With the four 2012 Olympians in the finals of the men’s 200 backstroke going in as the top four qualifiers it promised to be a great race in the middle of the pool.
American Ryan Lochte led the race from start to finish. He was challenged by Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland . Lochte turned at the halfway point in a time of 55.89 five tenths of a second ahead of Radoslaw who made up ground in the third 50, but was never able to catch the American who won the event in a time of 1:53.79.
Lochte destroyed his previous season’s best of 1:55.16 and swam 14 one-hundredths of a second faster than the time he posted in the Olympic final where he collected the bronze.
If Lochte was looking for revenge after his race in London he got it beating fellow American Tyler Clary and Ryosuke Irie of Japan, who both finished ahead of him at the Olympic games.
Kawecki has progressively improved his placing at major competitions, finishing seventh at the 2009 world championships, fifth at the 2011 world championships, fourth at the 2012 Olympics and now second in Barcelona.
His time of 1:54.24 is a new European and Polish record and was over a second faster than his lifetime best of 1:55.28.
Olympic champion Tyler Clary took third in a time of 1:54.64, which is a season’s best but close to a second off his lifetime best and Olympic winning time of 1:53.41.
Japanese swimmer Ryosuke Irie finished without hardware for the first time in a long time. He he finished fourth in a time of 1:55.07 after finishing second at the 2009 world championships, 2011 world championships and 2012 Olympic games.
Irie’s Japanese teammate Kosuke Hagino finished in fifth with a time of 1:55.43.
British swimmer Craig McNally finished sixth in a time of 1:56.67, which leaves Britain still looking for their first medal of the competition.
Xu Jiayu of China finished seventh in a time of 1:57.13 while Peter Bernek of Hungary finished eighth in a time of 1:58.26.