On the third morning of the World Championships in Doha, Li Bingjie led the 200 free in the sole women’s prelim. Erika Fairweather, who won the 400 free ahead of Li on the opening evening and is the first New Zealander to be crowned world champion, was also in the race.
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. Siobhan Haughey, an Olympic silver medallist who will go in tonight’s 100m breaststroke final, was only 0.13secs outside world record pace in her fifth and final heat, going through the first 100 in 56.07. She put on brakes in the second half of the race as Nikolett Padar of Hungary went past her on the last 50 to touch in 1:57.42 to 1:57.62.
Four women swam a time of 1:57 with Janna van Kooten claiming the final spot into semis with a time of 1:59.41 while Britain’s Lucy Hope missed out on qualifying for semis by just two tenths of a second . Li has never won a medal for this event on a global stage and finished second behind Haughey at Asian Games in September