both 2007 and 2009. Ian Crocker went back-to-back in 2003 and 2005, and is the only man with a title defense in the event.
Poland's Konrad Czerniak finished second in 51.54 out of semifinal one, while USA's Tyler McGill checked in with a third-ranked 51.56.
Japan's Takuro Fujii (51.69), Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin (51.77), Australia's Geoff Huegill (51.85), Kenya's Jason Dunford (51.92) and The Netherlands' Joeri Verlinden (51.97) all cleared 52 seconds to completed the championship field.
"The good thing is that I got into the final," Huegill said. "I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. It will be a whole new day, and anything is possible."
Serbia's Milorad Cavic, who finished second in the event in 2009, surprisingly missed the semis completely with an 18th-place finish this morning. Notably, 2001 world champion Lars Frolander placed 12th tonight with a 52.34 a full decade after his world title performance.