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BARCELONA, Spain, August 2. A breakout winner of the men’s 50-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics, France’s Florent Manaudou is looking to demonstrate some consistency with a win this year at the FINA World Championships.
Manaudou threw down the top time of the splash-and-dash in prelims with a 21.72 as he eased off his swim heading into the wall. He has more in the tank as evidenced by a third-ranked 21.55 from French Nationals this year. Manaudou could win his second gold medal of the meet after helping the French to the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay victory on day one.
Two-time defending world champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil posted the second-fastest time of the morning with a 21.76. He also has the potential for a much greater time during semis and finals, but is shaking off a knee injury. The injury didn’t seem to bother him in the 50 fly, however, as he won his second straight title earlier in the week.
If Cielo can pull off the win in the 50-meter free, he’d become just the fifth swimmer to threepeat at Worlds. Last night, Ryan Lochte joined the exclusive club with his third win in the 200 IM as only he, Michael Phelps, Aaron Peirsol, Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett have pulled off the feat. Cielo definitely has a shot to join them, and claim his sixth long course world title.
Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov (21.80), Australia’s Matthew Abood (21.84), USA’s Anthony Ervin (21.87), USA’s Nathan Adrian (21.88) and Russia’s Vlad Morozov (21.95) all broke 22 seconds to round out the top seven heading into semis.
Brazil’s Marcelo Chierighini (22.01), Hungary’s Krisztian Takacs (22.01), Japan’s Shinri Shioura (22.02), Australia’s James Magnussen (22.04), South Africa’s Roland Schoeman (22.04), Russia’s Andrey Grechin (22.08), Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell (22.09), France’s Fred Bousquet (22.11) and Romania’s Norbert Trandafir (22.25) also earned spots in the semifinal heats.