KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) - Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu was the standout performer in the women’s 400 meters individual medley heats as the final morning session at the world championships concluded at the Kazan Arena.
Chasing her third world title in the event since 2009, Hosszu recorded four minutes 32.78 seconds to easily qualify fastest for the final later on Sunday as she looks to add to her 200m individual medley title.
Barbora Zavadova, of the Czech Republic, qualified second quickest, 2.82 seconds behind, with Canada’s Emily Overholt in third.
However, Olympic champion Ye Shiwen, who also holds the world record at 4:28.43, failed to advance. The Chinese, who finished eighth in the 200m individual medley final, could only finish in 15th place, a disappointing 10.18 seconds behind Hosszu.
“World records are something we always look at and I have been chasing them all the time,” said Hosszu. “It is the ultimate goal and let’s see how much faster I can go tonight.
Hopefully I will be faster than I was this season.
“It’s going to be really tough later and there have been swimmers who have been waiting for this day but I think I will be focused and ready to go.”
In the men’s 400 individual medley, Chase Kalisz, of the United States, posted the fastest time of 4:11.83, ahead of European champion David Verraszto, of Hungary. Japan’s current world champion Daiya Seto was third.
“I will have a crucial race of this championship tonight,” said Seto. “I have to do my best to fight for the medals and to confirm my title as world champion in this distance.”
The men’s 4x100m medley relay saw the United States take bragging rights into the final as fastest qualifier. The U.S quartet, looking to regain the title from France, posted 3:31.06, with the defending champions in third.
In the women’s 4x100m, China topped qualifying with 3:57.04. The United States finished second, with Missy Franklin set to return for the final.
The championships will close later on Sunday with Sun Yang of China attempting to win his third world title of the week in the men’s 1500m freestyle. He has already won gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle.
Sun will face in-form Gregorio Paltrinieri, of Italy, who finished over four seconds ahead of the Chinese in qualifying
Paltrinieri revealed that the pair had talked together following the Italian’s heat win.
“He (Sun) thinks I can do very well in the 1500,” Paltrinieri told reporters. “So I think he’s a bit afraid of me. I’ve got the pace.”
Russia’s controversial star Yuliya Efimova, returning from a doping ban, and Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte will also go head-to-head in the women’s 50m breaststroke final.
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty