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LONDON, England, July 31. KATHLEEN Hersey broke 2:06 to lead the way in the women's 200-meter fly semifinals at the 2012 London Olympics.
Hersey clocked a time of 2:05.90, just missing Misty Hyman's Olympic textile best of 2:05.88 set at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The swim pushed Hersey to 14th all time in the event's history, and put her in a strong position to improve upon her eighth-place finish in the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She is looking to return the gold medal to the U.S. for the first time since Hyman's victory, and join Karen Moe (1972), Mary T. Meagher (1984) and Summer Sanders (1992) as American winners in the event.
“I finally learned how to be relaxed and have fun with the race and not get too caught up,” Hersey said. “If you don't let yourself at least feel some of the emotion of the Olympics you are missing out on so much of it. I think I finally mastered how to get the crowd's energy behind me. We had a really fun time at training camp. We did a video 'Call Me Maybe'. That was a whole lot of fun. Doing silly things like that I learned how to blow bubble rings. You get your business done then you have fun this is why we swim. This is why we do our sport. I'll have the morning off, get to sleep in have a good breakfast then get really excited and ready for tomorrow night.”
Defending silver medalist Jiao Liuyang of China looked strong in the first semifinal with a 2:06.10. She, along with defending champion Liu Zige, who qualified sixth in 2:06.99, are vying to keep the title in the hands of the Chinese and to increase their medal tally from three in the event's history. The duo, along with Wang Xiaohong with silver in 1992, are the only swimmers from their country to medal in the event.
Japan's Natsumi Hoshi posted a third-ranked 2:06.37, pushing her past the semifinal for the first time after only making semis at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She is looking for her first international meet medal, having taken fourth in the 200 fly at the 2011 World Championships.
Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia (2:06.62), Hungary's Zsuzsanna Jakabos (2:06.82), USA's Cammile Adams (2:07.33) and Great Britain's Jemma Lowe (2:07.37) all will have a shot at Olympic gold in the finale.
“I timed it perfectly. Job done. I'm in the final,” Lowe said. “I did not have a clue what the other (semi)final had done. I thought I had missed it. When I came out I was so relieved. Tomorrow I am going to give everything I have got and see what it brings. I have to try to control that first 50m. You can see people ahead of you. You have to try to keep calm. It is dangerous but it went perfectly (tonight). The outside lane is perfect for me. It is a bit more relaxed.”
Defending bronze medalist Jessicah Schipper, however, will not after a 13th-place 2:08.21.
“A bit of a mixed emotions. Definitely disappointed I did not get to the finals tomorrow night, but my preparations has been a bit out of control. But overall I am pretty happy, I definately have no regrets. At the end of the day it is probably the best thing,” Schipper said. “I had an operation on my ovary and I have been out of the water for six weeks. So I did not train properly. Pretty big deal leading to the Games. I definitely always hope for the medal. I did not want to put any limitations on myself. I definitely wanted to make it to the final, but I have no regrets. I swam in this race as best as I could. I have not made up my mind [on my future plans]. I have finished competing now. I am going to have a break and think about what I want to do.”
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