On the third day of the World Championships in Doha, Li Bingjie led the 200 free in the sole women’s prelim. Despite none of the medallists from the 2023 worlds being present at the Aspire Dome, Li was determined to make a name for herself in this race.
In the third prelim, Li was joined by Erika Fairweather, who had won the 400 free on the opening evening and was now looking to claim another title in Doha. However, Fairweather would not be able to defend her crown as she finished second behind Li at the final turn.
Despite being only a fraction of a second behind Li at the finish line, Fairweather’s effort was enough to earn her a spot in the semifinals alongside Li and Siobhan Haughey, who had also made it through after finishing fifth in his heat. Haughey had been only 0.13 seconds away from breaking world record pace during his heat, but he slowed down in the second half of his race as Nikolett Padar of Hungary passed him on his way to victory.
Janna van Kooten of Netherlands also swam a time of 1:57 with Lucy Hope missing out on qualification for semifinal round. This was an opportunity for Li to showcase her skills and make history by winning her first global medal in this event. With determination and skillful swimming, she emerged victorious with a time of 1:57.16 while Fairweather finished second with 1:57.40