Roland Schoeman
Courtesy of: Peter H. Bick
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BARCELONA, Spain, July 28. SOUTH Africa's Roland Schoeman is already the only man to ever win the sprint fly event twice since FINA began offering it on the schedule in 2001, and he could win it a third time if this morning is a good indicator at the FINA World Championships.

The Olympic gold medalist from 2004 has continued to push forward with his career into his early 30s, and has had a bit of a resurgence of late after a change in training locations. This morning, he popped a 23.02 in the men's 50-meter fly to lead all qualifiers and move to second in the world behind only Fred Bousquet's 23.00 from French Nationals. Previously, Schoeman won the event in 2005 and 2007, and has missed the podium in 2009 and 2011.

Spain's Rafael Munoz Perez, meanwhile, is easily the host nation's favorite son in the event after qualifying second with a 23.17. He could potentially make a run at the title after taking bronze in 2009, and the roof of the facility might not be able to withstand the ovation he'd likely receive if he pulled off the victory. His swim this morning pushed him to seventh in the world rankings.

France's Florent Manaudou, who already has a 23.14 to his credit this season, finished third in 23.18, while Ukraine's Andrii Govorov snared fourth in 23.19. Italy's Piero Codia raced to fifth in 23.21, while USA's Matt Grevers still managed to turn in a 23.29 for sixth after jamming his finger on the blocks. Teammate Eugene Godsoe finished seventh in the sprint fly with a 23.31 heading into semis.

Defending champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil qualified eighth in 23.32 as he continues to shake off a knee injury from earlier in the year, while two-time runner-up Matt Targett qualified ninth in 23.36 and is looking to get over the hump after picking up silver the previous two editions of the sprint fly.

China's Wu Peng (23.43), Brazil's Nicholas Santos (23.45), Belarus' Yauhen Tsurkin (23.45), Bousquet (23.49), Great Britain's Ben Proud (23.50), Germany's Steffen Deibler (23.50) and Croatia's Mario Todorovic (23.53) pocketed the other transfer spots into the semifinal heats.

Results: FINA World Championships: Men's 50 Fly Prelims

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