Hometown Favorite Mireia Belmonte Garcia Leads 200 Fly Qualifying

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BARCELONA, Spain, July 31. THE Spanish fans definitely had fun supporting Mireia Belmonte Garcia’s top-seed bid this morning in the women’s 200-meter fly preliminary heats at the FINA World Championships.

With just three heats of swimmers, it didn’t take long to shake out who was on this morning and who was taking it easy. Belmonte Garcia didn’t waste much time in heat two as she turned in a 2:07.21 with a consistent swim starting off with a 29.04 and finishing with three straight 32-second splits. That swim is just a bit off her third-ranked season best of 2:06.70 from the Spanish Open in March, and sets her up for a potentially special semifinal swim in front of a partisan crowd.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, already a winner in the 200 IM, will be looking for her second gold medal of the meet after qualifying in 2:07.51. That’s her best time this year, beating her sixth-ranked 2:07.85, putting her in place for a run at another victory. Hosszu’s enjoying a strong meet thus far with just a month left before her wedding to coach/manager Shane Tusup.

Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi is also in the mix as a world title contender with a third-seeded time of 2:07.59, while Olympic gold medalists Liu Zige (2:07.63) and Jiao Liuyang (2:07.79) of China can’t be counted out.

USA’s Cammile Adams qualified sixth in 2:07.83, while Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:07.87) also cleared 2:08 in what was a closely packed top seven.

Italy’s Stefanie Pirozzi (2:08.50), Germany’s Franziska Hentke (2:08.51), Canada’s Audrey Lacroix (2:09.13), Spain’s Judit Ignacio Sorribes (2:09.48), Great Britain’s Jemma Lowe (2:10.21), USA’s Maya DiRado (2:10.25), Canada’s Katerine Savard (2:10.72), Venezuela’s Andreina Pinto (2:10.74) and Brazil’s Joanna Maranhao Melo (2:11.14) also picked up spots in the semifinal heats.

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