Cate Campbell Crushes 50 Free Semis; Simone Manuel Keeps Dropping U.S. Age Group Mark

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BARCELONA, Spain, August 3. AUSTRALIA’s Cate Campbell remained on track to become the fifth woman to accomplish the 50-100 free sweep at the FINA World Championships as Campbell blasted the semifinal round of the 50 tonight.

Campbell scorched semis with a scintillating time of 24.19, nearing the textile best of 24.05 posted by Ranomi Kromowidjojo at least summer’s Olympic Games. Should she pull off the victory, she would join China’s Le Jingyi (1994), The Netherlands Inge de Bruijn (2001), Australia’s Libby Trickett (2007) and Germany’s Britta Steffen (2009) as the other swimmers to have accomplished a 50-100 sweep at Worlds.

Kromowidjojo, however, will be there to give Campbell a run after posted a 24.33 for second. Kromowidjojo is gunning for her first individual world title and ninth career world medal. She’s already captured three bronzes this week in the 100 free, 50 fly and 400 free relay, and is definitely looking for an upgrade.

Jeanette Ottesen Gray, who is experimenting with a freestyle technique change that caused her to scratch the 100-meter free, didn’t seem to have an issue in the 50 as she qualified third in 24.54. Great Britain’s Fran Halsall, meanwhile, earned fourth overall with a 24.61.

Cate’s sister Bronte Campbell picked up the fifth seed in the finale with a 24.62, while Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom earned sixth in 24.65. Germany’s Dorothea Brandt wound up seventh in 24.85.

USA’s Simone Manuel, who turned 17 yesterday but is administratively considered 16 for this meet since she turned 17 after the first day of the meet, picked up the final qualifying time with a 24.91. That time beat her preliminary 24.93, that also broke her 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record of 25.01.

She’s the first 18-and-under swimmer in U.S. history to break 25 seconds, and is almost assured of breaking Kara Lynn Joyce’s 17-18 U.S. National Age Group record of 25.00 from 2004.

Olympic superstar Natalie Coughlin, one of the best female swimmers of all time, had a rough swim this evening falling to 11th with a 25.02 as she continues to figured out how to be an elite-level sprinter.

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