Michael Phelps wins the men's 200m IM on day four of the 2015 Arena Pro Swim Series at the George F. Haines International Swim Center on June 21, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. Don Feria/Getty Images/AFP
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The absence of a handful of the world's best swimmers, including Michael Phelps, has added an air of uncertainty to the 16th World Aquatic Championships, starting in Russia Friday.The highest-profile no-show is Phelps, who came out of retirement in 2014 but was subsequently banned from representing the United States at the World Championships after being convicted of drink driving late last year.Australia's James Magnussen, who won the 100-meter freestyle gold at the last two World Championships, will also be missing after electing to undergo shoulder surgery, giving up his chance to become the first man to win the blue-riband sprint three times in row.One of the few men to have beaten Phelps at the Olympics, Le Clos will defend the 100m and 200m butterfly titles he won at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona and is also targeting the 50m, hoping to complete a unique treble.
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