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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.
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).
“In Beijing (2008) I did qualify ninth after the semis, so I’m actually just really happy to be in the final,” Seebohm said. “I haven’t felt this good since 2010, pre the swine flu and all the hard stuff I dealt with last year.”
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.
“It was awesome, I am so happy,” Franklin said. “Watching Emily Seebohm break the Olympic record [this morning] was amazing. It was absolutely unbelievable. She did such a good job.”
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.
“My touch wasn’t good tonight, otherwise all went well,” Terakawa said. “Our team is great now so this gives me confidence and comfort.”
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