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BARCELONA, Spain, August 2. THE four Americans swimming in the preliminaries of the men’s 800 freestyle relay this morning probably feel a little more comfortable this morning than their female teammates did yesterday in the same event.
While the four American women had to fight for only one spot in last night’s final, the men have two spots available to them. Conor Dwyer and Ryan Lochte will sit out the heats of this events. Matt McLean, Michael Klueh, Charlie Houchin and Ricky Berens are swimming this morning, competing for the chance to fill the other two relay spots in tonight’s final.
This will mark Houchin’s and Klueh’s racing debuts at the 2013 world championships, and Kleuh’s long course worlds debut. Houchin swam the 400 freestyle at the 2011 edition, placing 14th overall. Klueh has experience on this relay, winning gold with McLean, Dwyer and Lochte on the 800 free relay at last December’s short course world championships.
McLean swam in the 400 freestyle on Sunday, placing 13th overall. Berens was in the prelims of the 400 free relay on Sunday, splitting 47.56 on the third leg.
France, expected to challenge the United States for gold tonight, is not taking any chances in the heats. They are putting Yannick Agnel, the 200 free champion, on the leadoff leg this morning, and including Jeremy Stravius, the man who anchored the French to gold in the 400 free relay, in the morning swim. Lorys Bourelly and Gregory Mallet will join them in the heats. Mallet participated in the Olympic final of this event with Agnel and Stravius, winning silver behind the Americans.
Australia and China, the two teams that could fight for bronze, are leaving off their top stars in the heats. Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Cameron McEvoy will likely swim for Australia tonight, while Sun Yang will give the Chinese a big boost in tonight’s final.