Lochte leads 400 IM prelims at worlds

By BETH HARRIS | July 30, 2011 | 9:59 PM EDT

U.S. Ryan Lochte competes in a men's 400m Individual Medley heat at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Shanghai, China, Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

SHANGHAI (AP) — Ryan Lochte easily advanced with the fastest time in the preliminaries of the 400-meter individual medley at the world championships, putting the American in position to win his fifth gold medal.

Lochte led all the way in his heat and touched in 4 minutes, 11.89 seconds Sunday — 1.79 seconds ahead of Yuya Horihata of Japan, who finished in 4:13.68.

American Tyler Clary qualified fourth at 4:14.98 for the final on the last night of the eight-day meet.

Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, the 2005 champion and bronze medalist two years ago in Rome, finished 22nd and failed to make the eight-man final.