ROME, Italy, August 2. WORLD record holder Stephanie Rice of Australia led the way in prelims of the women's 400 IM at the FINA World Championships.
In an exciting head-to-head battle with Elizabeth Beisel of the United States, Rice overtook Beisel in prelims out of the final heat, 4:34.62 to 4:34.80, to top qualifying for the finale this evening. Beisel's time earned her the second seed, setting up an epic battle between the two tonight.
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu (4:35.15), Canada's Tanya Hunks (4:35.84) and the United States' Julia Smit (4:35.84) turned in third through fifth-seeded times. Hunks smashed Joanne Malar's national record of 4:38.46 set back in 1999.
Great Britain's Hannah Miley (4:36.27), Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry (4:36.42) and Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (4:37.47) also made finals.