On the third morning of the World Championships in Doha, Li Bingjie led the 200 free in the only women’s prelim. None of the medallists from the 2023 worlds are competing at the Aspire Dome, as Mollie O’Callaghan, Ariarne Titmus, and Summer McIntosh bypassed the meet with their focus on the Paris event in July.
In the third prelim, Li Bingjie was alongside Erika Fairweather. Fairweather, who is the first New Zealander to have been crowned world champion, led by a second at the final turn, but Li came past her to take the win in 1:57.16 to 1:57.40.
Olympic silver medallist Siobhan Haughey, who will go in tonight’s 100m breaststroke final, was only 0.13secs outside world record pace in the fifth and final heat, going through the first 100 in 56.07. The Hong Kong swimmer put the brakes on in the second half of the race, with Nikolett Padar of Hungary going past her on the last 50 to touch in 1:57.42 to 1:57.62.
In total, four women swam 1:57, with Janna van Kooten claiming the 16th and final spot into the semis in 1:59.41 as Britain’s Lucy Hope missed out. Li has never won a 200 free medal on the global stage and was second behind Haughey at the Asian Games in September 2023.