Olympic champion Park Tae-Hwan (KOR) is out of the 400m free world-title race. He clocked a terrific 3:46.04 but found himself in 12th place in what was - surprise, surprise - the fastest qualification for a 400m freestyle final at world titles in history.
Paul Biedermann (GER) and his X-Glide led the way in 3:43.01, a European record that confined to history Massi Rosolino's 3:43.40 from 2000, wiped 3.66sec off the German's best time and rocketed him from 27th on the all-time list to 7th best. Next through was Zhang Lin, of China, on 3:43., in Biedermann's heat, after he swam inside Ian Thorpe's world record pace at 200m, on 1:48.99. Oussama Mellouli (TUN) was the third man inside 3:44 in heats.
The time it took to make lane 4 for the Melbourne 2007 final would not have made the final in Rome.
The other men through: Mads Glaesner (DEN), 3:44.59; Peter Vanderkaay (USA), 3:45.40; David Davies (GBR) 3:45.43; Ryan Cochrane (CAN), 3:45.52; Gergo Kis (HUN) 3:45.68.
Here's how Rome stands out as a unique suit-assisted event in world championship history:
Top 8 in heats: 3:43.01-3:45.68
Top 8 in heats: 3:45.82-3:48.72