CNMI swimmer Rezne Wong topped two preliminary races in the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships.
The University of Hawaii-Manoa swim team member timed in at 24.03 seconds in the 50m freestyle event last Thursday morning at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul to rule Heat 7 and beat eight other swimmers. Wong finished .30 seconds ahead of runner-up Christian Selby (24.32 seconds) of Barbados and his time also crushed his personal best or entry time of 25.29 seconds.
Despite his victory on Heat 7, Wong missed the cut for the 50m freestyle, as only the swimmers with the Top 16 fastest times qualified in the semifinals. His time was ranked at No. 80 among 155 finishers. Russia’s Vladimir Morozov submitted the best qualifying time at 20.98 seconds.
Wong recorded his second preliminary race win in the 200m individual medley last Friday. He was on Heat 2 and clocked in at 2:05.84, more than two seconds ahead of Gibraltar’s Colin Bensadon (2:07.88). He also set a new PBT in the 200m IM, chopping off more than four seconds from his entry time (2:10.18).
The 21-year-old Wong timed in at 26.70 seconds in the butterfly, 33.93 seconds in the backstroke, 35.40 seconds in the breaststroke, and 29.81 seconds in the freestyle to beat 8 others in his heat. His time in the 200m IM was the 38th fastest among more than 50 swimmers. Ryan Lochte of the U.S. owned the best qualifying time in the 200m IM after logging 1:53.31 on Heat 4.
Wong’s teammate, Kenzuke Kimura, was on the same heat as the former’s in the 200m IM and placed seventh in the group with a time of 2:16.17. The 16-year-old Kimura posted 28.44 second in the butterfly, 35.55 seconds in the backstroke, 39.77 seconds in the breaststroke, and 32.41 seconds in the freestyle to surpass his PBT (2:19.19).
Kimura also joined the 50m freestyle last Thursday and placed fourth on Heat 6 after submitting 26.07 seconds, .19 seconds faster than his PBT.
Meanwhile, Kimura and Wong were scheduled to compete in 50m breaststroke and 100m IM in Day 4 (Saturday morning in Turkey) of the FINA event. Then in the final day of the competition (Sunday), Kimura was slated to race in the 50m butterfly, while Victoria Chentsova was entered in the 200m freestyle.