2018 FINA World Short Course Championships: Dressel Scratches 50 Fly, Titmus Leads 400 Free Heats on Day Four

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Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia Ltd.

The fourth preliminary session of the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships from Hangzhou, China will feature six preliminary events. The session will start with a swim-off in the men’s 50 free for the final spot in the final tonight. Jesse Puts and Pawel Juraszek will swim in that race to start the session.

The rest of the heats session will follow as planned with the men’s 4×50 free relay, women’s 50 back, men’s 50 fly, women’s 400 free, women’s 100 breast and men’s 4×200 free relay.

Men’s 50 Free Swim-Off

Pawel Juraszek got the morning started with a 20.98 in the 50 free swim-off for the last place in the final, which will be held later tonight. Juraszek won the swim-off over 2016 champion Jesse Puts of the Netherlands (21.08).

Both swimmers improved on their semi-final time of 21.12. Puts will not have a chance to defend his 2016 title and will have to watch the final from the stands.

Caeleb DresselBen ProudVladimir Morozov and Cameron McEvoy will vie for the medals in the finals tonight.

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Men’s 4×50 Free Relay

Italy’s 4×50 free relay posted the top time in the heats with a 1:24.10 as Santo Condorelli (21.32), Andrea Vergani (20.80), Lorenzo Zazzeri (20.99) and Alessandro Miressi (20.99) are seeded just ahead of the Russians (1:24.18), the Americans (1:24.66) and the Australians (1:24.88).

The Americans had Michael Andrew (21.33), Michael Jensen (21.23), Kyle DeCoursey (21.31) and Jack Conger (20.79) swimming for them as Caeleb Dressel is expected to join the team in the final.

South Africa (1:25.10), Belarus (1:25.49), Japan (1:25.82) and Germany (1:26.22) also qualified for the final as it could come down to four or five teams for the gold medal.

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Women’s 50 Back

World record holder Etiene Medeiros of Brazil put up a 26.13 as every single woman qualified with a 26 second 50 back on day four at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou. Medeiros is ahead of Fu Yuanhui, who heard the cheers from the Chinese crowd as she posted a 26.26 for the second seed.

American Olivia Smoliga (26.41), who officially broke the American Record earlier in the meet with a 25.97, qualified third this morning at 26.41. There were some near misses for the semi-finals with Kathleen Baker (26.77) and Emily Seebhom (26.81) placing 15th and 16th respectively.

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Men’s 50 Fly

Brazil’s Nicholas Santos, who broke the world record earlier in the year at the World Cup circuit, posted the top time in the 50 fly on Friday morning at the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China. Santos put up a 22.41 in the heats as he will be chasing his world record of 21.75 from the Budapest World Cup. Santos has a chance to be the oldest World Champion in swimming. He is 38.

Santos is ahead of 22-year-old Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago, who qualified second at 22.53. Carter is ahead of Germany’s Marius Kusch (22.59) and two-time defending World Champion Chad Le Clos (22.67). Carter swam at the University of Southern California while Kusch is a senior at Queens in Charlotte.

Michael Andrew advanced to the semi-finals with his 22.93 heat swim as the other American Caeleb Dressel scratched to focus on his 50 free final tonight. Another notable scratch was Great Britain’s Ben Proud, who was the 2017 World Long Course Champion in this event.

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Women’s 400 Free

Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, who won the 200 free final earlier in the week, will be the top seed in the 400 free final on day four at the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou. Titmus was the only one to break four minutes as she swam a 3:58.58. Titmus is ahead of American Leah Smith (4:00.46) and China’s Wang Jianjiahe (4:00.73).

This will be a very interesting final as Titmus, Smith and Wang are widely regarded as the three best distance swimmers in the world after Katie Ledecky. With no Ledecky in the picture, it will be a very competitive race. Titmus challenged the world record pace for 200 meters, but fell off over the second half. Titmus might have a chance to take down Wang’s world record that she set at the Budapest World Cup earlier this year.

China also got another finalist in Li Bingjie (4:01.82). Russia got two finalists with Anna Egorova (4:02.31) and Valeriia Salamatina (4:04.51). Germany’s Sarah Kohler (4:02.79) and Italy’s Erica Musso (4:03.37) also qualified for the final.

Italy’s Simona Quadarella (4:04.94) and USA’s Haley Anderson (4:05.89) notably missed the final, placing 9th and 12th respectively.

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Women’s 100 Breast

American Katie Meili had the fastest 100 breast time in the preliminaries on the fourth day of the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou. Meili swam a 1:03.76 on Friday morning as she and Alia Atkinson of Jamaica were the only two under 1:05. Atkinson qualified second in 1:04.34.

Italy’s Martina Carraro (1:05.06) and Belgium’s Fanny Lecluyse (1:05.06) tied for the third seed and China’s Shi Jinglin (1:05.24) and Italy’s Arianna Castiglioni (1:05.24) tied for the fifth seed.

American Molly Hannis scratched the race as she went home because of a death in her family.

Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte (1:06.29) barely made it to semi-finals as she is 15th for tonight.

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Men’s 4×200 Free Relay

Russia and the United States set up a match race for the men’s 4×200 free relay final tonight. Russia will be the top seed after swimming a 6:51.17 this morning at the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China. Mikhail Dovgalyuk (1:43.58), Ivan Girev (1:42.31), Vladislav Grinev (1:43.02) and Aleksandr Krasnykh (1:42.26) qualified first for the Russians with the Americans in second at 6:52.81.

The Americans had Kieran Smith (1:43.30), Jack Conger (1:43.33), Jacob Pebley (1:43.50) and Zach Harting (1:42.68) swimming for them as Blake Pieroni will be expected to join the team as well as possibly Zane Grothe and maybe Caeleb Dressel or Ryan Held. Dressel will have his hands full tonight with the 4x50m free relay and the 50 free final.

Italy is the third seed at 6:55.97, followed by China (6:56.08) and Australia (6:57.74). China notably had Sun Yang swim the second leg as he made his first appearance at the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships, splitting a solid 1:43.01 for China. Sun is not entered in any individual events this week.

Brazil (6:58.26), Sweden (6:59.91) and Portugal (7:02.19) also qualified for the final.

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