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BARCELONA, Spain, July 29. ONE of the highlight event in today’s preliminaries will be the women’s 100 backstroke, featuring the three Olympic medalists from London making a run at this year’s world championship title.
Swimming in the third of five heats in the event will be Japan’s Aya Terakawa, who reigned for most of the year as the fastest swimmer in the event with her 58.84 from the Japanese world trials. Terakawa was fifth in the 100 back at the 2011 world championships, and will be looking for her first world championship medal in the event.
In heat four will be reigning Olympic champion Missy Franklin of the United States, who did not race this event in 2011 in Shanghai because she did not qualify to swim it there for the United States. Franklin posted the fastest time of 2013 at the USA world trials, a 58.67 that approaches her American record of 58.33. Also of interest in the same heat is Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who will be the top seed in tonight’s 200 individual medley finals. Hosszu is the 11th seed in the 100 backstroke, and could get a second swim in the event.
Emily Seebohm is the top seed in today’s heats, based on her 58.23 from the semifinals of the London Olympics. Seebohm was fourth in the 100 backstroke in 2011 and has the third-fastest swim of 2013 with her 59.17 from the Australian world trials. Seebohm was the bronze medalist in the 100 back at the 2009 world championships, and will put a heavy focus on securing another medal now that she has scratched from the final of the 200 individual medley. Elizabeth Pelton of the United States will race in lane five next to Seebohm in today’s heats, looking to secure her first medal in the world championships.
The men’s 100 backstroke also offers intrigue, as the co-defending world champions from France, Camille Lacourt and Jeremy Stravius, will race in today’s heats. Stravius is the third seed in the event and will race in the fourth of six heats, while Lacourt is 11th overall and will swim in heat five. Stravius will have some momentum going into the race, after his gold medal from the 400 free relay last night.
Also swimming in heat five will be Japan’s Ryosuke Irie, who will look to defend or improve on his bronze medal from 2011 in the event. Irie comes in as the second-fastest qualifier. The top seed is reigning Olympic champion Matt Grevers, who is using his 52.16 from the Olympics as his seed time. Grevers did not compete at the 2011 world championships, but had a spectacular 2012 with three Olympic medals.
Katie Ledecky will compete in the preliminaries of the women’s 1500 freestyle this morning, coming off an amazing gold-medal swim in the 400 freestyle last night. Ledecky became the second-fastest performer in history in the 400 free, and will chase Kate Ziegler’s world record in tomorrow’s 1500 free final.
Today’s events in preliminaries:
Women’s 100 backstroke
Men’s 100 backstroke
Women’s 100 breaststroke
Men’s 200 freestyle
Women’s 1500 freestyle