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BARCELONA, Spain, July 29. WITH the likes of Ruta Meilutyte throwing down near world records just one event prior, the men’s 200-meter freestylers had a much more controlled morning at the FINA World Championships.
Great Britain’s Robert Renwick led all qualifiers with a 1:46.88, ranking him just outside the top 10 in the world. Brazil’s Nicolas Oliveira finished second in 1:46.99 as the only other sub-1:47 of the morning as swimmers did what they needed to do to advance to semis.
The Netherlands’ Sebastiaan Verschuren clinched the third seed with a time of 1:47.24, while Japan’s busy Kosuke Hagino pushed his way into another extra swim with a fourth-ranked 1:47.33. Hagino is a heavy favorite in the 400 IM later in the week, but continues to put up strong times as one of the more versatile swimmers in the world.
Australia’s Cameron McEvoy finished fifth in 1:47.34, while reigning Olympic champion Yannick Agnel qualified sixth in 1:47.40 as he continues in his first big meet under new coach Bob Bowman. Russia’s Danila Izotov (1:47.76) and Belgium’s Pieter Timmers (1:47.89) earned seventh and eighth this morning.
Team USA’s Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer had fun in heat six, putting up matching times of 1:47.90 as the two eased through prelims en route to the semifinal round. Lochte, the defending champion, is looking to become the fourth man to ever win the 200 free twice along with Michael Gross, Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps.
New Zealand’s Matthew Stanley (1:48.01), Australia’s Thomas Fraser-Holmes (1:48.05), Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic (1:48.12), China’s Li Yunqi (1:48.18), China’s Wang Shun (1:48.19) and Germany’s Clemens Rapp (1:48.37) also made their way into the semifinal heats.