LONDON, England, July 29. AUSTRALIA’s Emily Seebohm, who already set an Olympic record in prelims with a 58.23, cleared 59 again to lead the women’s 100 back semis at the 2012 London Olympics.USA’s Missy Franklin, who has a sub-59 second in her with a lifetime best of 58.85 from the U.S. Trials in Omaha, raced into the second seed with a 59.12. The 17-year-old phenom, who won three golds at the 2011 World Championships and picked up bronze in the 400 free relay last night, is vying for her first individual Olympic medal.
Seebohm raced to the top seed in the finale with a strong 58.39, after being out under world-record pace at the 50-meter mark. Seebohm has a chance to become the first Australian to win an event in which her country has had little success. Bonnie Mealing won silver way back in 1932, while Judy-Joy Davies took bronze in 1948. Her teammate also has a chance to add to the hardware as Belinda Hocking qualified seventh in 59.79. Seebohm’s morning time put her third all time in the event behind Gemma Spofforth (58.12) and Anastasia Zueva (58.18).
Japan’s Aya Terakawa, the veteran of the field at 27, qualified third in 59.34. She placed eighth in the 200 back in Beijing, and would like to move up into the medal standings. China’s Zhou Jing (59.55), Russia’s Zueva (59.68), Great Britain’s Spofforth (59.70), and China’s Fu Yuanhui (59.82) all earned lanes in the championship finale.
LONDON, England, July 29. THE second day of preliminary qualifying at the 2012 London Olympics kicked off in a big way today with an Olympic record in the women’s 100 back qualifying heats from Australia’s Emily Seebohm.Seebohm has a chance to become the first Australian to win an event in which her country has had little success. Bonnie Mealing won silver way back in 1932, while Judy-Joy Davies took bronze in 1948. Australia’s Belinda Hocking could also help better these numbers for the Aussies after qualifying third in 59.61.
Seebohm, who previously had a top time of 58.88 for the Australian record, blitzed the field in heat four of six with a sterling 58.23. Out under world record pace, Seebohm settled for the third fastest time ever. That swim eclipsed the Olympic record of 58.77 set by Kirsty Coventry at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and also bested Natalie Coughlin’s Olympic textile best of 59.68 from the 2004 Athens Olympics. Additionally, Seebohm’s time this morning cleared the overall textile best of 58.85 previously posted by Missy Franklin at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month. Only Gemma Spofforth (58.12) and Anastasia Zueva (58.18) have been faster than Seebohm, with both times coming during the techsuit era.
Franklin, meanwhile, won the final heat in an easy speed 59.37. She will look to become the 10th American to win the event, and keep the title in U.S. hands for the third Olympiad in a row as Natalie Coughlin snared the gold medal the previous two iterations of the event.
“I think the emotional and mental aspect of it being at the Olympic Games is harder than other races,” Franklin said. “I really get a lot of support from the coaches.”
Japan’s Aya Terakawa placed fourth in prelims with a 59.82 and could become just Japan’s third Olympic medalist in the event. Mai Nakamura (silver, 2000) and Satoko Tanaka (bronze, 1960) are the other medalists for Japan. Zueva, the second-ranked swimmer ever in the event, cruised to fifth in 59.88 for Russia, while Great Britain’s Georgia Davies (59.92), Canada’s Julia Wilkinson (59.94) and China’s Fu Yuanhui (59.96) made up the rest of the top eight.
“They were fast times to compete with,” Terakawa said. “There is not going to be too big a change in semis, but last year in Shanghai I made a mistake in the semis and was eighth and in the last lane. I want to be in the center.”
China’s Zhao Jing (59.97), Czech’s Simon Baumrtova (59.99) qualified ninth and 10th to complete the sub-minute times, while USA’s Rachel Bootsma (1:00.03), world-record holder Spofforth (1:00.05), Canada’s Sinead Russell (1:00.10) and France’s Alexianne Castel (1:00.16) placed 11th through 14th. Two-time defending silver medalist Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe snuck in with a 15th-place time of 1:00.24, while Italy’s Arianna Barbieri grabbed the final transfer spot with a 1:00.26.
Notable misses included 15-year-old Denmark prodigy Mie Nielsen with a 17th-place 1:00.38 and 2007 Swimming World World Swimmer of the Year Laure Manaudou of France taking 22nd in 1:01.03.
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