PERTH, AUSTRALIA, JAN. 8 (TUESDAY) -- Nicole Haislett returned to the scene of her gold medal-robbing mistake today with a pace-setting performance at the World Swimming Championships.

The 17-year-old American, who dove in too quickly on her leg and cost the United States the title in the women's 800-meter freestyle relay Monday, led qualifiers for tonight's final in the 200 freestyle, with a time of 2 minutes 2.02 seconds.

Haislett won the 100 freestyle Monday before her relay error.

It was a scene touched with irony and pathos. Haislett, swimming in Heat 3 of the 200, had the fastest premeet time so got to leave from Lane 4 -- the very block from which she jumped too soon the night before.

And her margin of victory in the heat over Mette Jacobsen of Denmark was .07 of a second -- the exact margin of her error in the relay.

The second day of swimming started so-so for the United States, which has been expected to dominate but opened dreadfully. The best performance of the overcast morning, however, came from a defending champion from Hungary, Tamas Darnyi.

The world record-holder in the men's 400 individual medley lowered the meet record to 4:16.21, one heat after American champion Eric Namesnik had dropped it to 4:17.82. Darnyi set the old record of 4:18.98 in Madrid four years ago.

David Wharton, the former world record-holder from the United States, qualified sixth in 4:21.37.

In the men's 100 butterfly, American Matt Biondi qualified a surprisingly poor seventh behind Olympic champion Anthony Nesty of Surinam and will swim from one of the tough outside lanes in the final.