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WATCH LIVE: Men’s 50 free, women’s 200 back among Thursday’s qualifying heats

Swimming - Olympics: Day 5

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 10: Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the second Semifinal of the Men’s 200m Individual Medley on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 10, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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Preliminary heats in four swimming competitions will be held Thursday afternoon, beginning with the ultimate sprint that is the 50 meter free. The men hit the pool in this event Thursday, with Americans Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin among those looking to qualify for the semifinal round. Also in the competition is France’s Florent Manaudou, the reigning Olympic champion in the 50 meter free.

The 11 men’s 50 free heats will be followed by four heats in the women’s 800 free, an event won by American Katie Ledecky in London four years ago. Ledecky’s back to defend her gold medal, with silver medalist Mireia Belmonte Garcia also swimming in the qualifying heats. Leah Smith, who swam on the United States’ 4x200 free relay gold medal team with Ledecky, is also competing in the 800 free and Great Britain’s Jazz Carlin is also expected to contend for a medal.

WATCH LIVE: Men’s 50 free, women’s 800 free, men’s 100 butterfly, women’s 200 back preliminary heats -- 12 p.m. Eastern

Michael Phelps will be swimming in the 100 butterfly, an event he’s won in each of the last three Olympic Games. South Africa’s Chad le Clos will also be swimming in the 100 butterfly, and it will be interesting to see what his mindset is after drifting out of medal contention in the 200 butterfly after spending so much time focusing on Phelps. The final qualifying heats will be in the women’s 200 back, with Americans Missy Franklin and Maya DiRado among the medal contenders in the field.

Franklin won gold in this event four years ago, and Australians Emily Seebohm and Belinda Hocking and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu are among the other competitors expected to contend.