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Ben Proud beaten in bid to retain his 50m Butterfly World Championships crown

Defending world champion Ben Proud couldn’t capitalise on a fast start as he was beaten in his bid to retain his 50m Butterfly crown in South Korea.

Plymouth Leander’s Proud, who won the gold medal in Budapest in 2017, was swimming in lane one in the Nambu International Aquatics Centre, Gwangju, after qualifying seventh fastest.

Despite having the quickest reaction time off the blocks, Proud clocked 23.01 to finish in seventh place – 0.66 seconds behind America’s Caeleb Dressel.

Dressel lowered the championship record time he set in the semi-finals as he touched first in 23.35 to take the gold medal ahead of Russia’s Oleg Kostin (22.70) and Brazil’s Nicholas Santos (22.79).

Proud still has his main event of the championships to come as he takes part in the 50m Freestyle on Friday 26 July.

He said: “The final wasn’t quite as fast as I could have hoped or expected, but at the same time I’ve stepped it up from the heats, to the semis, to the final and that’s my job.

“The fly for me hasn’t really come naturally the last two days but I don’t expect it to have any correlation to the freestyle, as I’ve been doing a lot more work for that.

“I’m hoping come Friday I’ll be feeling better and hopefully give that a good go.”

O’Connor claims seventh spot

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor also claimed seventh spot in the final of the Women’s 200m Individual Medley.

O’Connor made a blistering start in the butterfly leg and sat in second position after the first 50m.

Less than a second separated the whole field as they turned for final 50m freestyle leg but O’Connor drifted away and finished in 2:10.43.

That was 2.90 second behind the gold medallist, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu who clocked 2:07.53.

O’Connor said: “I can’t take for granted a fourth world final but I’m not 100 per cent happy with it – 2.10 isn’t what I wanted to go but I think it just shows where I’m at for next year and I’ve just got to take the positives from it.

“At 150m, I was there or there abouts, so I know it’s just fitness and that’s something I can great right if I work on it and can get a great training block behind me.”

Renshaw breaks PB again to reach final

Molly Renshaw set a new personal best for the second time in the day as she qualified for the Women’s 100m Breaststroke final.

The Loughborough University swimmer clocked 1:07.43 in her morning heat and shaved a further 0.70 seconds off that as she recorded 1:06.73.

That saw her qualify sixth fastest for the final on Tuesday 23 July.

She said: “I wasn’t expecting to go that fast.

“I came here with the 100m being my secondary event and just a setup for the 200m, so now to be in the final I’m a bit overwhelmed – I’m over the moon.

“I swim with blinkers on so I couldn’t really even see what the girl next to me was doing – I’ve always wanted to go 66.”

Scott through but Guy misses out

Duncan Scott sealed his place in the Men’s 200m Freestyle final but there was disappointment for James Guy – despite achieving his fastest time in two years.

Scott finished second in his semi-final, that saw him racing alongside Guy, in a time of 1:45.46.

That was the joint fourth quickest qualifying time for the final.

Guy’s time of 1:45.95 was only good enough for sixth place and he missed out on a final spot by 0.19 seconds.

He posted on his Instagram page: “Massive step in the right direction. First 1:45 in two years and fastest I have been in two years.

“Few more events still to come. Let’s get behind Duncan for the final tomorrow.”

New best for Greenbank

In the Men’s 100m Backstroke semi-final, Luke Greenbank finished seventh in his race – and 14th overall – in a personal best time of 53.75.

He was 0.20 seconds faster than his heat time but was 0.35 seconds adrift of the last final qualifier, Romania’s Robert Glinta who finished in 53.40.

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