Swimming: Missy Franklin moves on to semis in 100 meter backstroke at Swim Trials

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OMAHA, Neb. | Regis Jesuit High School’s Missy Franklin took the first step toward making the U.S. Olympic Swim team on Tuesday morning, as she won her heat of the 100 meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.

The 17-year-old Franklin posted the top time of 162 women in the race of 59.49 seconds, putting her through to the evening semifinals at CenturyLink Center.

Franklin and Rachel Bootsma, who clocked a 59.69, were the only swimmers to break the 1-minute barrier in the event.

Sixteen women qualified for the semifinals, which will be contested in two heats at 8:16 p.m. and 8:21 p.m.

Cherry Creek High School graduate and Mission Aurora swimmer Bonnie Brandon clocked a 1:01.31, the ninth-fastest time, to earn her semifinal spot.

“I had some first-race jitters,” Franklin told the Associated Press. “But I’m super, super happy with my time. It felt awesome.”

Franklin saw the sign under the massive scoreboard above the pool as she stroked to the opposite end of the pool.

“It was U.S. Olympic Team. Talk about motivation. That helped me get my tempo up the last 25,” she said. “I was nervous for my first race. But right now, I feel good.”

The top eight swimmers in semifinals advance to the 100 backstroke final, which is scheduled for 7:16 p.m. Wednesday. Regis Jesuit has some watch parties set up for the finals.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555

2012 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM TRIALS

WOMEN’S 100-METER BACKSTROKE

Semifinal qualifiers: 1. MISSY FRANKLIN (COLORADO STARS), 59.54 seconds; 2. Rachel Bootsma (AQJTMN), 59.69; 3. Elizabeth Pelton (T2-FL), 1:00.55; 4. Olivia Smoliga (GTACIL), 1:00.60; 5. Natalie Coughlin (CAL-PC), 1:00.71; 6. Megan Romano (ABSCGA), 1:00.79; 7. Cheyenne Coffman (RCA-CC), 1:00.94; 8. Kylie Stewart (DYNAGA), 1:01.25; 9. BONNIE BRANDON (MACSCO), 1:01.31; 10. Cindy Tran (GWSCCA), 1:01.46; 11. Jennifer Connolly (TENNSE), 1:01.47; 12. Kristen Shickora (ABSCGA), 1:01.57; 13. Sarah Denninghoff (ZONAAZ), 1:01.63; 14. Kelsey Conci (UWYOWY), 1:01.65; 15. Kathleen Baker (MAC-NC), 1:01.92; 16. Kaitlin Harty (GMSCNE), 1:02.22