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Michael Andrew led for the first 195 meters of the race, going out under world record-pace with a 24.83 first 50, and he had a lead of more than a second at the halfway point. But Josh Prenot reeled him in with a 33.20 breaststroke split and then stormed home in 28.74, to Andrew’s 34.23 and 29.96.
Prenot, representing California Aquatics, touched in 1:58.93, the second-fastest time in the world behind Daiya Seto‘s 1:58.40.
Andrew finished second in 1:59.13, the third-fastest time in the world and a new Junior World Record, breaking the previous mark of 1:59.44 set by the USA’s Gunnar Bentz back in 2013.
Seto, after finishing second in the 200 fly earlier in the night, had to settle for third in 2:00.35.
Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (2:00.48) and Max Litchfield (2:00.57) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Also competing in the A-final were Missouri State’s Uvis Kalnins (2:02.53), Athens Bulldog’s Nic Fink (2:06.07) and Louisville’s Etay Gurevich (2:06.93).