World Championships: Phoebe Bacon Cruises in 200 Backstroke Semifinals; McKeown, White On Her Heels

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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World Championships: Phoebe Bacon Cruises in 200 Backstroke Semifinals; McKeown, White On Her Heels

During prelims, USA’s Phoebe Bacon looked poised and in control in the 200 backstroke, calmly overtaking the field by more than a half second.

In the semifinals, the pace was even faster, but again set by Bacon. The American took the top spot in 2:05.93 to again lead the field by about a half second.

Australia’s Kaylee McKeown, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, took the second spot heading into finals, touching the wall in 2:06.41.

U.S. swimmer Rhyan White took the third spot in 2:07.04, looking to improve on her fourth-place finish in Tokyo.

Italy’s Margherita Panziera took the fourth seed in 2:08.28 continuing her strong performance this week at the World Championships, followed by China’s Peng Xuwei (2:09.19), Canada’s Kylie Masse (2:09.23), who won the 50 backstroke and took second in the 100 backstroke earlier in the meet, with a pair of Hungarians — Dora Molnar (2:09.94) and Katalin Burian (2:10.07) rounding out the finalists.

Defending world champion and world record-holder (2:03.35) Regan Smith did not qualify in this event at the U.S. International Team Trials, finishing behind Bacon and White, who also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in both backstroke events.

Before Smith, Missy Franklin won the event twice giving the U.S. women three titles in the past five World Championships in the 200 backstroke. Bacon and White are still in the mix to add to that total for the Americans.

But McKeown won’t make it easy on them and it should be a remarkable three-way race at the World Championships — and it could be more than three if someone else in the field puts together a flawless race.

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17 hours ago

I love you. Phoebe Bacon

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