FINA World Championships editorial coverage is proudly sponsored by SpeedoUSA. For all the latest coverage, check out our event coverage page.
BARCELONA, Spain, August 2. OLYMPIC gold medalist and defending world champion Missy Franklin put up an easy speed time this morning in the women’s 200-meter backstroke at the FINA World Championships.
Franklin, who broke 30 seconds at the 50 with a 29.62, shut it down the rest of the way en route to a 2:07.57. She’s been much faster this year with a world-leading 2:05.68 at U.S. Nationals, but she didn’t need to expend the energy to advance to semis.
Franklin is tackling a monumental schedule, and still has the chance to break some records. She already has four gold medals this week with wins in the 100 back, 200 free, 400 free relay and 800 free relay. With a likely victory in the 200 back, she will at least tie Libby Trickett’s record of five gold medals in a meet in 2007. Throw in the likelihood of a win in the 400-meter medley relay, and Franklin could stand alone with an astonishing six gold medals in a single meet.
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.
Franklin also has the 100 free left on her schedule tonight, and a medal there would put her in line to break the record for most medals in a single World Championship meet currently held by Kristin Otto with six (four gold, two silver).
Otto also holds the record for most gold medals at a single international event with six golds at the 1988 Olympics. Franklin has the likelihood of at least tying, and could break it if she musters up a particularly special 100 free this evening.
The rest of the field will be looking to play spoiler to some of these accolades. Australia’s Belinda Hocking qualified second in 2:07.64, while Canada’s Hilary Caldwell claimed third in 2:07.81. Russia’s Daria Ustinova (2:08.69), Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (2:08.93), Canada’s Sinead Russell (2:09.24), Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina (2:09.31) and USA’s Elizabeth Pelton (2:09.56) all broke 2:10 to comprise the top eight.
Australia’s Meagen Nay (2:10.62), Italy’s Federica Pellegrini (2:10.65), South Africa’s Karin Prinsloo (2;10.71), Hungary’s Evelyn Verraszto (2:10.86), Japan’s Sayaka Akase (2:10.87), Japan’s Miyu Otsuka (2:11.69), Czech’s Simona Baumrtova (2:11.86) and China’s Bai Anqi (2:12.14) earned the other transfer spots into the semifinal heats.