Istanbul, World Short-Course Championships, day 3 heats
There were just seven print journalists in the media tribune for most of the morning session, and about 40 folk involved in broadcasting, radio and TV too. Several more media were down in the mixed zone and there were camera crews and photographers on the deck. The crowd may just have outnumbered us - at a push.
Day 3 at a world swimming championships and there must surely have been young swimmers walking out to races wondering 'how come my little league galas back home has more atmosphere and folk cheering up in the stands'.
Istanbul is a city of 13.5 million, with many a swim club out there beyond the empty seats of this building. An opportunity to enthuse the new wave has slipped away as Turkey invests considerable amounts to host a party that - beyond the water and the work on the deck - has a morning-after feel about it.
A pity for all the talent putting themselves to the test here at the Sinan Erdem Arena, where a few internet cables lost their will top live. In my case, it took 20 minutes to find one that worked, the action in the pool slipping by, the term "live" relative to a digital age fading in and out like a tardis trying to find a timezone.
The finals promise some fine action, the men's 200m breaststroke featuring the five fastest 200m l/c specialists in history, the world record holder, the Olympic gold and silver medallists and five below 2:04 this morning.
Catching up with the action:
Men's 50m backstroke
Olympic champion Matt Grevers (USA) topped qualifiers for the 50m back semis the morning after he claimed the world 100m crown ahead of the two who progressed closest to him this morning. Grevers' 23.28 topped Guilherme Guido (BRA) by 0.2sec, third best through Stanislav Donets (RUS) 0.01sec away. The top 16 cut: 24.06
Women's 100m backstroke
Daryna Zevina (UKR) claimed lane 4 for the final in 2:03.41, Bonnie Brandon (USA) stepping up to a 2:04.45 for a middle lane tonight, Anja Carman (SLO) on 2:04.95 and Marie Kamimura (JPN), on 2:04.96. The other qualifiers (2:05.18 to 2:05.65): Marce da Rocha (ESP), Melissa Ingram (NZL), Simona Baumrtova (CZE), Elizabeth Simmonds.
Men's 50m butterfly
The last of 14 heats witnessed an equalled championships record by Nicholas Santos (BRA), his 22.40 leaving him 0.38sec ahead of next man through to semis, 100m winners Chad Le Clos (RSA). The rest of the top 16 are to be found between 22.78 and 23.57.
Women's 100m breaststroke
Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) replied to a 1:04.73 from Rikke Pedersen (DEN) in heat 4 with a 1:04.69 in heat 5 to take the helm going through to semis. Sarah Katsoulis (AUS) is next through on 1:04.76, with jessica hardy (USA) the first over 1:05 - by 0.04. Alia Atkinson (JAM) threatens on 1:05.26 as the last inside 1:06. In the swim-off for the last place in semis, Maria Temnikova (RUS) clocked 1:06.20 to progress ahead of a 1:06.99 for Ellyn Baumgardner (USA), both inside their heats time of 1:07.10.
Men's 400m freestyle
After a 3:42.13 from China's Hao Yun - in heat 1 because he had no entry time - there was a wait before the pace picked up again, and Paul Biedermann (GER) raised the bar to 3:41.40 in heat 5 of 7. In heat 6, Michael Klueh (USA) led the way in 3:41.07 ahead of Ahmed Mathlouthi (TUN), on 3:41.34, before Mads Glaesner (DEN) booked lane 4 for the final in 3:40.89. The cut: 3:42.43. Other qualifiers: Matthew Stanley (NZL); Anders Nielsen (DEN); Pal Joensen (FAR).
Men's 200m medley
The star of Dubai 2010 and Shanghai 2011, Ryan Lochte (USA) booked lane 4 for the final in 1:53.31, the prospect of a 10th world s/c medley crowd in the wings. There to try to stop him will be Kenneth To (AUS), 1:53.57,m 400m IM champion Daiya Seto (JPN), 1:54.41, Lochte's podium mate at London 2012, Laszlo Cseh (HUN), 1:54.50, and Lochte's fellow Gator graduate Conor Dwyer, 1:54.67. Other qualifiers: Simon Sjoedin (SWE), Diogo Carvalho (POR), and Kosuke Hagino (JPN), his 1:55.41 the cut for the final.
Women's 400m freestyle
Katinka Hosszu (HUN) booked lane 4 in 4:03.49 in the third of five heats, after Zhou Lili (CHN) and Jazz Carlin (GBR) had set the pace at 4:05.11 and 4:05.13 in the first heat unseeded. Chloe Sutton (USA) led Elena Sokolova (RUS) 4:04.16 to 4:04.37 in heat 4 before 800m champion took the last heat in 4:04.83. The other qualifiers: Melanie Costa (ESP); Angie Bainbridge (AUS); Erika Villaecija (ESP), Zhou locking the door to the final at 4:05.11, Carlin locked out by 0.02sec. Hosszu later withdrew from the 400m free final to focus on the 100m medley, letting Carlin back in for a second shout.
Men's 200m breaststroke
World record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi (JPN), placed himself in lane 4 for the final by keeping Daniel Gyurta, Olympic champion from Hungary, at bay, 2:03.57 to 2:03.64 in the last of six heats. They had watched Yukihiro Takahashi (JPN) clock 2:04.93 ahead of Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson (GBR), 2:06.05, in heat 5, after the latter's teammate, Britain and Bath, Andrew Willis, set an English record of 2:03.94 at the helm of in heat 4. Jamieson's time was last into the final. Other qualifiers: Chris Burckle (USA), 2:03.87; Marco Koch (GER) 2:03.95; Viatcheslav Sinkevich (RUS), 2:04.07. A fabulous final in prospect.
Women's 4x100m medley
Denmark booked lane 4 in 3:53.10 in the first of two heats ahead of a 3:54.14 for Japan. The second heat featured the USA, on 3:53.17 and Britain, on 3:54.50. Other qualifiers: China, Italy, Germany and Australia, last quartet in by 0.13sec over Canada.
Finals start at 7pm local time