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LONDON, England, July 29. USA's Matt Grevers is definitely on pace to turn his 2008 silver medal in the men's 100-meter backstroke into gold after posting his second straight sub-53 time during semis at the 2012 London Olympics.
Grevers topped the second semifinal with a 52.66, nearly besting the Olympic record of 52.54 set by Aaron Peirsol when he won the 2008 gold medal over Grevers (53.11). Grevers is looking to become the second man to ever go from silver to gold in successive Olympics in the event. Jeff Rouse of the U.S. is the only one to have achieved the feat with a 1992 silver and 1996 gold.
France's Camille Lacourt checked in with a second-place 53.03. He and Grevers both have plenty in the tank, as Grevers owns the textile best with a 52.08, while Lacourt has the second-best time ever in textile with a 52.11. He is vying for France's first Olympic gold in the event. France has won silver (Gilbert Bozon, 1952) and bronze (Georges Vallerey, 1948).
The job has been done. I have qualified for the final,” Lacourt said. “You can count on me for tomorrow (in the final).”
Great Britain's Liam Tancock qualified third in 53.25, while Japan's Ryosuke Irie placed fourth in 53.29. USA's Nick Thoman (53.47), China's Cheng Feiyi (53.52) and Germany's Helge Meeuw (53.52) finished fifth through seventh.
“I was quite nervous,” Irie said. “I am not in full shape. Since I came here I had to sleep with a mouth mask because the air is too dry for me.”
Reigning bronze medalists Hayden Stoeckel (53.74) and Arkady Vyatchanin (53.79) will not tie again, as Stoeckel beat Vyatchanin to the wall for the final transfer spot into the championship field.
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