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Kalisz flop gifts Seto chance at world swim double

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Gwangju (South Korea) (AFP)

Title holder Chase Kalisz swam a horror 400 metres individual medley heat Sunday, handing Japanese rival Daiya Seto a golden opportunity to complete a world title double.

Olympic and world champ Katinka Hosszu made no mistake, setting the pace in the women's 400m prelims, clocking four minutes, 35.40 seconds in Gwangju -- nearly two seconds faster than Japan's Yui Ohashi, who is realistically chasing silver.

Kalisz looked aghast after fading horribly in the morning, the American finishing 10th overall as Seto won his heat in 4:12.27 to top the time sheets.

"Looks like I'll be travelling alone," joked Seto after seeing Kalisz had failed to reach the final.

"I just have to focus on pushing hard in the first half of the race and keep pushing to get the adrenalin pumping over the second half."

Seto, world champion in 2013 and 2015, captured his first 200m world title earlier in the week, ending an American winning streak in the event dating back 16 years.

"It felt good to win the 200m but I've got to put that behind me," Seto told AFP.

"With one eye on next year's Tokyo Olympics already, I need to push it out hard over the first half tonight and post that time I've set for myself."

Kalisz blanked waiting journalists after finishing 10th in 4:15.62 as even Azerbaijan's Maksym Shemberev beat the American, becoming his country's first-ever world championship finalist.

Hosszu has been untouchable in the women's 400m individual medley over the past 10 years and Hungary's "iron lady" is expected to become the first female swimmer to win five world titles in a single event.

- Dressel alert -

Elsewhere in the final session of a record-breaking eight days, American superstar Caeleb Dressel could match his seven gold medals at the 2017 world championships in Budapest in the men's 4x100m medley relay, an event the United States dominate.

"For some of us this is our last race," said Mallory Comerford after the United States set easily the quickest time in the heats of the women's 4x100m medley.

"It's always great to be part of a winning relay," she added after her third leg helped the Americans sweep to gold in Saturday's 4x100m mixed free.

"Especially doing it for our country, so just using that moving forward and ending on a good note."

Dressel has lit up a meet that had been plagued by doping protests by swimmers before Australian officials announced that relay star Shayna Jack had tested positive for a banned substance before the start of the world championships, explaining her mysterious no-show.

The 22-year-old pulverised Michael Phelps's long-standing 100m butterfly record on Friday in arguably the highlight of the week.

Phelps also lost his world 200m fly mark to Hungarian teenager Kristof Milak, leaving the American legend with only the 400m medley world record in individual events.

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