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SHANGHAI, China, July 24. THE women's 200 IM finale will be a star-studded affair as Australia's Stephanie Rice and defending world champion Ariana Kukors of the U.S. grabbed to center lanes during semis of the FINA World Long Course Championships.
Rice threw down a 2:09.65 for the top qualifying spot, while Kukors touched in 2:09.83. The duo finished 1-2 at the world championships back in 2009, and Rice will be looking for some revenge after Kukors won in Rome.
"I finished behind the Chinese girl this morning, but I got more confident tonight," Rice said. "I have to win the final, but it gonna be really tough."
While Kukors owns the world record with a 2:06.15 from the techsuit era that may never be broken, China's Ye Shiwen has the best time in a textile with a 2:09.37 from November 2010. That time is likely to fall in the finale. Ye, meanwhile, qualified third tonight in 2:10.08 with Australia's Alicia Coutts taking fourth with a 2:10.65.
Great Britain's Hannah Miley (2:10.95), USA's Caitlin Leverenz (2:11.15), Hungary's Katinka Hosszu (2:11.71) and Canada's Julia Wilkinson (2:11.92) also made the championship field with their swims.