By John Lohn
MONTREAL, Canada, July 26. MUCH like the 200 butterfly on the male side of the competition, the women’s 200 freestyle is a wide-open affair. Capturing victory in her heat of the four-lap freestyle, France’s Solenne Figues earned the No. 1 seed for Wednesday’s championship race, as she negotiated the distance in 1:58.75, slightly ahead of the 1:58.79 from Slovenia’s Sara Isakovic.
The owner of the fastest time in the world this year, Italy’s Federica Pellegrini qualified third (1:58.82) and was followed by Great Britain’s Melanie Marshall (1:58.86). The top five qualifiers all competed in the second semifinal heat, with the fifth position for the final going to Australia’s Linda Mackenzie in a mark of 1:59.00.
Poland’s Paulina Barzycka took down the sixth position behind a swim of 1:59.18 and seventh and eighth went to China’s Yang Yu (1:59.31) and Sweden’s Josefine Lillhage (1:59.35). The United States’ Katie Hoff, who was second after the preliminaries, finished ninth in 1:59.36 and missed out on the final. Hoff got caught in the slower heat and couldn’t rally enough down the stretch of her race. Romania’s Camelia Potec, the Olympic champ, was 11th. Whitney Myers, the other U.S. representative, was 10th in 1:59.38.