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LONDON, England, July 31. FOR the second preliminary event in a row, Team USA nabbed the top seed. This time, Kathleen Hersey turned in a strong time in the women's 200-meter butterfly at the 2012 London Olympics.
Hersey was the only swimmer under 2:07 in qualifying heats with a 2:06.41. The swim pushed her into the semifinal rounds. She's looking to improve on her eighth-place finish in the event at the 2008 Beijing Games, and she's already lopped plenty of time from her 2:08.23 in finals in China. Hersey is vying to become the first American to win the event since Misty Hyman posted the Olympic and American textile best of 2:05.88 to win this event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
“This is the first competition where I haven't felt overwhelmed by the surroundings. The pool is wonderful,” Hersey said. “I felt really smooth and I tried not to go into last gear. It was a good morning swim. Life experience has taught me a lot the last three years, especially this year. It's been good to watch and finally now it's my turn.”
Defending silver medalist Jiao Liuyang posted a 2:07.15 to qualify third. She finished second in the event in 2008 with a 2:04.72, and will be pushing to keep the title in China's hands for a second straight Olympiad.
“I just kept my pace and in comparison to the 100m (butterfly), I'm quite familiar with 200m (butterfly), because I focus more on 200m in training,” Jiao said. “100m and 200m (butterfly) are different in terms of the technique. I didn't do very well in my 100m, but I hope I will keep going in the 200m. I'm not that ambitious. I just want to follow my pace as I was trained. I don't want to push myself too much, give myself pressure. Because the team have won so many medals it's good for me, I don't have to have pressure now.”
Great Britain's Jemma Lowe qualified third in 2:07.64. She made semis in 2008, and finished sixth in the 100 fly that year as well. Lowe is looking for her first Olympic medal.
“I'm really happy I've made it to the next round, that was the aim this morning,” Lowe said. “It was the best (time) I've done in the morning. I just blacked out and focused on myself. Everyone has their ups and downs. I'm sure [Ellen Gandy] gave it her best this morning.”
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu (2:07.75), Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:07.79), Japan's Natsumi Hoshi (2:08.04), Spain's Judit Ignacio Sorribes (2:08.14) and USA's Cammile Adams (2:08.18) qualified fourth through eighth out of prelims.
Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia (2:08.19) and Korea's Hye Ra Choi (2:08.45) placed ninth and 10th, while defending Olympic gold medalist Liu Zige posted a conservative 11th-place 2:08.72. Defending bronze medalist Jessicah Schipper of Australia also kept her cards close with a 12th-place 2:08.74.
Sweden's Martina Granstrom (2:08.94), Slovenia's Anja Klinar (2:09.24), Canada's Audrey Lacroix (2:09.25) and Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak (2:09.33), the 2004 Olympic champion, picked up the rest of the transfer spots into the semifinal heats.
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