Ye Shiwen (CHN) poses with her gold medal after winning the women's 200m individual medley finals during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Aquatics Centre.
Courtesy of: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
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BARCELONA, Spain, July 28. CHINA's Ye Shiwen had a breakout meet last year at the 2012 London Games and will be looking to add to her already legendary legacy with a potential second triumph in the women's 200-meter IM at the FINA World Championships.

Ye, who won the event in 2011 and is defending her title this year, is looking to join Katie Hoff as the only other swimmer to ever defend their world title in this event. Hoff accomplished the feat with wins in 2005 and 2007.


Ye has been under pretty regular pressure with claims of doping since posting an astonishing freestyle leg in the 400-meter IM at the London Games en route to gold, and only continued, consistent greatness is likely to shake some of the doubters.

Hungary's Katinka Hosszu had other plans this morning. After some near misses for hardware at the 2012 London Olympics, as well as the 2011 World Championships, Hosszu has undergone a metamorphosis as the 2012 FINA World Cup Queen. Hosszu has earned the nickname the Iron Lady with some ridiculous event schedules that sometimes run into the double digits, and that level of endurance helped this morning as Hosszu blasted Ye in a head-to-head battle in the final heat. Hosszu clocked a 2:08.45, holding off Ye even in the freestyle. That vaulted Hosszu to the top of the world, bettering Alicia Coutts' 2:08.63 from the Australian Nationals.

Ye, meanwhile, settled for the second seed heading into semis with a 2:10.20, and could just be keeping her powder dry until it matters. She already has a third-ranked 2:09.08 season best from Chinese Nationals earlier this year, and could definitely turn up the heat in later swims.

Australia's Emily Seebohm snared the third seed in 2:11.12, just missing her eighth-ranked season best of 2:11.11 from the Australian Nationals. The Stars and Stripes qualified fourth and fifth as Elizabeth Beisel (2:11.16) and Caitlin Leverenz (2:11.54) went back-to-back in heat three. Leverenz stands fourth in the world with a 2:10.13, while Beisel cracked the top 10 for the first time this year.

Great Britain's Siobhan-Marie O'Connor earned sixth in 2:11.64, while Coutts finished up a tough double with a seventh-place 2:11.88 after swimming the 100 fly to start the day.

Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia (2:12.11), Japan's Kanako Watanabe (2;12.28), Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:12.31), Great Britain's Sophie Allen (2:12.31), Japan's Miho Teramura (2:12.91), China's Zhang Wenqing (2:13.40), Russia's Viktroiia Andreeva (2:13.61), Canada's Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson (2;13.84) and Spain's Beatriz Gomez Cortes (2:13.98) also earned transfer spots into semis.



Results: FINA World Championships: Women's 200 IM Prelims

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