BARCELONA (Reuters) - American teenager Missy Franklin cut it fine to make the 50 meters backstroke semi-finals at the world swimming championships on Wednesday, while experienced compatriot Ryan Lochte rediscovered his form in the 200 meters medley heats.
Franklin, who is competing in eight events and has already claimed two gold medals at Barcelona’s hilltop Palau Sant Jordi, was equal 13th-fastest in qualifying in a discipline she says she is swimming for fun.
“I was a little sore this morning, I‘m not going to lie but it was really fun,” the 18-year-old told reporters a day after she won the 100 meters breaststroke title.
“The 50 back is just kind of like a fun event with no pressure,” she added ahead of the semi-final later on Wednesday when she also goes in the final of the 200 meters freestyle.
”That’s kind of the thing about the 50, you just have that one lap down the pool and so much can happen.
“We don’t get to swim it nearly enough so you just take the experience you have and use it to the best of your advantage.”
Franklin swam 28.44 seconds, compared to 27.55 for the fastest qualifier, Fu Yuanhui of China.
Lochte, the second-most decorated men’s world championship medalist after former team mate Michael Phelps, came into the meeting without completing his usual intense training programme.
The 28-year-old took a lengthy break after the 2012 Olympics, including appearing in his own reality television show, and is competing in seven events in the Catalan capital, four individual and three relay.
After Tuesday’s disappointing fourth in the 200 meters freestyle, he said he was feeling like himself again after winning his medley heat and going through to the semi-finals later on Wednesday.
“The first couple of days I was worried about winning, worried about the times, it wasn’t me, it wasn’t Ryan Lochte,” he told reporters.
“I woke up this morning not a care, just going out there and having fun and that was a real smooth morning’s swim so hopefully I’ll just get better,” he added.
”After last night, after that bad performance I was like I‘m not the one to really worry about swimming. I go up on the blocks, I race and I have fun and that’s when I do the best.
”Usually every year I did the work and I was really confident in what I could accomplish at the end of the season.
“This year I’ve been all over the place and my training hasn’t been there but one thing I never lose is I know how to race and that’s what I‘m really banking on this meet.”
James Magnussen of Australia was quickest in the heats for the men’s 100 meters freestyle, in 47.71 seconds, with American Nathan Adrian, Olympic champion ahead of Magnussen in London last year, going through in 12th.
“I just want to try and keep my emotions out of it for now, stay emotionless and get the job done over the next two swims,” Magnussen told reporters.
“I felt really relaxed which is good and I also felt good technically,” added the man known as “the Missile”.
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia gave the home fans something to cheer about when she won her 200 meters butterfly heat and went through to the semi-finals quickest overall.
Editing by Clare Fallon