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BARCELONA, Spain, August 2. SHE missed out on the chance to break the overall medal count record with her fourth-place finish in the 100-meter freestyle tonight, but Missy Franklin bounced back in her strongest event as she smoked the semifinal round of the women’s 200-meter backstroke at the FINA World Championships.
Franklin, out under 30 seconds again with a 29.83 first 50, cruised to a 2:06.46 to lead the way through semis. She’s definitely conserving energy before the finale as she blasted the world record with 2:04.06 last summer at the 2012 London Olympics.
A win in the 200 back tomorrow night would give Franklin her fifth gold medal of the week following victories in the 100 back, 200 free, 400 free relay and 800 free relay. That would tie her with Libby Trickett’s 2007 meet for the most golds in a single competition. She also has the chance to break that mark as part of the 400-meter medley relay later this week.
If you add two potential gold medals with likely wins in the 200 back and 400 medley relay, Franklin could also tie Trickett for the most world titles in a career with nine. Franklin already owns seven of them before she’s even gone off to college. A six gold-medal haul this week would tie her with Kristin Otto for the most medals at a single Worlds and international meet as Otto won six golds at the 1988 Olympics.
Canada’s Hilary Caldwell raced into second with 2:07.15 for her second Canadian record of the day. She first broke the mark with a 2:07.81 this morning, before nearly becoming the first Canadian to break 2:07 this evening. USA’s Elizabeth Pelton rounded out the top three finishers in the distance dorsal with a 2:08.20.
Australia’s Belinda Hocking (2:08.49), Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina (2:08.74), Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (2:08.97), Russia’s Daria Ustinova (2:09.08) and Canada’s Sinead Russell (2:09.84) also made their way into the championship finale. Two swimmers in the finale is huge for Team Canada as it continues to build in prominence in the sport.