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SHANGHAI, China, July 29. MISSY Franklin is making a serious run at Swimming World's American Swimmer of the Year honors with her performances at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
After an epic leadoff in the women's 800 freestyle relay, Franklin chipped in with a scorching time of 2:05.90 to lead the women's 200 back semifinals. That swim eclipsed the American record of 2:06.09 set by Margaret Hoelzer at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. Franklin also tracked down the textile best of 2:06.46 set by Zhao Jing of China last November. Additionally, Franklin became just the third swimmer ever to break 2:06, with Kirsty Coventry (2:04.81) and Anastasia Zueva (2:04.94) having faster times from the techsuit era.
"I'm just so excited and so happy," Franklin said. "It is really special, and the team was really supportive of the record."
Australia's Belinda Hocking finished a distant second in 2:07.76, while USA's Elizabeth Beisel qualified third in 2:07.82.
"Missy is awesome!" Beisel said. "She is only 16. When I was told she was the American record holder, I said 'No way!'"
Ukraine's Daryna Zevina (2:08.22), France's Alexianne Castel (2:08.41), The Netherlands' Sharon Van Rouwendaal (2:08.42), Australia's Meagen Nay (2:08.53) and Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds (2:08.79) all will be looking to make Franklin work in the finale.
"I'm looking forward to the final," Nay said. "I just want to concentrate on myself and my swimming. I'm sure I'll just get better and better."