ISTANBUL, Turkey, December 16. RYAN Lochte, now with a pair of world records this week, toyed with the field in the men's 200 back with a monster final lap after relaxing through the rest of the swim at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships.
Men's 200 back
Team USA went 1-2 as both Ryan Lochte and Ryan Murphy blasted their respective fields in prelims. Lochte, who cruised through most of his swim before posting a 25-second final lap, earned the top seed with a 1:49.71. That performance pushed him to fourth in the world this year without having really put together his top swim yet. Radoslaw Kawecki (1:48.51), Peter Bernek (1:49.41) and Yuki Shirai (1:49.69) are the only to swim faster. Lochte will be looking to become the first three time winner in the event, breaking a tie with Aaron Peirsol.
Murphy, meanwhile, finished second in 1:50.60 to move to fifth in the world rankings this year. He also had a strong closing 50 with a 27-second final lap. Kawecki (1:50.92), Australia's Ashley Delaney (1:51.20), Bernek (1:51.33), Japan's Kosuke Hagino (1:51.38), Australia's Travis Mahoney (1:51.68) and Germany's Christian Diener (1:52.25) all made the finale.
Women's 200 breast
USA's Laura Sogar put on a show in the distance breaststroke prelims with a scorching time of 2:17.85, becoming just the second swimmer under 2:18 this year. Rikke Moeller Pedersen leads the world with a 2:17.26 from the European Short Course Championships. Sogar's performance jumped her to eight all time as now just eight swimmers all time have broken 2:18. Pedersen, who took fourth in the long course equivalent of the event at the 2012 London Olympics, qualified second in 2:18.65.
Russia's Maria Temnikova (2:20.96), USA's Andrea Kropp (2:21.23), Jamaica's Alia Atkinson (2:21.69), Canada's Tera Van Beilen (2:21.84), Canada's Martha McCabe (2:21.91) and Japan's Kanako Watanabe (2:21.99) earned spots in the final as it took a sub-2:22 to vie for the world title.
Men's 200 fly
Heavy favorite Chad Le Clos of South Africa called it a meet by scratching out of the event after tweaking his shoulder. That opened the door for plenty of other swimmers to vie for the world title. Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov (1:52.64) and Japan's Kazuya Kaneda (1:53.14) qualified first and second. Kineda leads the world with a 1:51.08 from the Tokyo stop of the World Cup this year, while Skvortsov is fourth overall with a 1:51.77.
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh (1:53.26), Australia's Grant Irvine (1:53.74), Poland's Michal Poprawa (1:53.80), Japan's Yuki Kobori (1:53.85), USA's Bobby Bollier (1:53.87) and The Netherlands' Joeri Verlinden (1:53.91) snared the transfer spots into the finale as it took a sub-1:54 to make the finale.
Women's 200 free
The finale will be a battle as less than a second split the entire championship field out of prelims. Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos led the way with a 1:55.24, and is looking for her first medal of the meet. Russia's Veronika Popova finished second in 1:55.28 and Japan's Haruka Ueda checked in third with a 1:55.32 all out of heat six of eight.
New Zealand's Lauren Boyle, the 800 free champion, qualified fourth in 1:55.40, while Spain's Melanie Costa Schmid earned fifth in 1:55.42. Katinka Hosszu of Hungary will be looking to add to her four individual medals after qualifying sixth in 1:55.52, while USA's Allison Schmitt (1:55.77) and Australia's Angie Bainbridge (1:56.09) rounded out the championship heat.
Men's 400 medley relay
The U.S. had to clip Russia at the wall, just taking the top seed heading into the finale. Ryan Murphy (50.91), Mike Alexandrov (57.36), Tom Shields (50.91) and Anthony Ervin (46.42) topped the third of three heats with a 3:25.60, while Russia's Stanislav Donets (49.96), Viatcheslav Sinkevich (57.98), Viachelsav Prudnikov (51.35) and Evgeny Lagunov (46.44) placed second in 3:25.73. Australia's Robert Hurley (50.74), Kenneth To (57.63), Grant Irvine (51.58) and Kyle Richardson (47.23) took heat 1 with a third-seeded 3:27.49.
Brazil (3:27.49), Hungary (3:28.26), Italy (3:28.52), China (3:28.99) and Japan (3:29.00) also made the finale.