Sierra Schmidt, Clark Beach Unleash Top Showings In Hong Kong Prelims

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Photo Courtesy: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

With only one day left in the 2016 FINA World Cup Series many athletes looked to defend their titles from the Tokyo stop, while the USA Junior National Team-ers flexed their competitive spirit with some top showings.

Young distance ace Sierra Schmidt out-lasted the competition in the women’s 800 free prelims with a 4:10.07 showing. Schmidt leads the competition by over three seconds with Canada’s own young distance star, Olivia Anderson, nabbing third with a 4:14.71.

Jeanette Ottesen continued to lead the women’s 100 free with a top showing of 53.67 in prelims. She will be joined in finals by fellow sprinters Michelle Williams of Canada (53.89) and the USA’s Kelsi Worrell (54.06). Ottesen also nabbed the top seed in the women’s 50 fly with a 26.16.

The men’s 200 free was highlighted by a slew of talent led by Pieter Timmers (1:48.84), Jeremy Bagshaw (1:49.50), and Poul Zellmann (1:49.64).

Felipe Lima grabbed a narrow top seed in the men’s 100 breaststroke over Yasuhiro Koseki as the two posted times of 59.20 and 59.40 respectively.

Australian backstroker Emily Seebohm turned in the top time in the women’s 100 back prelims with a 58.52, followed closely by the USA’s young stars Regan Smith (58.86) and Lucie Nordmann (59.01).

On the men’s side, Mitch Larkin topped prelims of the 50 back with a 24.45, but was unable to top Clark Beach of the USA in the 200 back. Beach stopped the clock at a 1:55.78 over Larkin’s 1:57.04. Fellow junior national teamer, Austin Katz, joined Beach as the third place seed with a 1:57.56.

Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson delivered top prelims swims in both the 50 breaststroke and 100 IM. The recent World Record holder delivered a 30.03 for the top time in the 50, before following it up with a 1:00.80 showing in the 100 IM. Atkinson also returns as part of the top eight in the 200 breaststroke and the 50 fly.

Fellow breaststroke star Breeja Larson posted the top time in the women’s 200 breaststroke, clocking a 2:22.98 to finish more than a second ahead of Yulia Efimova (2:24.21) and Zoe Bartel (2:25.22).

Madeline Groves of Australia dominated prelims of the women’s 200 fly with a 2:05.97, finishing close to five seconds ahead of the second place qualifier Katerine Savard (2:10.64).

Cal graduate Josh Prenot, Japan’s Daiya Seto, and Belarus’ Pavel Yankovich finished within .39 seconds of one another in prelims of the men’s 100 fly, setting the scene for a tight race for the gold.

Seto and Prenot will get a second battle later in the session as the two return for the men’s 200 IM. Seto returns as the top qualifier with the only sub-two minute time (1:58.41), while Prenot posted fourth with a 2:01.19. Peter Bernek (2:01.12) and Philip Heintz (2:01.16) filled in second and third respectively.

Veterans turned in the top qualifying times for the men’s 50 free prelims with Ark-Pekka Liukkonen of Finland and Anthony Ervin of the USA posting first and second. Liukkonen turned in a 21.82 over Ervin’s 21.88, while Benjamin Proud of Great Britain qualified close behind with a 21.89.

Katinka Hosszu, continuing her busy event schedule, made top eight in the 100 free (54.32), 100 back (59.13), 200 fly (2:13.86), and 100 IM (1:01.71).

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