The Missile lived up to his nickname.
James Magnussen of Australia posted the fastest preliminaries time in the 100-meter freestyle at the world swimming championships Wednesday, nearly a second ahead of the next qualifier.
Looks like he’s put the disappointment of the Olympics behind him. Magnussen was a huge favourite in London but only got a silver in the 100 free behind American Nathan Adrian and didn’t even win a medal in his other two events.
“I’m just keeping my emotions out of it this year,” Magnussen said. “Each swim, I leave it in the water and look toward the next one.”
The defending world champion touched in 47.71 seconds, far ahead of Konrad Czerniak of Poland at 48.50. Both Americans advanced to the semi-finals, with Jimmy Feigen ninth-fastest in 48.86 and Adrian moving on in 12th at 48.93.
“I was a little surprised,” Adrian said. “It was a little slower than I expected.”
“Everybody has thrown up before,” Adrian said. “People are making a bigger deal out of it than necessary. I threw up. I feel fine now.”
Feigen is trying to learn from his performance as the relay anchor, when he was caught by the French while admittedly spending too much time worrying about the teams right next to him, Russia and Australia. The bitterness of that defeat left some, including Michael Phelps, to question why the coaches put Feigen in such a crucial spot when he had the least international experience.
“I’m using that as a learning experience,” Feigen said. “I wish it had turned out a little bit better, but I’ve got to take what happened and learn from it, put it toward some experience, find some good in the bad and do my best to rebound here in the 100.”
Ryan Lochte is also in bounce-back mode after struggling in his first individual event. He missed a medal in the 200 free, labouring to the finish in fourth place, but awoke Wednesday with a new outlook.
Lochte won his heat in the 200 individual medley and put up the fifth-fastest time overall, 1 minutes, 58.46 seconds, to safely advance to the semi-finals. Conor Dwyer also advanced in 10th.
“I felt like myself again,” said Lochte, who was within striking distance of the leader, Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh (1-57.70). “The first couple of days, I was worried about winning, worried about the times I went. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t Ryan Lochte. I woke up this morning without a care. I’m just going out there and having fun.”
Missy Franklin never changes her outlook, but the perpetually bouncy teenager acknowledged not being quite at her best for the prelims of the 50 backstroke after a demanding double the previous night.
Coming off her second gold in the 100 back and a semi-final race in the 200 free, Franklin managed just the 13-fastest time, 28.44, in the dash from one end of the pool to the other.
Fu Yuanhui of China was top qualifier in the non-Olympic event at 27.55.
“I’m a little sore this morning, I’m not going to lie,” Franklin said. “But it was really fun. The 50 back is kind of just a fun event with no pressure. It’s fun getting out there and seeing what can happen.”
Franklin will go for her third gold of the meet in the evening in the 200 free, one of her most challenging races. She finished fourth at the London Olympics, just one-hundredth of a second away from a bronze, and has spent much of the past year trying to improve that stroke.
“It’s going to be very, very tough tonight,” Franklin said. “The field is so close. It really could come from anywhere. It’s going to be a really good race.”
Franklin is set to swim eight events in Barcelona, giving her a shot at joining Michael Phelps as the only swimmers to win eight golds at a major championship. She’s 2 for 2 so far.
“It’s going absolutely wonderful,” she said. “I’m really, really proud of our team. They’ve been doing incredible.”
In the other event of a short morning session, Mireia Belmonte of Spain led the women’s 200 butterfly in 2-07.21. Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu was next (2-07.51), while Americans Cammile Adams (sixth) and Madeline Dirado (13th) also advanced to the evening semifinals.
Also on tap in the evening, South Africa’s Chad le Clos is the favorite in the 200 butterfly, but he figures to be challenged by American Tyler Clary and China’s Wu Peng.
Sun Yang of China goes for his second gold of the championships in the 800 free after winning the 400 free with a dominating performance. Connor Jaeger of the United States was the top qualifier in the semifinals.
Finally, Australia’s Christian Sprenger and South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh dual again in the 50 breaststroke after going 1-2 in the 100 breast.