Missy Franklin 2nd in Wild Finish at US Olympic Swimming Trials
The 100-meter freestyle final was a star-studded affair. Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin, Jessica Hardy and Dana Vollmer all headlined an insanely dramatic final heat.
The top six finishers in the 100-free final all finished within a half-second of each other. It just doesn't get better than that.
Hardy topped the leaderboard with her personal best (53.96 seconds). She failed to qualify for the Olympics in her strongest event (100-meter breaststroke) but delivered a massive comeback performance Saturday night. She's one of the world's strongest swimmers, and she proved that once again.
Franklin, the 17-year-old sensation, had already qualified for two Olympic events entering Saturday's event. She took first in the 100-meter backstroke and broke Coughlin's American record in the process. Franklin also qualified for the 200 free with a second-place finish.
Despite Franklin's meteoric rise during the Olympic trials, she was lucky to finish in second place. She started strong, but failed down the backstretch. It was far from her most consistent performance.
Coughlin didn't finish in the top three, but her sixth-place finish did cement her trip to London. She's arguably the greatest female swimmer in American history, but she failed to qualify for London in her previous attempts. Saturday night's 100-free final was her final chance to go to London and attempt to be the most decorated female swimmer in America's Olympic history.
This final was captivating to say the least. It had many great storylines to follow. Would Coughlin qualify? Could Hardy rebound after her 100-breast folly and would Franklin retain her status as the young prodigy?
All three were answered definitively. The 100 final punched Coughlin's ticket to London and confirmed Hardy's personal confidence. Franklin looked beatable for the first time, but she's an undoubtedly stiff competitor.
The U.S. women's team will bring it in London. They are filled out across the board, and they have strong athletes in each event.
If the Olympic swim heats are anything like Saturday night's breathtaking finish, we are in for a treat.
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