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Franklin wins 100m back in blistering 58.67

June 29, 2013

Missy Franklin 112

Missy Franklin produced a world-leading time Friday to win the women’s 100m backstroke at the US swimming championships, then set her sights on Saturday’s 200m individual medley.

Franklin, the Olympic gold medalist in the 100 back at London last year, trailed Liz Pelton at the halfway mark but pulled ahead with about 20 meters left to win in 58.67 seconds.

“The whole field was right there at the fifty, so I knew I had to bring it back fast that last lap,” said Franklin.

“It was tough. It hurt a lot.”

Franklin’s time was a US open record as the fastest-ever on American soil and improved on the previous best of the year of 58.84 set by Japan’s Aya Terakawa.

The top four finishers all dipped under one minute, with Pelton second in 59.27, Sarah Denninghoff third in 59.75, and Rachel Bootsma fourth in 59.90.

Bootsma had defeated Franklin in Thursday’s 50 backstroke.

The championships serve as the qualifier for the American team at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona.

Winners automatically make the squad.

Franklin, the 18-year-old whose five medals at the London Games included four gold and one bronze, has qualified automatically in six events (100 free, 200 free, 100 back, 200 back, 4×100 relay, 4×200 relay).

After talking with coach Todd Schmitz, she also planned to enter the less familiar 200m individual medley on Saturday.

“Todd and I feel really confident about how the meet went,” said Franklin, who will compete next year for the University of California.

“We’ve got a two-hour workout planned for tomorrow morning, and we’re going to get right back in it.”

Katie Ledecky claimed her second title in four days, winning the women’s 400-meter freestyle.

The 16-year-old high school student took an early lead and kept building it.

She touched the wall in 4:04.05 for the year’s third-fastest time and a national age group record.

Second was Chloe Sutton in 4:06.64. Ledecky, the Olympic 800 free champion last year, won that event on Tuesday.

Connor Jaeger passed Conor Dwyer on the final lap of the men’s 400 freestyle to win in 3:45.89.

Dwyer was subsequently disqualified for a false start, with Matt McLean, who finished in 3:46.14, moving into second place.

Jaeger, whose time is the fifth-fastest for 2013, was Tuesday’s 1500 free winner.

Breeja Larson took the rubber match in the women’s breaststroke events, catching Jessica Hardy in the last 25 meters of the 100m.

Larson’s time was 1:06.16 – the year’s third-quickest – with Hardy, the world record-holder, second in 1:06.49.

Earlier, Larson had won the 200 breaststroke with Hardy taking first in the 50 breast.

Kevin Cordes won his second breaststroke title in the men’s 100. Cordes was on American-record pace at 50 meters, and wound up with the number-three time on this year’s list at 59.99.

Nic Fink was the runnerup in 1:00.24.

In the men’s 100 backstroke, David Plummer earned his second national crown at the meet with a time of 53.10, third-fastest in the world for 2013.

Plummer, first in Thursday’s 50 back, bested Matt Grevers, last year’s Olympic 100 backstroke champion. Grevers’ time of 53.25 is fourth on the current world list.

Also cracking the 2013 top 10 list was third-placer Ryan Murphy.

The 17-year-old Murphy lowered his own national age group record with a time of 53.38.


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