Incheon: Japan`s Kosuke Hagino followed his shock 200 metres freestyle gold with a leisurely swim in his signature 200m medley heats at the Asian Games on Monday.
Hagino, 20, who scored an electrifying victory over Michael Phelps at last month`s Pan Pacific championships, cruised into the final in Incheon with the third fastest time of two minutes, 0.85 seconds.
"You can pace yourself a little more in qualifying at the Asian Games," Hagino told reporters the morning after stunning China`s Sun Yang and local hero Park Tae-hwan on the opening day of competition in South Korea.
"I did ease off a lot but it helps save energy for the final and the other races," added Hagino, competing in six individual events.
Fellow Japanese Hiromasa Fujimori topped the time-sheets in 2:00.75 with Singapore`s Joseph Schooling second in 2:00.78, but Hagino slowed to a gentle half-pace in the final leg of freestyle.
Compatriot Junya Koga qualified fastest for the men`s 50m backstroke in a new Games record of 24.46, snatching it after team-mate Ryosuke Irie and China`s Xu Jiayu had both broken his previous mark.
Xu clocked the second quickest time of 25.04 with Irie, who won one of his country`s three gold medals on the opening day of competition, third in 25.07.
Japan`s Rie Kaneto clocked 2:25.42 to qualify quickest in the women`s 200m breaststroke ahead of countrywoman Kanako Watanabe.
Singapore`s Tao Li, the Asian Games record holder, and China`s Lu Ying, who holds the Asian record, were joint fastest in the women`s 50m butterfly in 26.46.
Junior world record holder Shen Duo of China qualified fastest in the women`s 100 freestyle in 55.25, some way short of the junior mark of 53.84 she posted at the recent Youth Olympics.
Team-mate and Asian Games record-holder Tang Yi clocked the second quickest time of 55.35, ahead of Japan`s Miki Uchida.
Japan and China split the six gold medals three apiece on the Sunday`s opening day.
China have dominated the Asian Games swimming in recent years, winning 24 of the 38 golds at Guangzhou in 2010, with Japan finishing a distant second with nine.