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LONDON, England, August 1. CHINA's Tang Yi, 19, blistered her morning swim in the women's 100-meter freestyle as day five kicked off at the 2012 London Olympics.
Tang smoked heat five of seven with a 53.28 to move to 10th all time in the event. In the process, she downed the Olympic textile best shared by Jodie Henry (2004 Athens) and Missy Franklin (2012 London leadoff) of 53.52. Tang is vying to be China's third gold medalist in the event. Zhuang Yong (1992) and Le Jingyi (1996) topped the sprint event in the 90s. She also is looking for her first Olympic medal after fourth-place efforts in the women's 400 free relay in both 2008 and this year.
“I tried my best, and the result is better than my personal best,” Tang said. “I need to focus on the details and make sure the cooperation with my coach is the best it can be. Im going to try my best this evening.”
Australia's Melanie Schlanger topped the final heat with a 53.50 to sit second in semis. Australia has won five 100 free titles, including Henry's 2004 victory. While Schlanger has three Olympic medals, they have all been via relay duty. She's looking to win her first individual hardware.
“I felt pretty good. Wanted to sneak under 54 (seconds), which I did. I guess my second 50 (metres) is always my strength,” Schlanger said. “Whatever happens this week I will be happy with. This is all a bonus for me after retiring. I would love to be up there individually but we will have to wait and see.”
Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray took third in 53.51. She's the reigning world titlist in the event, having clocked a 53.45 to win at the 2011 World Championships. She finished fifth in the event in 2008, and has yet to score an Olympic medal.
“It was OK. It's always harder in the morning,” Ottesen Gray said. “It was a good time, and I'm happy with it.”
Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (53.63), The Netherlands' Ranomi Kromowidjojo (53.66), Bahamas' Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (53.73), Great Britain's Fran Halsall (54.02) and USA's Jessica Hardy (54.09) rounded out the top eight.
Canada's Julia Wilkinson (54.16), Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom (54.26), USA's Missy Franklin (54.26), Japan's Haruka Ueda (54.35) and Great Britain's Amy Smith (54.37) placed ninth through 13th. Defending Olympic gold medalist Britta Steffen of Germany took 14th in 54.42.
The Netherlands' Femke Heemskerk (54.43) and Germany's Daniel Schreiber (54.43) tied for 15th to complete the rest of the semifinal heats.
Therese Alshammar scratched from the 100 freestyle to continue her recuperation from a pinched nerve in her neck that caused her to scratch from Saturday's 400 free relay. She is entered in Friday's 50 freestyle prelims and according to reports out of London, the 34-year-old is hopeful to compete then to make qualifying for her fifth Olympics official.
Additionally, Australia's Cate Campbell scratched due to a stomach illness. She is looking to return by the women's 50-meter freestyle.
Results links, with splits, when available are located at the bottom of the article. Hit refresh to make sure you have the latest version of the story.
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