By John Lohn
OMAHA, Nebraska, July 4. IF the 100 backstroke is any indication, Margaret Hoelzer is set to uncork a sensational effort in the 200 back, her primary event and the discipline in which she is the reigning world champion. Hoelzer strolled through the prelims of the 200 back, registering a time of 2:10.19 to place third during qualifying.
The American-record holder in the event, Hoelzer upstaged Kirsty Coventry at last year's World Championships in Melbourne. Now, she's tracking the world record of Coventry, which stands at 2:06.39 from the Missouri Grand Prix in February. Hoelzer's American mark is 2:07.16, from the World Champs.
Collecting the fastest qualifying swim of the morning was Elizabeth Beisel, the rising 15-year-old who earlier in the week earned an Olympic berth in the 400 individual medley. Beisel won the 11th of the 12 heats in 2:07.44, a meet record and not far off the American record. The second-fastest morning swim came from Hayley McGregory in 2:08.76.
Kristen Heiss was fourth in the preliminaries, going 2:10.41, and the fifth and sixth positions went to Katie Riefenstahl (2:11.54) and Teresa Crippen (2:11.80). Caitlin Iversen followed in 2:12.09 and eighth went to Erica Meissner (2:12.60). The rest of the semifinal field will include Julianne McLane (2:12.70), Daphne Skelos (2:12.70), Emile Ewing (2:12.88), Mary DeScenza (2:12.91), Bonnie Brandon (2:13.12), Emily Neal (2:13.22), Madison White (2:13.34) and Morgan Scroggy (2:13.52).
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.