FINA World Cup, Moscow: Missy Franklin Blazes 200 Back in First Prelim Session

MOSCOW, Russia, October 18. THE third meet on the FINA world cup circuit began this morning in the Russian capital with preliminary competition, with Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin marking their return to world cup swimming after a year away, and members of the USA Swimming youth team also in attendance.

Women's 800 freestyle timed finals
The early heat of the women's distance event saw Alena Zakurina of Russia post the fastest time of 9:09.19. Russia's Anna Sineva swam a 9:14.49 and Singapore's Nur Marina Chan posted a 9:21.38.

Men's 100 freestyle
Nikita Lobintsev of Russia was the top qualifier in prelims with a time of 47.85. Brent Hayden of Canada posted the second-fastest prelim time with a 48.20, and Australia's Eamon Sullivan was third in 48.32.

Sergei Fesikov of Russia (48.47), Tiago Venacio of Portugal (48.65), Russia's Alexander Sukhorukov (48.68), Australia's Matt Abood (48.86) and Russia's Evgeny Lagunov (48.96) will also swim in the final. Notably, Phelps posted the 11th-fastest time with a 49.30.

Women 200 freestyle
Allison Schmitt, who is redshirting from the University of Georgia and training at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, will be the top seed in tonight's final with a time of 1:57.09. Schmitt leads a 1-2-3 American contingent into the final with Chelsea Chenault qualifying second with a 1:57.14 and Missy Franklin third in 1:57.32. Franklin currently holds the top time in the world in the long course 200 free with a 1:55.06.

Rounding out the final eight are Russia's Vitalina Simonova (1:59.13), China's Guo Junjun (1:59.53), and Russia's Veronika Popova (1:59.55), Victoria Andreeva (2:00.24) and Ksenia Yuskova (2:00.50). Lia Neal of the United States also competed in prelims, and just missed the opportunity for a second swim with a prelim time of 2:00.59.

Men's 50 breaststroke
China's Li Xiayan topped the qualifying round with a 26.86. Russia earned seeds two through five in the final, with Sergey Geybel (27.28), Stanislav Lakhtyukhov (27.40), Igor Golovin (27.56) and Andrey Nokolaev (27.79) getting a second swim. Sixth seed went to Marco Koch of Germany (27.86), with Canada's Paul Kornfeld placing seventh (28.01). Russia's Denis Mitrofanov (28.08) will also compete in the final.

Women's 100 breaststroke
Valentina Artemyeva posted a 1:07.02 to lead prelims. Korea's Hye Jin Kim (1:07.85), China's Sun Ye (1:07.90), Kanako Watanabe of Japan (1:08.12), Russia's Vera Kalshinikova (1:08.13), Russia's Daria Deeva (1:08.15), Canada's Erica Morningstar (1:08.35) and Andrea Kropp of the United States (1:08.36) will swim in the final.

Men's 400 individual medley
With this event being swum as a timed final, nine swimmers stepped up this morning to challenge for early supremacy in the event. Ivan Trofimov of Russia posted the fastest time with a 4:16.49. Jacob Pebley of the United States was second in 4:16.95, and Andrey Krylov was third in 4:21.73. Rounding out the early heat was Russia's Mikhail Mikheev (4:22.72), Pavel Filatov of Russia (4:27.21), Egor Savchenko of Russia (4:29.09), Belarus' Artsiom Lapukhin (4:33.79) and Alexander Piskunov (4:34.85). Rinat Mustafin was disqualified.

Women's 100 butterfly
Sweden's Therese Alshammar will take lane four in tonight's final with her prelim time of 58.12. China's Lu Ying was second in 58.35 and Russia earned spots three through five in the final: Maria Ugolkova (59.12), Anastasia Lyazeva (59.35) and Irina Bespalova (59.41). China's Gong Jie (59.92), Russia's Veronika Popova (1:00.68) and Germany's Daniela Schreiber (1:00.72) also earned places in the final.

Men's 100 backstroke
Cheng Feiyi took the top qualifying spot with a 52.51, ahead of Russia's Artem Dubovskoy (52.89), Sergey Makov (53.02), Anton Anchin (53.59), Vitaly Melnikov (53.76), Vitaly Borisov (54.49) and Mikhail Noskov (54.55). Kenneth To of Australia will join Cheng as the non-Russians in the final with an eighth-seeded 54.67.

Women's 50 backstroke
Similar to the men's 100 backstroke prelim, only two non-Russians will compete in the women's sprint: Australia's Rachel Goh (27.36), who grabbed the top spot, and Belarus' Aliaksandra Kavaleva (28.46), who qualified sixth. Second through fifth went to reigning long course world champion Anastasia Zueva of Russia (27.59), Kseniya Moskvina (28.15), Alexandra Papusha (28.15) Margarita Nesterova (28.30). Seventh and eight place went to Maria Gromova (28.75) and Olga Klyyuchnikova (28.87).

Men's 200 butterfly
Chad Le Clos of South Africa, the current leader in the overall point rankings – and in the overall money tally – in the FINA World Cup, will take lane four in the final with his prelim time of 1:56.08. Michael Phelps was second in 1:56.33, with Japan's Hidemasa Sano third in 1:56.39. The remainder of the final will consist of Portugal's Diogo Carvalho (1:57.20), Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski (1:57.33), Serbia's Velimir Stjepanovic (1:57.50), Russia's Nikolay Skvortsov (1:58.06) and Russia's Sergey Strelnikov (1:59.27).

Women's 200 individual medley
Izumi Kato of Japan posted the fastest prelim time with a 2:12.51, just ahead of Russia's Victoria Andreeva's 2:12.84. Canada's Erica Morningstar (2:13.04) and Korea's Hye Ra Choi (2:13.04) tied for third, with the remaining final spots going to Ekaterina Andreeva of Russia (2:14.33), Korea's Seo Yeong Kim (2:14.43), Russia's Daria Belyakina (2:14.77) and Andrea Kropp of the United States (2:14.79). Hali Flickinger of the USA just missed a spot in the final with a ninth-place time of 2:15.14.

Men's 400 freestyle
Nikita Lobintsev of Russia will be the top seed in the final with a 3:46.97, with countrymen Denis Garanin (3:46.99) and Evgeny Kulikov (3:49.04) set to flank him in lanes three and five in the final. Germany's Paul Biedermann, the world record holder in the event, placed fourth with a 3:49.63. Also qualifying for the final were Russia's Dmitry Bokankhel (3:50.69), Mikhail Polishchuk of Russia (3:50.75), Serbia's Stefan Sorak (3:51.06) and Victor Polyakov of Russia (3:51.84).

Women's 50 freestyle
Therese Alshammar earned her second top qualifying time of the day with a 24.89, the only swim under 25 seconds. Allison Schmitt of the United States placed second in 25.29, with Germany's Daniela Schreiber (25.32), Lia Neal of the USA (25.33) and China's Zheng Yifei (25.34) separated by the smallest of margins. Sixth through eighth place went to Natalia Lovtsova of Russia (25.43), Darya Stepanyuk of the Ukraine (25.44) and Serbia's Miroslava Najdanovski (25.45).

Men's 200 breaststroke
Russia's Oleg Kostin (2:08.76) and Viacheslav Sinkevich (2:08.90) posted the fastest prelim times, and the only swims under 2:09. Rounding out the championship final field will be Japan's Kazuki Otsuka (2:09.19), Naoya Tomita of Japan (2:09.81), Mike Brown of Canada (2:10.00), Sergey Silin of Russia (2:10.03), Chase Kalisz of the USA (2:10.22) and Anton Blednykh of Russia (2:10.59).

Men's 100 individual medley
Michael Phelps of the USA will show off his sprint medley prowess in the final with a top seed time of 53.91. Kenneth To of Australia placed second in 54.16, while Yuma Kosaka of Japan was third with a 54.42. Dmitry Zhilin of Russia (54.50), Daiya Seto of Japan (54.56), Andrey Grechin of Russia (55.37), Diogo Carvalho of Portugal (55.55) and Stanislav Lakhtyukhov (56.14) rounded out the top eight.

Women's 200 backstroke
Missy Franklin, the reigning long course world champion in this event, blazed through the prelims with a top time of 2:02.84. The time is just eight tenths off her own American record of 2:02.01, which she set on the way to winning a silver medal at last December's short course worlds. Notably, the world record belongs to Japan's Shiho Sakai at 2:00.18, set in November 2009.

Liu Jing of China will line up next to Franklin in the final with a second-place time of 2:09.94. Russia completed the remainder of the top eight after prelims: Alexandra Papusha (2:10.05), Anastasia Zueva (2:10.52), Maria Gromova (2:11.55), Kristina Vershanina (2:12.53), Valentina Zapatrina (2:14.39) and Maria Bobrovnik (2:14.48).

Men's 50 butterfly
International acclaim fills the resumes of the top four seeds in this event. Australia's Geoff Huegill, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, swam fastest in prelims with a 23.12. Milorad Cavic, the 2009 world champ, was second in 23.76. Tyler McGill, the reigning world bronze medalist in the 100 fly, qualified fourth with a 23.88. Evgeny Korotyshkin, the short course world record holder in the 100 butterfly, placed fourth in 23.93. Rounding out the championship final field are Tiago Venacio of Portugal (23.94), Alexander Padalets of Russia (24.09), Nikita Prokofyev of Russia (24.11) and Evgeniy Lazuka of Azerbijan (24.19).