Shanghai, Jul 29 : Cesar Cielo of Brazil, American Nathan Adrian and George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago posted the same time of 22.03 seconds to lead 50-meter freestyle qualifying at the world swimming championships Friday.
“I think everyone was hiding their game,” said Cielo, the defending champion. “I don't think anybody went as fast as they're going to be tonight.”
Adam Brown of Britain was fourth at 22.08. Alain Bernard of France advanced in 10th. South Africa's Roland Schoeman, the 2005 champion, made the semifinals in 15th.Adrian wants a better result after finishing sixth in the 100 free on Thursday.
“I'm just preparing for tonight, go 21-anything, get in there safely and then move on to try to swim fast tomorrow,” he said.
A trio of big names failed to make the semifinals. Brent Hayden of Canada, silver medalist in the 100 free on Thursday, tied for 17th, one spot out.
American Cullen Jones, the 2007 silver medalist, and France's Frederick Bousquet, second to Cielo two years ago, tied for 20th.
Cielo finished fourth in the 100 free, won by James Magnussen of Australia. The Brazilian sobbed after winning the 50 butterfly on the meet's second day, having just been cleared of a doping offense by the Court for Arbitration of Sport.“I'm happy with how my races are going so far,” he said. “I'm overcoming something really hard to overcome.”
Michael Phelps advanced in the preliminaries of the 100-meter butterfly, posting the fifth-fastest time of 51.95 seconds. But Milorad Cavic, who had back surgery last July, didn't. The American-born Serb finished 18th at 52.67, missing the semifinals by two spots.
Cavic posed the most serious threat to Phelps' record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, losing to the American in the 100 fly by a hundredth of a second, a finish so close that the video had to be reviewed down to the 10-thousandth of a second.
Their rematch at worlds two years ago in Rome was dramatic, too. Both swimmers traded trash talk beforehand. Then Phelps rallied over the last lap to break the world record set by Cavic in the semifinals, with the Serb settling for silver again.
But Cavic arrived rusty in Shanghai, having been slowed by surgery for a herniated disc in his back. He only began diving off the starting block two months ago.
Asked about Cavic's failure to advance, Phelps smiled slightly.
“I'll be the first one to say we all have our ups and downs with competitions,” he said. “It's kind of how it goes after a rough stretch of time and he's the kind of guy who's going to be there. He and I have had good races in the past and I'm sure we'll have another one again.”
Jason Dunford of Kenya, who trains at Stanford University in California and was just ahead of Phelps in fourth at 51.87, said Cavic's training has been disrupted.
“It was even a struggle for him to make the cut to be here, so I don't think he was expecting too much, but I don't think he was expecting to be that bad,” Dunford said. “He's got a long way to go.”
Tyler McGill of the United States led qualifying with 51.76. Takuro Fujii of Japan was second at 51.82, followed by 32-year-old Aussie Geoff Huegill at 51.83.
Also advancing in 15th was 37-year-old Swede Lars Froelander, while Pawel Korzeniowski of Poland, a former 200 fly world champion, grabbed the 16th and last spot for the evening semifinals.
In the women's 50 butterfly, Therese Alshammar led the way at 25.68. The Swede, who turns 34 next month, is trying to regain the world title she won in 2007.
Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark was second at 25.88. American Dana Vollmer, the 100 fly champion, was third at 25.98.Defending champion Marieke Guehrer of Australia was 13th.China's Jiao Liuyang, the 200 butterfly winner on Thursday, finished 22nd and failed to advance. AP