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Three more World Championships final spots sealed but it’s despair for British duo

Great Britain secured another three World Championship final places but are still searching for their first medal of the competition after James Wilby and Ben Proud’s charge for the podium ended in despair.

Tom Dean, Molly Renshaw and Medi Harris all progressed from their respective semi-finals on day two of the event at the Duna Arena, Budapest, Hungary.

However, Wilby finished fractionally short in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke final after taking fourth – while Proud, the fastest qualifier for the Men’s 50m Butterfly final, had to settle for seventh spot.

So close for Wilby

British Swimming Performance Centre Loughborough swimmer Wilby was the only Brit in the 100m Breaststroke final as Adam Peaty recovers from a broken foot which ruled him out of defending his title.

It is the first time in nine years that Peaty has not won the gold in this event.

Wilby was in fifth place at the halfway stage following a quick start from America’s Nic Fink, Itay’s Nicolo Martinenghi and Holland’s Arno Kamminga.

But Wilby made a sprint for the wall in the second 50m and was in contention for a podium place as he began to reel in the leaders.

However, it proved to be too much as he touched 0.67 behind the new world champion Martinenghi, who took the gold in 58.26.

Wilby clocked 58.93 to finish only 0.28 behind Fink, who was the bronze medallist.

It was a superb effort from 28-year-old Wilby, who still has his preferred 200m Breaststroke race to come on Wednesday 22 June.

He said: “I felt pretty good. The 100m Breaststroke, it’s the sort of race you have to absolutely nail because the strength and depth across the world, and particularly Europe, it’s incredibly deep, so it’s got to be a perfect race every time.

“For me, I’ve been faster, so it wasn’t quite my perfect race. But I’m happy to have moved it on through each round, and it’s always a pleasure to be part of a race like that, because it’s really exciting to be in as well as for everyone to watch.

“I really wanted more, to be totally honest, but it’s one of those where you can look back on it and think about things that could have gone differently.

“But, at the end of the day, I need to be at peace with that and move on to the next race because it’s a busy week and I’ve got a lot of fast swimming to do.”

Despair for Poud

Sprint specialist Proud had high hopes of a medal after qualifying for the 50m Butterfly in time of 22.76 – only 0.01 outside his British record which won him gold in the 2017 World Championships in the same pool.

He got off to a flying start as he had the quickest reaction time to the start but couldn’t take advantage as a lightning quick race was won by Caeleb Dressel in 22.57.

Proud clocked 23.08 to finish 0.51 adrift of the American, who regained the title he won in 2019.

He said: “Yesterday was great. To get back under 23, if you can replicate that in the final, that’s when medals come.

“Today wasn’t the day. But do you know what, after the Olympics, I’m back into racing, physically it’s there, I’ve still got some racecraft to work on. I can take that – we’ll go back and see.

“We’ve got the 50m Freestyle in a couple of days, so I can use this as a building block to the Commonwealth Games, which was the aim all this time.

“If I were to replicate my semi-final time, I’d have been up there. But, at the same time, there’s something to look at and learn from now.

“There’s many more opportunities to come in the next few years.”

Dean cruises through

Olympic champion Tom Dean comfortably qualified for the 200m Freestyle final with a comprehensive semi-final performance.

Dean finished in 1:45.48 to finish second having led for the vast majority of the race.

He was 0.02 behind Korea’s Sunwoo Hwang, who won the first semi-final.

Dean got off to a blistering start and clocked 50.12 for the first 100m to led by half a body length.

The 22-year-old was the fourth fastest qualifier for the final but knows he can go much quicker in the final as his time was more than a second behind his personal best of 1:44.22, which won him gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Dean said: “I’m always happy to get through to the final.

“Tonight was about getting in, get the job done and recovering for tomorrow, that’s why I took my foot off the gas a little bit on the back end, save myself a little bit.

“It’s about finding out how I want to take it out tomorrow. Job done.

“You have to move through the rounds, that’s the way to do it. Now isn’t the time for fireworks and all the special stuff, save that for tomorrow night. That’s just how I wanted to move it on.”

Molly makes it

Molly Renshaw qualified for the 100m Breaststroke final with a perfectly-executed race plan.

The British record holder in both the 100m and 200m events found herself in seventh spot after 50m.

However, Renshaw burst through the field to finish in a time of 1:06.39 – only 0.18 seconds outside her British best.

The 26-year-old finished fourth in her semi-final and was the seventh fastest qualifier overall for Monday’s final.

Renshaw said: “This was just off my best time and I know that there’s definitely things to improve on tomorrow, so I’m just happy to have got a lane for tomorrow and hopefully if I can get those things right, I can make another drop.

“The 100m has never been a massive priority of mine, but I have got there over the years, and the faster I can get that, the more it’ll aid my 200m. So it’s a nice way to start the meet with the 200m later in the week.”

Harris impresses

Medi Harris reached her first World Championships final in her debut appearance.

The 19-year-old qualified fifth fastest in the 100m Backstroke after taking second place in her semi-final.

It was a thoroughly impressive swim from the Swansea University swimmer after she touched home in 59.61 – and she certainly didn’t look out of place on the international stage.

Harris will be aiming to get close to her personal best of 59.24 in Monday’s final.

Solid start for Luke

Luke Greenbank finished eighth in his 100m Backstroke semi-final – and 14th overall.

The 24-year-old was just outside his personal best time of 53.34 after touching home in a time of 53.99.

It was a solid swim from Greenbank, who has his favoured 200m Backstroke event on Wednesday.

The fastest qualifier from the semi-final was Greece’s Apostolos Christou who set a new championship record of 52.09 in Greenbank’s race.

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