ROME, Italy, July 30. JAPAN's Ryosuke Irie paced preliminary qualifying in the men's 200 back at the FINA World Championships.
Irie checked in with a 1:55.20, less than a second from Ryan Lochte's meet record of 1:54.32 set in 2007.
World record holder Aaron Peirsol of the U.S. will be looking for redemption after a miscalculation in the 100 back left him outside of the finale. Peirsol clocked a 1:55.88 to qualify second overall into semis. Lochte managed a third-place effort this morning with a 1:55.97.
Russia's Stanislav Donets grabbed fourth in 1:56.03, while South Africa's George Du Rand placed fifth in 1:56.06. Du Rand smashed his national record of 1:58.61 set in 2008. Germany's Yannick Lebherz (1:56.69), Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki (1:56.74) and Russia's Arkady Vyatchanin (1:56.97) comprised the rest of the top eight.
Colombia's Omar Pinzon (1:57.01), Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer (1:57.15), Great Britain's Chris Walker-Hebborn (1:57.52), Japan's Takashi Nakano (1:57.58), Italy's Damiano Lestingi (1:57.73), Italy's Sebastiano Ranfagni (1:57.75), The Netherlands' Nicolaas Driebergen (1:57.86) and Austria's Sebastian Stoss (1:57.97) cleared 1:58 to make the top 16.
Pinzon shaved two seconds from his national record of 1:59.11 set last year, while Driebergen lowered his national mark of 1:58.35 set in April.