Day 6 prelims, Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai
Many a time a big name has been caught out in heats and this morning was the turn of Fred Bousquet (FRA), Rome 2009 silver medallist, to fall at the first hurdle, a 22.38 in the 50m freestyle leaving the sprinter 0.05sec shy of second shot.
Same story for Milorad Cavic (SRB), the 'fly ace 0.01sec behind Michael Phelps in Beijing, under 50sec with Phelps when poly put the kettle on in Rome, but on 52.67 in the 100m heats this morning, 0.1sec shy of the cut.
The women's 800m freestyle final took shape, with Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington (GBR) and defending world champion Lotte Friis (DEN) taking the middle lanes in 8:22. and 8:23 respectively in a stroke-for-stroke dress rehearsal in the swiftest heat this morning. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) opted out.
There was still a buzz in the building the morning after the night when Ryan Lochte set a world record. Quite right too. Records should spell special. It felt like that last night. A truly momentous race, two exceptional performances, the time(s) serving to sew together the threads of history shredded by suits in 2008-09.
For the record, the difference:
The new numbers stack up well.
Men's 50m freestyle
In heat 14 of 16, Olympic and defending world champion Cesar Cielo set the leading pace at 22.03, his Brazil teammate Bruno Fratus on 22.26, with Andrey Grechin (RUS) on 22.33. Next up, Nathan Adrian (USA) and George Bovell (TRI) tied with each other and Cielo's time form the previous heat, on 22.03, while in the last heat, Adam Brown (GBR) clocked 22.08 to deliver a Shanghai surprise from lane 8.
The crew between Krisztian Takacs (HUN) and Stefan NYstrand (SWE) on 22.15, and Grechin included Marco Orsi (ITA), Matthew Abood (AUS), Alan Bernard (FRA), Geideon Louw (RSA), Luca Dotto (ITA), Matthew Targett (AUS) and Roland Schoeman (RSA).
But look at the list who got locked out: Brent Hayden (CAN), the morning after a fantastic performance for silver in the 100m, Cullen Jones (USA), silver medallist of Rome and former world record holder from 2009, Fred Bousquet, Simon Burnett (GBR) and Marco di Carli (GER).
Qualifiers: 22.03 - 22.33 - Cielo, Adrian, Bovell, Brown, Takacs, Nystrand, Fesikov, Orsi, Abood, Bernard, Louw, Dotto, Fratus, Targett, Schoeman, Grechin.
Women's 50m butterfly
World record holder Therese Alshammar (SWE) led the way in the last of seven heats on 25.58, with Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) next through in 25.88 and Dana Vollmer (USA) setting a personal best of 25.98. They had seen Lu Ying win heat six in 26.16 and Sarah Sjoestrom (SWE) heat 5 in 26.17. Among the big names who missed the cut: Yolane Kukla (AUS), Ingvild Snildal (NOR), the bronze medallist form Rome 2009, and the top two in the 200m butterfly last night, Jiao Liuyang (CHN) and Ellen Gandy (GBR) excused a second swim in an event in which the 2:05 200 club struggle with the sprint pace.
Qualifiers: 25.68 - 26.83 - Alshammar; Ottesen; Vollmer; Lu; Sjoestrom; Magnusson; Dekker; Henique; Kato; Aljand; Tao; Veldhuis; Guehrer; De Paula; Mohr; Ivry.
Men's 100m butterfly
The return match for Rome 2009 is off before it began, Mike Phelps (USA) through, Mike Cavic (SRB) out. Tyler McGill led the way for the US in 51.76 in heat 8 ahead of Jason Dunford (KEN) and Phelps, on 51.87 and 51.95 respectively. They had seen Takuro Fujii JPN) take heat 7 in 51.82 and then stood by to see Geoff Huegill (AUS) muscle in on the sub-52sec club, on 51.83. The top 16 cut: 52.57 by former 200m champion Pawel Korzeniowski (POL). Cavic, who had back trouble last year and is not as sharp as he can be, finished 18th on 52.67. Also gone: Kaio Almeida (BRA), Antony James (GBR) Ryan Pini (PNG) and 200m ace Wu Peng (CHN).
Qualifiers: 51.76 - 52.57 - McGill, Fujii, Huegill, Dunford, Phelps, Czerniak, Korotyshkin, Starke, Verlinden, Ashby, Cseh, Mankoc, Le Clos, Deibler, Froelander, Korzeniowski.
Women's 200m backstroke
After a 1:55.08 in the 4x200m relay last night, US teenager Melissa Franklin was in high spirits, a 2:07.71 in heat 5 taking her through to semis at the helm ahead of Daryna Zevina (RUS), on 2:08.35 in heat 4 in a tight tussle with Elizabeth Beisel (USA), 2:08.40, and Belinda Hocking (AUS), on 2:08.50. Her teammate Meagan Nay took the last of six heats in 2:08.50, while Sinead Russell (CAN), Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), European champion Elizabeth Simmonds (GBR) and Asian Games champion Zhou Jing (CHN) were among those safely through.
Coventry, world record holder, said that illness had kept her from best: "It's been a bit of a rough meet. I had flu two weeks before I got here which wasn't the best preparation. I'm trying to have strategic races and hope that gets me into finals."
Among those who missed the cut: Rome silver medallist Anastasia Zueva (RUS) after silver in the 100m and gold in the 50m here.
Qualifiers: 2:07.71 - 2:11.09 - Franklin, Zevina, Beisel, Hocking, Nay, Russell, Coventry, Sakai, Van Rouwendaal, Simmonds, Castel, Zhao, Da Rocha, Ingram, Proud, Cantin.
Men's 4x200m freestyle
The USA led the way in 7:08.84, Japan, on 7:10.46, through to Germany closing the door on 7:13.31, including France, Australia, Italy, China and Britain. Germany got through by 0.03sec ahead of Austria, courtesy of the swiftest split of the morning, Paul Biedermann's 1:46.46.
Women's 800m freestyle
Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and defending world champion Lotte Friis (DEN), third in Beijing, rehearsed their next big showdown with a last-heat stroke-for-stroke passage into lanes 4 and 5, the Brit on 8:22.27, the Dane on 8:23.07. This morning it was clear that Adlington is the more technically efficient of the two and boasts the better swimming speed, while Friis's advantage is at the turn, each passing one a chance to claw back any loss down the length.
After a fast warm-up with Friis, the times quicker than it took the Dane to win the European crown in last year, Adlington said: "It's hard work, especially in the morning. I had no clue what time I was doing - I could have been doing an 8:40. It's the quickest I've gone in the morning except for Beijing when you didn't know whether it was morning or night anyway."
The speed required to make the cut in morning heats across many events had taken some by surprise in Shanghai, said the Beijing winner of the 400m and 800m freestyle: "The whole team is shocked by the depth just to get to finals. I just had to try to make sure I got through."
The battles lines drawn at the helm the threat to the top two had taken shape in heats 3 and 4, first American through Chloe Sutton on 8.27.72 at the helm of the third line-up of five, former world champion Kate Ziegler the second, at the helm of heat 4 on 8:28.28, Katie Goldman (AUS), Boglarka Kapas (HUN), Lauren Boyle (NZL) and Wendy Trott (RSA), on 8:28.75, completing the top 8 for the battle tomorrow evening. Among those locked out, Kristel Kobrich (CHI), Shao Yiwen (CHN), Erika Villaecija (ESP), Eva Risztov (HUN), Melissa Gorman (AUS), Camelia Potec (ROU), Jazmin Carlin (GBR), Grainne Murphy (IRL), while two big names decided to give the 16-lapper a miss: Federica Pellegrini (ITA) and Mireia Belmonte (ESP).