2018 FINA World Short Course Championships: Murphy and Lazor Qualify First

Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

The final morning of the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships from Hangzhou, China is finally here with a short preliminary session. There were only five total preliminary events with three relays taking place. The Americans took the top seeds in four of the five events contested.

Annie Lazor and Ryan Murphy put up the top times in the individual events, while the American medley relay teams got themselves into lane four tonight. The Dutch were the other top seeded time in the women’s 4×50 free relay.

Women’s 4×50 Free Relay

The Netherlands qualified first in the women’s 4×50 free relay with a 1:36.33 on the last morning of the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China. The Dutch swam Femke Heemskerk (23.93), Kim Busch (24.21), Valerie van Roon (24.20) and Maaike de Waard (23.99) as Ranomi Kromowidjojo is expected to come in to strengthen the team in the final.

The Dutch are ahead of the United States (1:36.65), who swam Lia Neal (24.45), Olivia Smoliga (23.99), Veronica Burchill (24.44) and Erika Brown (23.77). Smoliga and Brown are expected to swim again in the final with Mallory Comerford and Madison Kennedy, who will both swim in the 50 free final tonight.

Australia is the third seed at 1:37.87 as they had 400 world record holder Ariarne Titmus make an appearance in the second leg, splitting a 24.71.

Russia (1:38.26), Japan (1:38.47), China (1:38.73), Czech Republic (1:39.04) and Germany (1:39.43) also qualified for the final.

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Men’s 200 Back

USA’s Ryan Murphy did not take a hard stroke in the 200 back heats on Sunday morning at the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China. Murphy qualified first ahead of a very stacked final at 1:49.26, as he and Mitch Larkin of Australia were the only two under 1:50 in the heats. Larkin will swim in lane five tonight after his 1:49.55 heat swim.

Murphy and Larkin are looking to take down three-time defending champion Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland, who is the third seed at 1:50.05. Kawecki has won the last three 200 back short course titles in 2012, 2014 and 2016. An American has taken a silver at the last five World Short Course Championships in this event, with Ryan LochteTyler Clary and Jacob Pebley taking those medals.

Pebley qualified for the final in eighth place at 1:50.80 as he just squeaked into the final.

2017 World long course Champion Evgeny Rylov (1:50.11) qualified in the fourth position. Christian Diener (1:50.31), Ryosuke Irie (1:50.51) and Xu Jiayu (1:50.65) also qualified for the final.

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Women’s 200 Breast

USA’s Annie Lazor continued the Americans’s strong showing at the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships, as she swam her one and only event on Sunday morning in Hangzhou. Lazor put up the top time in the 200 breast heats with a 2:18.99 as she was the only swimmer to break 2:20.

Lazor will be joined in the final by the other American Bethany Galat, who is also swimming in her only event at these championships. Galat placed fourth in the heats with a 2:20.58, as she is behind Belgium’s Fanny Lecluyse (2:20.31) and Russia’s Maria Temnikova (2:20.38).

The rest of the field is tightly bunched as second through eighth were separated by less than a full second. China got two finalists in Yu Jingyao (2:20.66) and Olympic IM Champion Ye Shiwen (2:20.73).

Spain’s Jessica Vall (2:21.12) and Marina Garcia (2:21.22) will swim in the outside lanes in tonight’s final.

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Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay

The Americans qualified quickest in the men’s 4×100 medley relay heats on the last day of the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China. The Americans swam a 3:23.22 as they are ahead of Brazil (3:23.86) and Germany (3:24.72) ahead of tonight’s final.

Matt Grevers (49.97), Michael Andrew (57.70), Jack Conger (49.45) and Blake Pieroni (46.10) set up the Americans for a gold tonight. The Americans have not won this event at the World Short Course Championships since 2012 as Brazil and Russia have won the last two titles.

The Americans are expected to bring in Ryan MurphyAndrew WilsonCaeleb Dressel and Ryan Held in for tonight’s final. Three of those four legs swam on the relay at Pan Pacs this summer, meaning the Americans could be very tough to take down tonight.

Brazil qualified second with Guilherme Guido (50.12), Diego Prado (57.11), Nicholas Santos (50.32) and Breno Correia (46.31) at 3:23.86.

The rest of the final was pretty tightly stacked as third through eighth are separated by a little over a second. Belarus (3:25.09), Russia (3:25.17), Lithuania (3:25.31), Japan (3:25.34) and Australia (3:25.74) qualified for the final.

Russia is expected to be the American’s biggest rivals as they are expected to bring in a whole new team to the final. They have the option of Evgeny Rylov or Kliment Kolesnikov on backstroke, Kirill Prigoda on breaststroke, and Vladimir Morozov on freestyle.

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Women’s 4×100 Medley Relay

The Americans continued their hot streak on the final morning of the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships with the top time in the women’s medley relay heats. Kathleen Baker (56.96), Melanie Margalis (1:04.85), Kendyl Stewart (56.29) and Lia Neal (52.63) put up a 3:50.73 in the heats.

The Americans are ahead of the Chinese (3:51.58) and the Australians (3:53.09) ahead of the final as they are expected to bring in Olivia SmoligaKatie MeiliKelsi Dahlia and Mallory Comerford into the final. All three of them medaled in the individual 100 with Smoliga taking gold, Meili and Dahlia taking silver, and Comerford taking bronze, so it is hard to see another country running them down in the final.

Australia should make some adjustments to their lineup, moving Emily Seebohm from the butterfly leg to the backstroke leg. Distance star Ariarne Titmus put up an impressive 52.92 freestyle anchor leg as she might end up staying on freestyle in the final. Australia did not have a 4×100 free relay at this meet.

Italy (3:53.89), Japan (3:55.08), Russia (3:55.11), Germany (3:57.30) and Canada (3:57.47) also qualified for the final.

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