On the final day of prelim swims at the 2012 London Olympics, the fields for three of Saturday’s four finals were set and there was competition from all over the globe for the 16 coveted spots in Friday night’s women’s 50 freestyle semifinals.
Connor Jaeger was seventh in the prelims of the men’s 1,500 free (14:57.56) to earn a spot in the finals with the likes of China’s Sun Yang — who already has won gold in the 400 free and silver in the 200 free in London — Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, Ryan Cochrane of Canada, Park Tae-Hwan of South Korea and, yes, a guy from London named Fogg — Daniel Fogg. The first man out of the finals — Andrew Gemmell of the U.S. finished ninth.
The competition was fierce in the women’s 50 freestyle that took 10 heats — and a bonus swim-off heat for the 16th and final lane in the Friday night semifinals.
This was an event where many countries had their only swimmer. Heat 1, which had finishing times between 37 and 42-plus seconds, featured freestylers from Niger, Togo and Lesotho. Then there was Heat 2 where the Federated States of Micronesia, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Burundi, Bahrain, Congo and Sudan were represented.
You get the idea. To see the rest of the list, visit this link. For the U.S., Jessica Hardy moved along with the 12th fastest time of 24.99, and Kara Lynn Joyce just missed out on the 16th spot. Joyce, Sarah Blake Batemont of Iceland and Amy Smith of Great Britain all tied at 25.28, forcing a swim-off that Smith won in 24.82. Joyce was second in 25.16 but 17th overall.
In the 400 medley relay, the U.S. women qualified fourth for Saturday’s final while the U.S. men set the pace in the final race by touching first and earning Lane 4 for the final swim of Michael Phelps’ career on Saturday in 3:32.65.
Tonight’s finals will feature Phelps in his final Olympic individual event, the 100 butterfly. He’s going for his second three-peat of the games after becoming the first man in any Olympic event to win the same event in three consecutive Olympiad Thursday’s with his victory over Ryan Lochte and six others in the 200 individual medley.
Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Beisel also are the favorites in the women’s 200 backstroke, Katie Ledecky is in the final of the 800 free, as are Cullen Jones and Anthony Ervin in the 50 free. Jones and Cesar Cielo tied for first in the semifinals at 21.54, and Ervin was third in 21.62.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these prelim updates. It was fun to get up early and watch the results roll in while most of America was still sleeping. I’ll have a final summary of the swimming competition late tomorrow.