By John Lohn
OMAHA, Nebraska, June 30. THROUGH the preliminaries and through the semifinals, Christine Magnuson established herself as the woman to beat in the 100 butterfly. And while she didn't go as fast as the first two rounds, she got the job done in the championship final, winning in 58.11 to earn a trip to Beijing.
Magnuson will be joined in China by Elaine Breeden, the Stanford standout who was consistent through each round and touched in 58.21. Magnuson touched in third at the 50-meter mark, but she found another gear down the last lap and pulled away at the wall to register the biggest triumph of her life.
"If you had asked me two or three years ago if I was going to the Olympics, I would have given you a very strange look," Magnuson said. "It's amazing, thrilling, now I can just really relax and have fun. I had a blast tonight."
Breeden, on her way to the second slot to Beijing, edged out 2004 Olympian Rachael Komisarz, who was timed in 58.36. Komisarz did all she could to make it back-to-back Olympic invitations, evident in her lead at the turn. However, Breeden kept firing down to the wire and narrowly got to the wall ahead.
"I was so happy when I realized that I had made it," Breeden said. "It was a shock, but I couldn't be happier. It took me a couple seconds, and I knew the race was really close. I put my head down, and hoped that I'd make it to the wall."
Grabbing fourth and fifth place were Brooke Bishop (58.54) and Dana Vollmer (58.64), who was a 2004 Olympian. They were followed by Mary DeScenza (58.72), Kim Vandenberg (58.84) and Whitney Myers (59.22).
Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.