By Sarah Tolar
ATHENS, August 20. INGE de Bruijn used heat two of the women’s 50 free semifinal to make a statement. She wanted it known that although she was forced to relinquish her reign as Olympic champion in the 100 free and 100 fly, she was by no means ready to give up her 50 free crown.
As she did in the morning prelims, De Bruijn smoked the field in the second heat of the semis. Her time — 24.56 — is the world's fastest this year and was a full tenth faster than her prelim time, the previous best this year. It was also almost four-tenths faster than Australian Libby Lenton, who touched second at 24.90. Malia Metella of France smacked the wall behind Lenton just under the 25 second mark with a time of 24.99.
USA Swimmer Jenny Thompson finished in a tie for seventh with Brazilian Flavia Cazzialato by splashing in with a time of 25.17. The matching times just squeaked the pair into the last two lanes for the final.
Heat one saw first-time American Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce come out on top with a time of 25.06. Sweden's Therese Alshammar, the short course WR-holder, got to the wall second, slamming in at 25.16.
Joyce and Alshammar were the only two from heat one of the semis to qualify through to the finals. They will be joined by de Bruijn, Lenton, Metella, Australian Michelle Engelsman, Thompson and Cazzialato.