2012 London Olympics: Ranomi Kromowidjojo Nearly Sets Olympic Record in 50 Free Semis; Defending Champion Britta Steffen, USA's Jessica Hardy Among Finalists
-- August 3, 2012
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LONDON, England, August 3. THE Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo is well on her way to a sprint freestyle sweep with a scorcher in the women's 50-meter freestyle semis at the 2012 London Olympics.
Kromowidjojo posted the overall textile best with a 24.07 during the second semifinal of the women's splash-and-dash. That swim eclipsed her previous textile best of 24.10, and nearly trumped Britta Steffen's Olympic record of 24.06 used to win the 2008 gold medal. Additionally, Kromowidjojo's time in semis is the fastest in textile at the Olympics, undercutting the 24.13 set by compatriot Inge de Bruijn during semis of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia raced to the second seed in 24.45. The 100 freestyle silver medalist and 2011 World Champion in the 100 free, would definitely like to improve upon her eighth-place finish in this event at the 2008 Beijing Games.
The Netherlands' Marleen Veldhuis finished third in 24.50, while Steffen took fourth in 24.57. Steffen could join de Bruijn as the only swimmers to ever repeat in the event's Olympic history.
"If I have a good start tomorrow we (the German team) might be able to grab a medal," Steffen said. "However, the seven swimmers swimming next to me are not bad as well. I will not have great hopes but I am glad that I at least made it into the finals. A medal would be the greatest. I do not yet have silver or bronze but that would be superb but then again I might also end up disappointed. You can see that Ranomi (Kromowidjojo) is untouchable for everyone and that is ok. Such examples always existed."
Great Britain's Fran Halsall (24.63), Bahamas' Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (24.64), USA's Jessica Hardy (24.68) and Sweden's Therese Alshammar (24.71) rounded out the championship heat.
"It felt really good, I felt awful this morning in the warm-up and it was more of a mental race for me and just having fun and giving it everything I had," Hardy said. "Resting and I have to pack a little bit as I am leaving tomorrow night and have fun as that is when I swim best."
Alshammar bounced back from a pinched nerve injury that cost her most of her swims earlier in the week.
"The race was not well executed but I made it through to the final and that is mostly what you aim for in a semifinal," Alshammar said. "I'm very excited to swim tomorrow."
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Results: 2012 London Olympics: Women's 50 Free Semis
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Courtesy of: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports