Kelsi Worrell Makes World Cup Debut with Top Seed in Singapore Prelims

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher- USA TODAY Sports

American sprinter Kelsi Worrell made her World Cup debut Saturday morning in Singapore, and she captured the top seed in the very first event she swam. Worrell dominated on the college level the past two years with her excellent underwater skills, and now that she has graduated, she is putting those abilities on display in front of a more global audience in the slightly longer short course meters pool.

Worrell opened the morning session with a 53.12 in the women’s 100 free, well ahead of the rest of the pack. Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (53.56) and Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen (53.63) figure to be her closest competition in finals. Later in the session, Worrell finished just behind Ottesen in the women’s 50 fly as Ottesen led the way in 25.71, Worrell was second in 25.73, and Canada’s Katerine Savard qualified third in 25.79.

Hosszu, who won four gold medals on day one in Singapore, earned the top seed in the women’s 200 IM in 2:10.98, just ahead of countrywoman Zsuzsanna Jakobos (2:11.53). She later topped the field in the 400 free, where she posted a 4:09.49 to top China’s Dong Jie (4:10.41) and another Hungarian, Boglarka Kapas (4:11.40). Hosszu picked up a third top seed of the morning in the women’s 100 IM, where she clocked 1:00.15 to edge out Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson (1:00.21), Australia’s Emily Seebohm (1:00.79) and Japan’s Kanako Watanabe (1:00.83).

Hosszu currently leads the overall World Cup standings on the women’s side, and the men’s points leader, Russia’s Vladimir Morozov, also showed good form in prelims. Morozov, after winning the 100 free and 100 IM Friday, finished first in the 100 breast prelims in 58.93, narrowly topping Brazil’s Felipe Lima (59.01). Morozov later qualified first in the 50 free in 21.48, three one-hundredths ahead of Finland’s Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (21.51).

Belgium’s Pieter Timmers topped the field in the men’s 200 free with a 1:46.44, just edging out Australia’s Kyle Chalmers, who set a world junior record on day one in the 100 free. Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:46.90) and Great Britain’s James Guy (1:47.14) figure to make this a competitive race in finals. South Africa’s Chad le Clos posted a 51.62 to lead the way in the men’s 100 fly. Belarus’ Pavel Sankovich was just behind with a 51.74, and Seto qualified third in 51.91.

Atkinson blitzed the field in the women’s 50 breast with a 29.58, well ahead of Russia’s Yulia Efimova (30.22) and the USA’s Molly Hannis (30.56). Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina was impressive in claiming the top seed in the 100 back, clocking 57.86 to edge out Seebohm (57.90). Australia’s Madison Wilson (58.64) and Hosszu (58.94) are lurking.

Australia’s Mitch Larkin claimed the top seed in the men’s 50 back in 23.73, just ahead of Sankovich (23.75) and Russia’s Stanislav Donets (23.95). Seto, meanwhile, was the only man under 2:00 in the 200 IM, coming in at 1:59.98 in prelims. Austria’s Sebastian Steffan was second in 2:00.51, and American Josh Prenot qualified third in 2:01.29.

The USA’s Breeja Larson finished well ahead of the field in the women’s 200 breast, clocking 2:23.91. Five swimmers finished close together and will be in pursuit of Larson in the final: Canada’s Rachel Nicol (2:27.13), Austria’s Jenna Strauch (2:27.81), Japan’s Watanabe (2:27.91), Iceland’s Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir (2:27.92) and Efimova (2:28.12).

Australia’s Clyde Lewis edged out elder countryman Larkin for the top spot in the men’s 200 back. Lewis clocked 1:55.17, ahead of Larkin’s 1:56.76. Colombia’s Omar Pinzon picked up the third spot in 1:57.35.

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