|By John Lohn
OMAHA, Nebraska, June 29. SHE came out in the morning with the fastest time in the prelims of the 100 butterfly. At night, Christine Magnuson was even better. Posting the third-fastest time in the world this year and not far off the American record of 57.34, Magnuson popped a personal-best effort of 57.50 in the semifinals. It was good for a meet record.
Magnuson has been surging the past two years at the University of Tennessee and clearly is peaking at the right time and amid the pressure-packed atmosphere that is found at the Olympic Trials. In her semifinals, Magnuson bolted to the lead at the 50-meter mark, clocking 26.98, and then held form through a strong finish.
"I knew I felt good tonight," Magnuson said. "This morning gave me a lot of confidence to just go out there, and every time I hit the water, I want to swim my best. So far, it has been really good, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow night."
While Magnuson has separated herself from the field through two rounds of competition, she still must answer the bell tomorrow night to punch a ticket to Beijing. Meanwhile, quite a battle is brewing for the other slot allotted to the United States. Qualifying second for the final, by winning the first semifinal, was Elaine Breeden in 58.04. That time was just off her morning effort of 58.03.
A pair of 2004 Olympians checked in third and fourth, thanks to solid swims from Rachael Komisarz and Dana Vollmer. Komisarz turned in a time of 58.31 while Vollmer touched the wall in 58.55. The rest of the field for tomorrow's final was rounded out by Mary DeScenza (58.86), Brooke Bishop (58.98), Whitney Myers (59.13) and Kim Vandenberg (59.34).
Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.
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Photo By: Peter H. Bick