By John Lohn
BEIJING, China, August 12. OF all the events on the women's schedule, none seemed to be more of a lock than the 100 breaststroke. And Australia's Leisel Jones didn't disappoint as she routed the field with a performance that rivaled her world record. It was one of those races that was over from the start.
Surging to the lead with a 50-meter split of 30.63, nearly a second clear of Rebecca Soni, Jones continued to pull away heading into the wall and registered a victorious time of 1:05.17. The effort wasn't far off her global standard of 1:05.09, which has stood since 2006. The time, however, was good for an Olympic record.
The fourth-place finisher at the U.S. Trials, Soni wasn't supposed to contest this event in Beijing. Now, she's an Olympic silver medalist. The replacement for Jessica Hardy after Hardy withdrew from the American team following a positive doping test, Soni took advantage of her second life by clocking in at 1:06.73. Soni looked strong down the stretch, a positive development for her upcoming 200 breast.
The bronze medal went to Austria's Mirna Jukic, who was timed in 1:07.34 to hold off Russia's Yuliya Efimova (1:07.43). The Russian's last two rounds were puzzling as she couldn't match her 1:06-flat performance from the prelims in either the semifinals or the final. American Megan Jendrick, the 2000 Olympic champ, was fifth in 1:07.62.
The second-fastest performer in history, Aussie Tarnee White never found her rhythm this week and finished sixth in 1:07.63. China's Sun Ye was next in 1:08.08 and the field was rounded out by Japan's Asami Kitagawa in 1:08.43.