Rome 2009, Day 4:
Men's 100m freestyle semi-finals
In the first semi, with a fair wind whistling along the surface of the water, Olympic champion Alain Bernard (FRA) and his X-Glide led the way with a 47.27 blast ahead of the same suit and Cesar Cielo (BRA), Olympic 50m free champion, on 47.48. Nathan Adrian (USA) was next through in 47.66, ahead of Nicolas Oliveira (BRA), on 47.78. Fifth was Fred Bousquet (FRA), second-fastest ever (not counting Bernard's sub 47), but his golden Jaked01 seemed a little premature. At 47.98 he made the cut by 0.06sec, ahead of the 48.04sec effort of the defending champion Filippo Magnini (ITA) in the second semi.
A sigh went up from the Roman crowd, their hero gone. One champion was left standing: winner of the second senmi was Brent Hayden (CAN), on 47.88. David Walters (USA) and Lyndon Ferns (RSA) were the last sub-48ers and last men into the final.
The 2007 crown was shared by Magnini and Hayden in 48.43, which would have finished 16th in semis in Rome. Jason Lezak (USA), absent from Rome and on a Maccabiah Games mission this post-Beijing summer, went through to the Melbourne 2007 final at the helm on 48.51. Of those in Melbourne still standing yesterday, their semi times in Melbourne were: Magnini: 48.60; Hayden, 48.79; Cielo, 48.87; Bernard and Nystrand, 48.89. The 2007 crown was shared by Magnini and Hayden in 48.43.