On the third morning of the World Championships in Doha, Li Bingjie led the 200 free in the sole women’s prelim. Despite being a medalist at the 2023 worlds, Mollie O’Callaghan, Ariarne Titmus, and Summer McIntosh bypassed the meet with eyes on bigger things in Paris in July.
Li was alongside Erika Fairweather in the third prelim, with Fairweather being the first New Zealander to have been crowned world champion when she won the 400 free ahead of Li on the opening evening. In tonight’s final, Fairweather led by a second at the final turn with Li coming past her to take the win in 1:57.16 to 1:57.40. Olympic silver medallist Siobhan Haughey was only 0.13secs outside world record pace in the fifth and final heat, going through the first 100 in 56.07. However, Haughey put the brakes on in the second half of the race with Nikolett Padar of Hungary going past her on the last 50 to touch in 1:57.42 to 1:57.62.
Four women swam 1:57 including Janna van Kooten – a member of Netherlands’ winning team at Asian Games – who claimed a spot into semis with her time of 1:59.41 while Britain’s Lucy Hope missed out as she was not able to make it into semis despite swimming under world record pace during qualification round which is one of her greatest achievement so far as she has never won any medal on global stage before this event but she will come back stronger next time around!