2012 London Olympics: Elizabeth Beisel, Missy Franklin Earn Top Two Spots in 200 Back Semis; Defending Champion Kirsty Coventry Finishes Sixth

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LONDON, England, August 2. THE top two spots of the women's 200-meter backstroke semifinals went to the Americans again at the 2012 London Olympics.

After Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Beisel led the way in the women's 200 back prelims, the two traded spots with Beisel leading the way into the finale, 2:06.18 to 2:06.84. Beisel's first semifinal time blasted the Olympic textile best of 2:07.06 clocked by Krisztina Egerszegi back in 1992 in Barcelona. Kirsty Coventry's Olympic record of 2:05.24 is still on the books. The time beat Beisel's lifetime best of 2:06.39 from the 2009 World Championships, and moved her one step close to breaking 2:06. She already picked up her first Olympic medal with a silver in the 400 IM earlier this week, and likely has gold in mind.

“I haven't had a good 200m back in a while,” Beisel said. “It's going to be a big confidence boost going into tomorrow night.”

Franklin, whose personal best of 2:05.10 from the 2011 World Championships stands as the overall textile best, cruised into the finals with her effort. She already has two golds and a bronze as part of an unprecedented seven-event slate this week. She'll be vying for more hardware in the distance dorsal finale.

Australia's Meagen Nay placed third in 2:07.42, just off her lifetime best of 2:07.16 from June of last year. Australia has not won a medal in the event since Nicole Stevenson's bronze in 1992. Russia's Anastasia Zueva (2:07.88) and France's Alexianne Castel (2:08.24) took fourth and fifth.

Two-time defending champion Kirsty Coventry made finals with a sixth-place 2:08.32. She is looking to join Dawn Fraser and Egerszegi as the only swimmers to have threepeated an event in Olympic history.

“I am happy with my performance,” Coventry said. “My goal was to make it to the final and I've done that. We'll see how tomorrow goes. Get some good rest today and tomorrow morning, and come back for the final. Everything went to the plan: I wanted to have the same sort of swim I had this morning, and I did. I don't really have any expectations. I am just happy to be in the final. The girls who are ahead of me right now are really great, so it's going to be a tight, exciting race tomorrow. But I am not going to share any of my plans for the final.”

Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (2:08.48) and Canada's Sinead Russell (2:08.76) also made the finale.

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