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SWIMMING: 'Missile' gets his stroke back

by PAUL NEWBERRY AP National Writer on July 31, 2013 10:10 AM

BARCELONA, Spain — 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 today, nearly a second ahead of the next qualifier.

Looks like he’s put the disappointment of the Olympics behind him. Magnussen was a huge favorite 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 Poland’s Konrad Czerniakat 48.50. Both Americans advanced to the semifinals, 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.”

Ryan Lochte is in bounce-back mode after struggling in his first individual event. He missed a medal in the 200 free, laboring to the finish in fourth place, but awoke today 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 semifinals. 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. 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 semifinal race in the 200 free, Franklin managed just the 13th-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.

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.

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