On the third day of the World Championships in Doha, Li Bingjie led off the 200 freestyle in the women’s only preliminaries. The meet saw a number of notable absences, with Molly O’Callaghan, Ariarne Titmus and Summer McIntosh bypassing it to focus on bigger things in Paris in July.
Li was paired with Erica Fairweather in the third prelims, and she went on to win the race ahead of Lee in 1:57.16 to 1:57.40. Fairweather became the first New Zealander to win a world title when she won the 400 free on the opening night.
In this round, Siobhan Haughey finished just 0.13 seconds off the world record, going through the first 100 in 56.07 before hitting the brakes and allowing Nicolet Padar of Hungary to pass her in the final 50 to touch at 1:57.42 to Haughey’s 1:57.62. Jana van Kooten – a member of the Dutch winning team – took eighth place and missed out on qualifying for tonight’s semi-finals with a time of 1:59.41, while Britain’s Lucy Hope finished just outside of qualification with a time of 2:03.89 .
Li has never won a medal at this level and was second to Haughey at September’s Asian Games .