ROME, Italy, July 27. AFTER Germany's Paul Biedermann lowered the men's 400 free world record last night, the swimming community looked towards a potential epic matchup between the newly-minted world record holder and superstar Michael Phelps in the 200 free.
Biedermann and Phelps did their part in prelims with a 1-2 finish. Biedermann qualified first in 1:45.30, while Phelps took the second seed into semis with a 1:45.60. With both likely moving through semis this evening, the two could put on an historic battle in the finale.
Russia's Danila Izatov qualified third in 1:45.86, while South Africa's Jean Basson touched fourth in 1:45.88. The Netherlands' Sebastiaan Verschuren (1:46.25), Japan's Sho Uchida (1:46.30), Russia's Nikita Lobintsev (1:46.32) and Korea's Tae Hwan Park (1:46.53) were among the top eight finishers.
Izatov's time eclipsed his national record of 1:46.17 set in April, while Uchida broke Yoshihiro Okumora's Japanese mark of 1:46.44 from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Australia's Kenrick Monk (1:46.56), Australia's Patrick Murphy (1:46.61), Cayman's Shaune Fraser (1:46.89), Great Britain's Andrew Hunter (1:46.96), Italy's Emiliano Brembilla (1:46.99), Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry (1:47.10), United States' David Walters (1:47.15) and Great Britain's Ross Davenport (1:47.21) snagged the rest of the semifinal transfer spots.