Matt Richards Safely Through To Semi-Finals In Doha

DOHA, QATAR - FEBRUARY 14: Matthew Richards of Team Great Britain gestures after competing in the Men's 100m Freestyle Heat 12 on day thirteen of the Doha 2024 World Aquatics Championships at Aspire Dome on February 14, 2024 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Matt Richards Safely Through To Semi-Finals In Doha

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By Hannah Blackwell

Matt Richards is safely through to the 100m freestyle semi finals at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

The Wales Commonwealth Games star and 200m world champion finished in the fourth fastest time across the heats to teka his place in Wednesday afternoon’s semi-finals.

Richards – who is racing in the shorter distance as he sharpens his speed ahead of the Paris Olympic Games this summer – won his heat in 48.05 seconds.

He will challenge fastest qualifiers Pan Zhanie of China, Italy’s Alessandro Miressi and Hungary’s Nandor Nemeth for the medals.

Pan posted a time of 47.82 seconds in the morning session at the Aspire Dome pool, just over a second off the world record (46.80) he set on Sunday with his stunning lead-off swim in the relay won by China.

It was a rapid rebound for 19-year-old Pan following his surprising exit from the 200m freestyle heats on Monday, an event in which he was expected to contend for medals.

Miressi qualified second in the 100m freestyle with 47.94, while Richards, the 200m freestyle world champion at Fukuoka last year, was fourth quickest.

With world champion Kyle Chalmers skipping the meet, along with Fukuoka minor medallists Jack Alexy and Maxime Grousset, Pan is in the box seat to pick up his first individual world title.

Swiss swimmer Desplanches, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, secured top seed for the men’s 200m individual medley semi-finals with a time of one minute 58.17 seconds.

Though France’s 200m and 400m medley world champion Leon Marchand is skipping Doha, Fukuoka silver medallist Duncan Scott is present and eased into the 200m semi-finals with the eighth quickest swim.

Scott later helped Great Britain qualify quickest for the mixed medley relay final ahead of second-placed Australia and the third-ranked United States.

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