Sun Yang of China and Ryan Lochte of the United States were back in the pool on Sunday hours after their gold-medal efforts at the London Games, and they were the top two qualifiers in the 200-meter freestyle.
Sun was fastest in 1 minute, 46.24 seconds coming off his victory in the 400 free on Saturday.
“I’ll try to do my best, but the 200 freestyle is not my best event,” he said. “It’s more difficult for me compared to the 400 meters or the 1,500 meters.”
Lochte was second at 1-46.45, having won the 400 individual medley on the first night of Olympic swimming.
“I didn’t get to bed until like 2 a.m. so I’m a little tired, but it was a prelims swim, so I’m not too worried about it,” said Lochte, who was out celebrating with his family.
Yannick Agnel of France was third at 1-46.60. Also advancing was Park Tae-hwan of South Korea, who finished second behind Sun in the 400 IM after initially being disqualified in the prelims and then reinstated. Park was fifth-fastest at 1-46.79.
Among the top 16 moving on to the evening semi-finals were Britain’s Robbie Renwick (sixth) and Kenrick Monk of Australia (seventh).
Ricky Berens of the United States was eighth in his first-ever individual Olympic event. Paul Biedermann of Germany, the world record holder, was 10th at 1-47.27 after failing to advance out of the 400 free prelims on Saturday.
Emily Seebohm of Australia qualified fastest in the 100 backstroke with an Olympic-record time of 58.23 seconds. She lowered the old mark of 58.77 set by Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe four years ago in Beijing.
“I saw that I was ahead of the world record and I was just like, ‘Don’t get over your head. Just keep going and just go as hard as you can,’” Seebohm said. “All I wanted to do this morning was to make it through. My goal was just to keep moving forward and now maybe the world record in the final, who knows?”
Missy Franklin, the 17-year-old American competing in her first Olympics, was second-quickest in 59.37. She earned a bronze medal as part of the US 4x100 freestyle relay on the first night of swimming Saturday; but was still nervous for her first individual event.
“Oh my gosh. You can’t take any chances here,” she said. “You have to get out there and do the best that you can. I know I can do faster than I did in prelims.”
Franklin is set to swim seven events in London.
Belinda Hocking of Australia was third in 59.61.
Ten of the 16 women qualifying for the evening semi-finals swam under 1 minute.
Anastasia Zueva of Russia, the silver medallist at last year’s world championships, was fifth. Current world champion Zhao Jing of China was ninth.
A pair of British swimmers had the home fans cheering loudly. Georgia Davies was sixth, while world-record holder Gemma Spofforth moved on in 12th.
Coventry, the silver medallist in the last two Olympics, barely advanced, grabbing the next-to-last spot in 1-00.24.
“I’ve been up and down coming into the competition with my knee and then pneumonia, so I’m just excited to be here,” she said. “I’m just enjoying my fourth Olympics and I’ll see what I can do.”
Two-time defending champion Natalie Coughlin failed to qualify for her signature event at the US trials last month.