Lochte cruises to lead 100 IM heats

Aiming for a third consecutive world record in Dubai, Lochte cruised to the fastest qualifying time in the 100-meter individual medley heats at the short-course world championships.

The American clocked 52.06 seconds on Saturday, which was 0.47 ahead of Brazil’s Henrique Rodrigues despite halting his stroke for the last five meters. With that in mind, Ryan Lochte looks certain to break Peter Mankoc’s world mark of 50.76 in either the semi-finals later on Saturday or Sunday’s final.

“Nothing is certain,” Lochte said. “I tried this morning except in the last 15 meters of freestyle, so that world record is really fast.”

Lochte already set world records in the 200 and 400 IMs the past two days — the only individual records set all year after high-tech bodysuits were banned.

Mankoc qualified fifth, 0.72 behind Lochte, while Tyler Clary of the United States just barely advanced in 15th, 1.88 back.

The 100 IM is not an Olympic event, and exists only in short-course meets.

“Racing is racing no matter what event it is,” Lochte said. “It’s just a little short — shorter than what we’re used to.”

Having already collected three golds in each of his individual events, Lochte does not have any finals on Saturday. On Sunday, he’ll likely swim for gold in the 100 IM final, the 200 backstroke final and possibly the 400 medley relay.

In the 100 freestyle heats, Fabien Gilot of France finished ahead of favourites Nathan Adrian of the United States and Cesar Cielo of Brazil.

Gilot touched in a championship record 46.62, 0.04 ahead of Adrian and 0.21 in front of Cielo, who won the 50 free in convincing fashion Friday.

Olympic champion Alain Bernard of France qualified eighth, 0.42 behind his countryman Gilot.

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