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BARCELONA, Spain, August 1. AFTER slaying some dragons en route to winning an Olympic gold medal in the men’s 200-meter backstroke last summer, USA’s Tyler Clary is looking to add another victory to his legacy after topping prelims at the FINA World Championships.
Clary clocked a 1:56.76 and is looking to improve upon his bronze-medal effort from 2011 when he finished behind Ryan Lochte and Ryosuke Irie. Clary’s been a second faster this year with a 1:55.58 to rank fifth in the world this year, but he’s going to need a much stronger time as he moves through the semifinal round.
Great Britain’s Craig McNally turned in a swift 1:57.18 to qualify second, while defending champion Lochte posted a 1:57.19 to finish just behind McNally in the second heat of prelims this morning. Lochte has been on the podium in this event for quite some time. He first won bronze in 2005 behind Aaron Peirsol and Markus Rogan, before winning in 2007 ahead of Peirsol and Rogan. In 2009, he dropped back down to bronze behind Peirsol and Irie, before downing Irie and Clary in 2011. This could be his fifth straight medal in the event.
Hungary’s Peter Bernek placed fourth in 1:57.20, while Germany’s Yannick Lebherz (1:57.33) and Australia’s Matson Lawson (1:57.48) finished fifth and sixth in qualifying.
The versatile Kosuke Hagino continued his epic slate of swims with a seventh-seeded 1:57.52, while compatriot Irie cruised in prelims with an eighth-place 1:57.53.
Great Britain’s Christopher Walker-Hebborn (1:57.95), Hungary’s Gabor Balog (1:57.98), Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki (1:57.99), China’s Xu Jiayu (1:58.29), Italy’s Federico Turrini (1:58.54), Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys (1:59.11), Brazil’s Leonardo De Deus (1:59.17) and South Africa’s Darren Murray (1:59.19) claimed the rest of the transfer spots into semis.