FINA World Short Course Championships: Day Three Prelims

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, December 17. THE third day of preliminary action at the FINA World Short Course Championships came to a close this morning with some impressive swims.

Men's 50 back
Russia's Stanislav Donets raced to a meet-record time of 23.24 for the top spot in the sprint back semis. That swim beat the 23.41 shared by Liam Tancock from 2008 and China's Sun Xiaolei from an earlier heat that seeded him second. Donets has much more left in the tank as he already owns the top-ranked effort in the world this year with a 22.74 from the European Short Course Championships. Sun's time, however, beat the Chinese record of 23.73 he set in 2008 and 2009. Today's swim pushed Sun to fourth in the world rankings.

USA's Nick Thoman qualified third overall in 23.49, while Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber (23.66), Australia's Ben Treffers (23.73), France's Jeremy Stravius (23.75), France's Camille Lacourt (23.78), USA's David Plummer (23.88) and Brazil's Guilherme Guido (23.88) were among the top nine finishers.

Germany's Stefan Herbst (23.98), Italy's Mirco Di Tora (24.01), Italy's Damiano Lestingi (24.07), Israel's Guy Barnea (24.09), Belarus' Pavel Sankovich (24.16), Canada's Jake Tapp (24.20) and Russia's Arkady Vyatchanin (24.20) comprised the rest of the semifinal field.

Women's 200 back
USA's Missy Franklin surpassed the ratified American record in prelims with a sterling time of 2:03.26. That swim erased Natalie Coughlin's 2:03.62 from East Meadow in 2001 from the record books. Margaret Hoelzer, however, owns the fastest time in the event by an American with a 2:02.72 from the Duel in the Pool last December. USA Swimming did not ratify the record since it had put a techsuit ban into place domestically in Oct. 2009, even though Hoelzer swam the time legally under the allowed FINA rules at the time. FINA did not implement a worldwide techsuit ban until Jan. 1, 2010.

Franklin moved to second in the world rankings behind only Alexianne Castel's 2:03.01 from the French Short Course Championships earlier this month. Castel, meanwhile, finished second in 2:03.51, while China's Zhou Yanxin set a Chinese record with a third-seeded 2:04.37. That performance crushed the previous national mark of 2:06.09 set by He Cihong.

Ukraine's Daryna Zevina (2:04.62), The Netherlands' Sharon van Rouwendaal (2:04.63), USA's Madison White (2:05.93), Czech's Simona Baumrtova (2:06.13) and Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:06.50) snatched the rest of the transfer spots into the finale. Van Rouwendaal set a Dutch record, breaking the 2:06.62 set by Femke Heemskerk back in 2008.

Men's 50 fly
Quite a few 22s went up on the scoreboard in the men's sprint fly qualifying rounds. Venezuela's Albert Subirats led the way with a 22.79, while Kenya's Jason Dunford touched second in 22.80. Brazil's Glauber Silva (22.85) and Nicholas Santos (22.87) earned third and fourth. Australia's Geoff Huegill (22.92) and Japan's Masayuki Kishida (22.98) qualified fifth and sixth to make up the rest of the 22s.

Ukraine's Andrii Govorov (23.05), Germany's Steffen Deibler (23.10), China's Wu Peng (23.12), Russia's Nikita Konovalov (23.12), USA's Tyler McGill (23.16), South Africa's Roland Schoeman (23.22), Croatia's Mario Todorovic (23.22), Spain's Rafael Munoz Perez (23.25), Sweden's Lars Frolander (23.27) and Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin (23.35) earned the rest of the spots in the semifinal heats.

Women's 100 breast
USA's Rebecca Soni cruised to the top seed in the event with a strong time of 1:04.64. That swim put her second in the world this year behind only Leisel Jones' 1:03.63 from July. China's Ji Liping qualified second in 1:05.32, edging Sun Ye's Chinese record of 1:05.55 set last year in Stockholm. Jones, meanwhile, qualified third overall in 1:05.36.

Russia's Yuliya Efimova touched fourth in 1:05.68, while The Netherlands' Moniek Nijhuis placed fifth in 1:05.75. Sweden's Jennie Johansson (1:05.79), Denmark's Rikke Moeller Pedersen (1:05.84) and Australia's Sarah Katsoulis (1:06.01) finished sixth through eighth.

Sweden's Joline Hostman (1:06.14), USA's Micah Lawrence (1:06.53), Jamaica's Alia Atkinson (1:06.77), Japan's Mina Matsushima (1:06.77), Canada's Martha McCabe (1:06.80), Russia's Daria Deyeva (1:06.83), China's Chen Huijia (1:07.18) and Iceland's Hfranhildur Luthersdottir (1:07.26) also made semis.

Men's 400 free
The middle distance studs eased through prelims with some strong performances. Tunisia's Ous Mellouli checked in with a 3:39.64 for second in the world rankings, while USA's Peter Vanderkaay qualified second in 3:39.96 for fourth in the rankings.

Denmark's Mads Glaesner (3:39.98), Tunisia's Ahmed Mathlouthi (3:40.07), France's Yannick Agnel (3:40.16), Russia's Nikita Lobintsev (3:40.31), France's Sebastien Rouault (3:40.77) and Germany's Paul Biedermann (3:41.44) set up a star-studded finale. Notably, Agnel lowered his French record of 3:41.42 set last month in Stockholm.

Men's 200 IM
With the men's 400 IM world record in the bag from last night (3:55.50), USA's Ryan Lochte will be looking to claim the 200 IM global standard this evening after clocking a 1:53.39 for the top seed. Darian Townsend's mark of 1:51.55 from last year should be within reach of Lochte, who is on fire so far this meet.

Austria's Markus Rogan finished second in qualifying with a 1:53.66, while Brazil's Henrique Rodrigues took third in 1:53.96.

USA's Tyler Clary (1:54.69), Lithuania's Vytautas Janusaitis (1:54.80), Australia's Kenneth To (1:54.88), Austria's Dinko Jukic (1:55.14) and Australia's Tommaso D'Orsogna (1:55.41) also made the finale.

Women's 400 free
The big guns will be on display in the women's middle distance event as some top swimmers will be doing battle in the finale. USA's Katie Hoff paced prelims with a 4:00.37 to move to third in the world rankings. France's Coralie Balmy touched second in 4:00.73, while Australia's Kylie Palmer placed third in 4:01.45.

Italy's Federica Pellegrini (4:02.44), USA's Chloe Sutton (4:02.77), Spain's Patricia Castro Ortega (4:02.85), Spain's Erika Villaecija Garcia (4:04.88) and China's Li Xuanxu (4:05.25) will all be looking for sub -4:00 times to earn the title.

Men's 200 breast
Hungary's Daniel Gyurta (2:04.46) and Japan's Naoya Tomita (2:04.93) both cleared 2:05 for the top-two seeds in the finale. Tomita already has the top-ranked time of 2:03.18 from October, while Gyurta became just the third man under 2:05 this year, along with Marco Koch's 2:04.86 from the European Short Course Championships. Gyurta's effort edged Brendan Hansen's meet record of 2:04.98 set back in 2004.

Koch touched third in 2:05.00, while South Africa's Neil Versfeld grabbed fourth in 2:05.14. Russia's Grigory Falko (2:05.80), USA's Eric Shanteau (2:05.84), Australia's Brenton Rickard (2:06.00) and France's Hugues Duboscq (2:06.36) earned the rest of the lanes in the finale.

Women's 400 medley relay
China's Gao Chang, Zhao Jing, Guo Fan and Li Zhesi nabbed the meet record in prelims with a time of 3:50.69. That swim eclipsed the 3:51.36 set by the U.S. back in 2008, and dominated the Asian record of 3:55.76 set by China in 2006.

Australia's Rachel Goh, Sarah Katsoulis, Felicity Galvez and Emma McKeon touched second overall in 3:52.73, while the United States' foursome of Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Christine Magnuson and Amanda Weir picked up the third seed with a 3:53.66.

Sweden (3:54.80), Canada (3:56.82), Russia (3:57.11), Italy (3:59.27) and Brazil (3:59.92) pocketed the rest of the spots in the championship finals.

Day Three Prelims Results