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LONDON, England, August 2. TEAM USA proved to be dominant in prelims of the women's 200-meter backstroke, clinching the top two qualifying spots with Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Beisel going 1-2 at the 2012 London Olympics.
Franklin, who already won the 100 back earlier in the meet, raced to the top seed with a 2:07.54. A win would give her a third gold for the meet, having helped the 800 freestyle relay to victory as well. She also has a bronze with a third-place effort in the 400 free relay. A win in the distance dorsal, along with her 100 back victory, would make her the first backstroke sweep for the women since Diana Mocanu of Romania won both gold in 2000.
“It wasn't bad. I thought I would have been a bit better,” Franklin said. “I'm swimming seven events here. This is my last prelim swim. I haven't been keeping track of how many I've swam so far, it would make me tired. I'm a little bit relieved that this is my last prelim swim but I'm going to miss this so much. I'm going to scoop up all the energy that I have left and put it towards the next swim.”
Beisel posted the early pacesetter with a 2:07.82 in heat three out of five before winding up second overall. She took silver in the 400 IM on night one, and has rested up ever since. She placed fifth in this event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and is looking to improve on that finish.
Overshadowed by the multiple threepeat chances by Kosuke Kitajima and Michael Phelps has been Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry. She placed third in 2:08.14 this morning, and with a win would join Dawn Fraser and Krisztina Egerszegi as the only swimmers to have won an event three straight times. She beat Russia's Stansilava Komarova in 2004 and Margaret Hoelzer of the U.S. in 2008, and has targeted this swim the last four years.
Australia's Meagen Nay (2:08.40), Australia's Belinda Hocking (2:08.75), France's Alexianne Castel (2:08.92), Canada's Sinead Russell (2:09.04) and Russia's Anastasia Zueva (2:09.36) finished fourth through eighth.
Ukraine's Daryna Zevina (2:09.40), Spain's Duane da Rocha Marce (2:09.72), Great Britain's Stephanie Proud (2:10.01), Czech's Simona Baumrtova (2:10.03), South Africa's Karin Prinsloo (2:10.34), Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (2:10.37), Germany's Jenny Mensing (2:10.54) and The Netherlands' Sharon van Rouwendaal (2:10.60) completed the semifinal field.
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