McNally claims scalp of Lochte in Barcelona but remains calm

Craig McNally beat five-time Olympic champion Ryan Lochte in the 200m backstroke heats to qualify second-fastest for the semi-finals at the World Championship but he was refusing to get too carried away with it.

The 20-year-old clocked 1:57.18minutes, one hundredth of a second quicker than Lochte who was a lane inside the Scot, with only reigning Olympic champion Tyler Clary bettering them after posting 1:56.76.

But McNally, who forced his way back into contention in the second half of the race, insists he wasn’t surprised to be mixing it with world’s best having given everything to ensure his place in the semi-finals in Barcelona.

“It felt really good, I knew I would have to do a fast heat swim to be able to progress into the semi-finals,” he said.

“That was the sort of time I was aiming to do in the heats just to make sure I made it through.”

Fellow Brit Chris Walker-Hebborn also made it through to the semi-finals of the 200m backstroke after touching home in 1:57.95 for ninth overall.

“That was job done,” said Walker-Hebborn, who also reached the 100m backstroke semi-finals in Barcelona earlier in the week.

“To dip under 1.58 is my fastest morning swim so I was happy with that and hopefully I can go a bit quicker in the semi-final.”

Britain will also have two swimmers leading the charge in the 200m breaststroke semi-finals after Andrew Willis and Michael Jamieson both made advanced.

Willis stormed out of the blocks to record a time of 2:09.91, second-fastest overall, while Olympic silver medallist Jamieson just made it in 2:11.47 for 14th.

And Willis said: “I feel good; I didn’t want to go too slow, the minute you slow down it could mean you might not be coming back. I’m happy with that; I’ll come back and readjust for the final.”

Hannah Miley just missed out on qualification out of the 200m breaststroke heats but admits the 400m medley, which gets underway on the final day on Sunday, is naturally her primary focus.

“The breaststroke is a bit of a fun event for me and I never really expected to make it through to a semi-final,  so I was really happy to be so close to making it,” said Miley, who touched home in 2:28.15,  three hundredths of a second and one place away from advancing.

Elsewhere, Amy Smith was 21st overall to miss out on a place in the 100m freestyle semi-finals after clocking 55.40secondss but still has the 50m splash and dash still to come.

© Sportsbeat 2013