Olivia Smoliga Sets American Record During Day Four Prelims at Worlds

ISTANBUL, Turkey, December 15. A day after smoking the world record in the 200 IM, Ryan Lochte put the 100 IM record on notice with a smooth effort at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships. Meanwhile, 100 back champion Olivia Smoliga took down the 50 back American record.

Women's 50 back
The first heat of prelims started off with a bang as China's Zhao Jing ripped off a time of 26.69 to move to second in the world this year behind Rachel Goh's 26.66 from the Beijing stop of the World Cup circuit. Meanwhile, Olivia Smoliga struck down the American record in the sprint back with a time of 26.75 for the second seed. That performance cleared Natalie Coughlin's record of 27.08 set in New York in 2004. Coughlin also had a relay leadoff 100 back split of 26.98 from Atlanta last December, but Smoliga sprinted past that time as well to move to 18th all time in the event.

Goh cruised into the third seed with a 26.86, while Poland's Aleksandra Urbanczyk placed fourth in 26.95 to round out the sub-27s.

Czech's Simona Baumrtova (27.01), Great Britain's Georgia Davies (27.07), Australia's Grace Loh (27.21), Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (27.27), Brazil's Etiene Medeiros (27.30), Italy's Arianna Barbieri (27.31), Denmark's Mie Nielsen (27.36), China's Zhou Yanxin (27.45), Croatia's Sanja Jovanovic (27.48), Colombia's Carolina Colorado (27.51), Brazil's Fabiola Molina (27.52) and The Netherlands' Kira Toussaint (27.56) comprised the rest of the semifinal field.

Men's 100 free
The morning crowd held back, doing just enough to get into the semifinal heats. Russia's Evgeny Lagunov led the way with a 47.34, well off his third-ranked 46.52 from the European Short Course Championships. Italy's Luca Dotto qualified second in 47.43, while USA's Matt Grevers cruised with a third-seeded 47.51. Russia's Vlad Morozov, who smoked the 50 free last night, posted a fourth-seeded 47.58 this morning. He leads the world with a 45.68 from the Euro Short Course Champs. USA's Jimmy Feigen qualified fifth in 47.63.

Australia's Tommaso D'Orsogna (47.64), Australia's Kyle Richardson (47.64), Italy's Filippo Magnini (47.76), Turkey's Kemal Gurdal (47.79), China's Lu Zhiwu (47.80), Lithuania's Mindaugas Sadauskas (47.82), Cuba's Hanser Garcia (47.84), Poland's Konrad Czerniak (47.95), Brazil's Guilherme Santos (48.04), Paraguay's Ben Hockin (48.08) and Japan's Kenji Kobase (48.08) also snared spots in the semifinal field.

Women's 100 fly
China's Liu Zige touched out Canada's Noemie Thomas, 57.31 to 57.32, for the top seed out of the preliminary heats, while Great Britain's Jemma Lowe qualified third in 57.53. USA's Claire Donahue (57.58), Sweden's Louise Hansson (57.81), USA's Kathleen Hersey (57.83) and Brazil's Daynara De Paula (57.87) also cleared 58 seconds to qualify fifth through seventh.

Canada's Katerine Savard (58.01), Japan's Nao Kobayashi (58.10), Italy's Ilaria Bianchi (58.15), Japan's Kona Fujita (58.22), Finland's Emilia Pikkarainen (58.34), Italy's Silvia Di Pietro (58.36), Austria's Birgit Koschischek (58.39), Hong Kong's Sze Hang Yu (58.50) and Russia's Veronika Popova (58.54) snared the rest of the transfer spots into the semifinals.

Men's 100 IM
The morning after breaking the 200 IM world record as the first man under the 1:50 barrier, Ryan Lochte shook off the cobwebs with a smooth 51.75 in the sprint medley. That swim put him in position to win this event for the third straight time. He currently shares the record for more wins in the event with world-record holder Peter Mankoc with two wins. Mankoc's world record of 50.76 could definitely be in trouble with how Lochte has been swimming.

“[My fans] have supported me through my entire swimming career. Through the good times and the bad times they have always been behind me,” Lochte said.

Mankoc could try to have something to say about that, however, qualifying into semis with an 11th-seeded 53.92. Mankoc is looking for his fifth medal in this event, already holding the record with four medals having picked up gold or silver from 2002 until 2008. He placed ninth in 2010.

Australia's Kenneth To, the FINA World Cup men's winner, qualified second in 52.58, but has been much faster with a second-ranked 51.43 from Dubai on the World Cup tour, while Sweden's Simon Sjoding placed third this morning in 53.08. Japan's Daiya Seto checked in fourth with a 53.49, while world-leading George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago took fifth in 53.51. Bovell has paced the world this year with a 51.20 from the Berlin stop of the World Cup.

Japan's Takuro Fujii (53.57), Israel's Gal Nevo (53.61), Portugal's Diogo Carvalho (53.64), USA's Conor Dwyer (53.68), Estonia's Martti Aljand (53.82), Canada's Jake Tapp (54.06), Denmark's Daniel Skaaning (54.13), Slovenia's Robert Zbogar (54.21), Poland's Jan Switkowski (54.32) and Lithuania's Mindaugas Sadauskas (54.43) will also vie for a spot in the championship finale as part of the semifinal field.

Women's 50 free
World-leading Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus cruised to the top seed with a 24.27. She has the top time this year with a 23.85 from the European Short Course Championships, the only person with a sub-24 second performance this year. Great Britain's Fran Halsall posted a 24.41 for the second seed to move into the top 10 this year. USA's Christine Magnuson clinched third in 24.42, while 100-meter free victory Britta Steffen qualified fourth in 24.50.

Brazil's Flavia Cazziolato (24.58), Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray (24.60), Australia's Marieke Guehrer (24.64), Russia's Svetlana Kniaginina (24.70), Germany's Daniela Schreiber (24.81), Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala (24.82), France's Anna Santamans (24.87), Australia's Sally Foster (24.90), South Africa's Trudi Maree (24.92), China's Chen Xinyi (24.95), Canada's Chantal Van Landeghem (24.97) and Japan's Miki Uchida (25.00) finished fifth through 16th for the semifinal spots.

Denmark's Mie Nielsen, USA's Jessica Hardy and Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte were notable scratches.

Women's 200 IM
The finale definitely has the chance to be special with some of the names involved tonight. FINA World Cup Queen Katinka Hosszu ripped off a 2:07.07 out of the final prelim heat to take the top seed. She has a world-leading 2:05.78 to her credit from the European Short Course Championships. She already has won two golds and a bronze this week, and is gunning for more hardware.

Olympic champion Ye Shiwen posted a 2:08.09 to earn the second seed. She has the second-best time of the year this year already with a 2:06.10, while Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos qualified third in 2:08.48. Great Britain's Hannah Miley, the 400 IM victory, touched fourth in 2:08.86, while Ukraine's Ganna Dzerkal qualified fifth in 2:09.41.

USA's Maya Dirado (2:09.52), Great Britain's Sophie Allen (2:09.94) and USA's Melanie Margalis (2:10.42) will also compete for the world title this evening.

Men's 50 breast
Norway's Alex Hetland raced to the top time in the sprint breast with a time of 26.60, off his third-ranked 26.20, while France's Florent Manaudou showed he can sprint anything with a second-ranked 26.67. That swim is just off his fifth-ranked 26.29. Brazil's Felipe Lima (26.72) and Ireland's Barry Murphy (26.76) qualified third and fourth.

USA's Kevin Cordes (26.77), Russia's Sergei Geibel (26.77), Brazil's Joao Gomes Jr. (26.83), Italy's Mattia Pesce (26.83), USA's Mike Alexandrov (26.91), Slovenia's Damir Dugonjic (26.92), South Africa's Giulio Zorzi (26.93), Czech's Petr Bartunek (26.93), Japan's Koichiro Okazaki (26.98), China's Li Xiayan (27.03) and Slovenia's Emil Tahirovic (27.18) qualified fifth through 15th. Italy's Fabio Scozzoli, the top swimmer coming into the meet with a 26.18 with Cameron van der Burgh (25.95) not competing, just barely made semis with a 27.21.

Women's 400 free relay
Team USA's Lia Neal (53.70), Allison Schmitt (53.16), Shannon Vreeland (53.34) and Olivia Smoliga (54.07) led the way in the morning with a 3:34.27. The Stars and Stripes are looking to overcome a losing streak in this event, having not won it since 2004.

Australia's Sally Foster (53.62), Angie Bainbridge (53.24), Brianna Throssell (54.79) and Marieke Guehrer (53.61) won the first heat with a second-seeded time of 3:35.26, while Denmark's Mie Nielsen (53.66), Pernille Blume (54.12), Kelly Rasmussen (54.84) and Jeanette Ottesen Gray (53.36) finished third overall with a 3:35.98.

Brazil (3:36.36), China (3:37.43), Russia (3:37.62), Great Britain (3:38.20) and Japan (3:38.75) also made the finale this evening.

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