PLYMOUTH Leander’s Ruta Meilutyte remains on course to retain her 100m breaststroke title at the World Championships.
Meilutyte, who is also Olympic champion and world record holder, cruised through both the heats and the semi-finals on Monday.
She won her semi-final easily in a time of 1:05.64, which was nearly six-tenths of a second ahead of the second-place competitor in her race, China’s Shi Jinglin.
However, Meilutyte’s big rival, Russian Yuliya Efimova did go four-hundredths of a second faster in the second semi. No-one else in either race went under 1:06.21.
Meilutyte’s world and championship record stands at 1:04.35.
Meanwhile, Meilutyte’s Leander team-mate Ben Proud admitted he was ‘slightly disappointed’ by finishing eighth in the 50m butterfly final in Kazan.
Competing in his first global final, Commonwealth Games champion Proud clocked a time of 23.39. Frenchman Florent Manaudou, four years older than Proud, won in 22.97, but no other swimmer went under 23 seconds in a tight final.
Proud had swum 22.93 to win the Commonwealth Games title the year before.
“It was not my race today,” said 20-year-old Proud afterwards. “I am a little bit disappointed, but it’s another learning experience.
“I think I could have gone faster, but maybe next time.”
Proud will also compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle events and the men’s medley relay.