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BARCELONA, Spain, August 1. LAST Worlds, the Germans scored their first medal in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke since 1978. This time around, Marco Koch led the way through prelims, and is gunning to become the first German victor in the event at the FINA World Championships.
Koch cruised to a 2:09.39 to lead prelims, and will look to better the bronze medal that compatriot Christian Vom Lehn turned in in 2011. Previously, Walter Kusch was the only other German to medal with bronze in 1978.
Great Britain’s Andrew Willis charged to second in 2:09.91, while two-time defending champion Daniel Gyurta qualified third in 2:09.94. He’s looking to join Michael Phelps, Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and Aaron Peirsol as threepeat winners at Worlds.
Finland’s Matti Mattsson finished fourth in 2:10.16, while world-record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi earned fifth in 2:10.17. Yamaguchi is making his big meet debut after breaking the world record a month following the 2012 London Olympics. His compatriot Ryo Tateishi finished sixth in 2:10.41.
Lithuania’s Giedrius Titenis (2:10.70) and Russia’s Viatcheslav Sinkevich (2:10.82) placed seventh and eighth. Luxembourg’s Laurent Carnol also posted a 2:10 with a 2:10.94 for ninth.
Slovakia’s Tomas Klobucnik (2:11.00), USA’s Kevin Cordes (2:11.40), Russia’s Marat Amaltdinov (2:11.41), Vom Lehn (2:11.45), Great Britain’s Michael Jamieson (2:11.47), USA’s BJ Johnson (2:11.64) and Greece’s Panagiotis Samilidis (2:11.71) picked up the rest of the lanes in semifinals.