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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, December 19. THE final day of prelims came to a close at the FINA World Short Course Championships.
Men's 200 back
The United States demonstrated its backstroke depth in a big way with the top two spots in the finale. Ryan Lochte, who has had a special meet thus far with world records in the 200 and 400 IM as well as a potential global standard to come tonight in the 100 IM, qualified first in 1:50.25 in the distance dorsal. Only Arkady Vyatchanin has been faster this year with a 1:49.48 in the Berlin stop of the World Cup.
Tyler Clary, meanwhile, snared the second seed in 1:50.82 to move to fourth in the world rankings behind Ryosuke Irie's 1:50.58 from the Tokyo World Cup stop. Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber finished third in 1:51.63, while Austria's Markus Rogan qualified fourth in 1:51.82.
Irie (1:51.85), Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki (1:51.90), Italy's Damiano Lestingi (1:52.02) and Canada's Jake Tapp (1:52.15) comprised the rest of the finale.
Women's 200 breast
Rebecca Soni led the way with an American record in the distance breaststroke event. Soni charted a time of 2:18.66 for the top seed, lowering the American record of 2:20.70 set by Tara Kirk back in 2004. Soni, however, has been faster with the world record of 2:14.57 to her credit. That swim came during the Duel in the Pool last year, but USA Swimming elected not to ratify the outing since it took place in a techsuit. The federation had implemented a domestic ban of techsuits starting Oct. 2009, and refused even legal times swum under FINA prior to FINA enacted the techsuit ban in Jan. 1, 2010. This has led to quite some confusion regarding the short course meter American records. Soni's performance also cleared Leisel Jones' 2:18.86 from July as the top ranked in the world, and beat the meet record of 2:18.73 set by Suzaan van Biljon of South Africa back in 2008.
China's Sun Ye clocked a 2:19.77 for the second seed, while Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen placed third in 2:20.89.
Japan's Rie Kaneto (2:21.36), Canada's Martha McCabe (2:21.45), Jamaica's Alia Atkinson (2:21.65), Russia's Yuliya Efimova (2:22.12) and China's Ji Liping (2:22.96) grabbed the rest of the transfer spots into the finale.
Men's 200 fly
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh edged South Africa's Chad Le Clos, 1:52.81 to 1:52.91, for the top seed in the distance fly event. Cseh has been faster with a national record 1:51.55 to his credit. Le Clos, on the other hand, downed his South African record of 1:53.16 set in Nov. 2009.
China's Wu Peng checked in with the third seed after clocking a 1:53.25 with Brazil's Kaio Almeida tying for a fourth seed in 1:53.26. USA's Bobby Bollier (1:53.26) matched the fourth seed time, while Australia's Jayden Hadler (1:53.27), Australia's Chris Wright (1:53.52) and Poland's Marcin Cieslak (1:53.76) made up the rest of the championship heat.
Women's 200 free
USA's Katie Hoff nearly tracked down her American record of 1:53.37 set during the 800 free relay earlier in the meet with a top-seeded time of 1:53.48. France's Camille Muffat clocked in with a second-seeded 1:54.27, while Italy's Federica Pellegrini touched third in 1:54.66.
Australia's Kylie Palmer (1:54.78), China's Tang Yi (1:54.99), Hungary's Evelyn Verraszto (1:55.29), Australia's Blair Evans (1:55.32) and USA's Dana Vollmer (1:55.40) also made the finale.
Men's 400 medley relay
Russia's Stanislav Donets, Stanislav Lakhtyukhov, Nikita Lobintsev and Sergey Fesikov led the way in prelims with a 3:24.71, while the U.S. contingent of David Plummer, Mark Gangloff, Tyler McGill and Josh Schneider earned second in 3:26.69. Germany's Stefan Herbst, Hendrik Feldwehr, Ben Starke and Steffen Deibler wound up third in 3:26.91.
France (3:27.16), Japan (3:27.32), Australia (3:27.77), Brazil (3:28.60) and China (3:29.09) also made their way to the championship final.
Men's 1500 free slower seeds
Tunisia's Ous Mellouli paced the earlier heats with a strong time of 14:24.16. USA's Peter Vanderkaay clocked in with a 14:35.25, while Tunisia's Ahmed Mathlouthi touched in 14:43.25.