World S/C Championships, Istanbul, Day 1 heats:
FINA's 11th battle of the little pool is underway at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul. The teams colour the stands in the absence of any proper crowd to speak of on a morning that feels like a test event on a training camp. They tested the smoke machines this morning in readiness for the finals show this evening. Let's hope some spectators show up.
Beyond the lack of folk who pay to be entertained and clap for the workers in the water, organisers and FINA are left facing hard questions this morning: an hour into heats, the internet service for the whole venue, already wobbling before the start of swimming, collapsed. Broadcasters, print media, international agencies, all left in a pre-web age, unable to provide live coverage of an event they have paid to attend and cover. Disastrous. Back up after half an hour or so - but what a mess.
12/12/12 - last time we'll see that in our lifetime. Hopefully the last time that the same old problems will keep cropping up at meets where organisers appear never to learn from the challenges of previous hosts.
Progress in the water, continues apace, meanwhile. There's been one championship record already: Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) clocked 29.56 in the heats of the 50m breaststroke. Ryan Lochte (USA) led the way in two events, first the 200m freestyle, then the 100m butterfly, while Katinka Hosszu (HUN), busy world cup queen of the year, made it into the middle lanes for two finals, the 200m butterfly, at the helm, and the 400m medley, in second place.
Morning heats wrap:
Men's 200m freestyle
Ryan Lochte (USA) made a smooth start to the defence of his world crown with a 1:42.41 leading effort in heat 9 of 10. Drawn by his speed, Russian 20-year-old Viatcheslav Andrusenko was next inside 1:44, on 1:43.98. In the last heat, Paul Biedermann (GER) clocked 1:44.05 to take the lane the other side of Lochte for the final this evening.
The other qualifiers: Matthew Stanley (NZL) 1:44.13; Jarrod Killey (AUS) 1:44.33; Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:44.61; Dimitri Colupaev (GER) and Ben Hockin (PAR) both 1:44.84; Ben Hockin (PAR) 26.43 26.83 26.79.
Women's 50m breaststroke
Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), based at Plymouth in England, set a 29.56 championship record to lead Jessica Hardy (USA), on 29.74, before Alia Atkinson (JAM) took the last of 8 heats in 29.72.
Men's 100m backstroke
After Guy Barnea (ISR) led the way on 51.30 in heat 4 of 7, Robert Hurley (AUS) went 50.22 to move the pace on. Olympic champion Matt Grevers (USA) cruised to a 50.55 in heat 6, before Stanislav Donets (RUS) went 50.83. Semis tonight.
Women's 200m butterfly
So, back to covering the meet from the paper we're scribbling times down on and from printed result sheets as it was so long ago… Katinka Hosszu (HUN) led the way through to the 200m butterfly finals in 2:04.19. Either side of her will be Olympic champion Jiao Liuyang (CHN), on 2:04.88 in heat 1 after having submitted no entry time, and Kona Fujita (JPN), on 2:05.42 in the second heat with Hosszu.
The other qualifiers: Kathleen Hersey (USA), 2:05.45; Katerine Savard (CAN), 2:05.54; Liu Zige (CHN), 2:05.96; Jemma Lowe (GBR), 2:06.14; Nao Kobayashi (JPN) 2:06.91.
Men's 100m breaststroke
Kevin Cordes (USA) leads the way through to semis on 57.66, with Marco Koch (GER) on 58.10 and Fabio Scozzoli (ITA) on 58.16. Last man in the top 16 on 59.03. Among several national records set this morning was a 59.60 100m breaststroke from Laurent Carnol, the Loughborough-based Luxembourg teamster who will race his best event, the 200m, later in the championships.
Women's 100m backstroke
Simona Baumrtova (CZE) leads the way to semis on 57.65, with Daryna Zevina (UKR), 57.66, and Olivia Smoliga (USA), 57.75, next through, and Mie Nielsen (DEN), Grace Loh (AUS) and Georgia davies (GBR) completing the sub 58sec club this morning.
Men's 100m butterfly
Ryan Lochte (USA) led the way in a second event of the morning, his 50.16 making him the only person to get inside the 50.49 pace set by Wu Peng (CHN), in heat 1 because he had no entry time some 7secs ahead of next man home. Olympic 200m champion Chad Le Clos clocked 50.73, followed by Joeri Verlinden (NED), Thomas Shields (USA), Laszlo Cseh (HUN) and Peter Mankoc (CRO), all inside 51sec.
Women's 400m medley
No sign, as yet, of the swimmer who clocked a stunning 58sec back 100m top win the Olympic 400IM crown back in London and become the first woman ever to swim as fast as her male counterparts in the same race coming home to the Games. Ye Shiwen (CHN) cruised the 'fly and backstroke legs, held on to Hannah Miley as the Brit challenged on breaststroke and then slipped back a couple of metres as Miley put in a 1:01.93 split on freestyle, to Ye's 1:03.21. Miley told reporters that Ye was simply "playing games". Tonight will be a different story all round, the difference between Miley and Ye this morning split by world cup winner Katinka Hosszu, on 4:29.22, with the Hungarian's teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos on 4:30.88.
Ye, who set a lifetime long-course best of 4:31.73 in the heats on day 1 of her Olympic debut in London, told the media: "It went OK. I always feel very tired at the beginning of a competition, it is always very hard."
The other qualifiers: Miho Takahashi (JPN), 4:31.71; Emu Higuchi (JPN), 4:32.49; Madeline Dirado (USA) 4:33.01 and Barbora Zavadova (CZE) on 4:34.67.
Men's 4x100m freestyle
Italy lead way in 3:08.74, USA 0.16sec away, the final completed by quartets from Russia, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Turkey and China
Women's 4x200m freestyle
The USA, Olympic champion Allison Schmitt stopping the clock at 7:45.36, leads the way over Russia, Italy and China, all inside 7:50 this morning. Japan, Denmark, Britain and Hungary, on 7:53.13 also through, all other teams over 8mins.
And that concludes the entertainment on the first morning after almost three and a half hours of heats and several breakdowns in the event's web connection to the world.