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Sun Yang continues to impress on Sunday morning in Olympic pool

(Xinhua)

10:52, July 30, 2012

LONDON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Sun Yang continues to impress: the Chinese swimmer, who made history on Saturday night by taking the first ever gold medal won by a Chinese male in the swimming pool, hammered out a statement when he defeated Ryan Lochte in the first round of the men's 200 meters freestyle.

Sun was the fastest of the 16 qualifiers for the semi-finals with a time of 1.46.24.

While Sun took gold in the men's 400 meter freestyle on Saturday, Lochte had also produced a magnificent swim to win the 400 meter medley and hint he could be the successor to the great Michael Phelps, who had finished out of the medals

In what is considered to be his weaker event when compared to the 400 and 1,500 meters freestyle, Sun produced a typically powerful last lap to overhaul Lochte in their heat. Although Lochte was probably aiming to conserve energy and simply ensure making the last 16, you could argue that Sun was doing the same and his win will give Lochte plenty to think about.

"I was aiming to finish first or second in the heats to qualify for the semi-final. I'll try to do my best, but the 200 meters freestyle is not my best event and its more difficult for me than the 400, or 1,500 meters," said Sun, who considered he swam a "normal" race.

Park Taewan, who finished behind Sun on Saturday night, also won his heat to progress to the semi-finals.

"What happened yesterday is in the past. I want to take it one day at a time and I want to try and win gold in the 200 meters," said Park.

The majority of the spectators in the pool on Sunday morning were there to see Britain's Rebecca Adlington and the double gold medal winner from Beijing didn't disappoint with an assured win after she opened an early lead in her heat and held on comfortably while aiming to conserve energy.

Despite winning her heat Adlington was actually the slowest of the eight qualifiers and will face a stiff challenge from Italy's Federica Pellegrini, Coralie Balmy, who qualified with the fastest time, and Canada's 18-year old Brittney MacClean.

It promises to be a showdown in the women's 100 meter backstroke as Australian Emily Seebohm set a new Olympic record of 58.23 to reach the semi-finals. The USA's 17 year-old sensation Misssy Franklin clocked the second fastest qualifying time of 59.37, while China's Fu Yuanlui and Zhao Jing also made into the last 16.

"Sometimes I feel good and sometimes I feel bad, when I feel bad my body feels a bit heavy," said Zhao, who will look to step up in Sunday night's semi-final.

Lithuanian teenager, Ruta Mielutyte produced the best swim of the day and the eighth fastest of all time to become the fastest qualifier in the heats of the women's 100 meter breast-stroke.

Australia's Leisel Jones has had to put up with some criticism of her weight in recent weeks, but she qualified easily in fifth place, while China's Zhao Jin made the cut with the 13th fastest time.

The heats for the men's 100 meter backstroke saw France's Camile Lacourt, who has the second fastest swim of the year, look comfortable in his heat, while world number one, Matthew Greversalso looked comfortable in a heat where China's Cheng Feiyi finished in second place. The pair were the two fastest of all 16 qualifiers.

Finally there will be fireworks in the final of the men's 4 x100 meters relay. The Australians came back from a poor start to overtake the Americans and Russians in a thrilling semi. While France who won the first semi-final, showed they will also challenge for a medal, it is the eternal rivalry between Aussies and Americans that will be the big attraction.

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