By John Lohn
OMAHA, Neb., July 3. AS the fifth day of Olympic Trials competition got rolling, Natalie Coughlin delivered a preliminary statement in the 100 freestyle. The American-record holder, racing in the last of 13 heats, turned in a meet-record time of 53.64, the only time of the morning that broke the 54-second barrier. Coughlin's national record sits at 53.39.
Coughlin's prelim heat featured the top-two times of the morning as Lacey Nymeyer put together a strong swim and touched the wall in 54.06.
"I have been sleeping so much better during the day," Coughlin said about her meet schedule thus far. "I was talking with Teri, my coach, about how the excitement of finals. It is so hard to fall asleep. I was laying there last night, so exhausted, and trying to go to sleep…then, during the day I pass out."
"It felt good to race against Natalie," Nymeyer said. "She had a great race. Tonight, I will try my best. You know it is a race, and we are fighting for places and fighting for lanes tonight. I knew that Natalie was going to go fast, so I tried to keep up with her."
Meanwhile, the winner of the 11th heat was the ageless Dara Torres, who was making her first appearance in these Trials. Torres, the 41-year-old looking for her fifth Olympics, was timed in 54.57.
Grabbing the fourth and fifth positions for the semifinals were Kara Lynn Joyce and Christine Magnuson, timed in respective efforts of 54.66 and 54.70. They were followed by Emily Silver (54.74), Jessica Hardy (54.81) and Katie Hoff (54.95). Hoff has already qualified for the Olympics in four individual events.
Julia Smit tied Hoff for the eighth slot, going 54.95. The rest of the semifinal field will include Kara Denby (54.96), Margaret Hoelzer (55.09), Amanda Weir (55.11), Madison Kennedy (55.16), Dana Vollmer (55.21), Andrea Hupman (55.42) and Christine Marshall (55.43).
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.