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The torch has been passed to a new generation. Franklin also led the semifinals of the women’s 200 backstroke, posting a time of 2:07.91. If she can finish strong Sunday — and there’s no indication the bubbly teenager is tiring in the least — she’ll have four individual events and all three relays on her Olympic agenda.
"The goal coming in was to make the team," Franklin said. "I could have never dreamed of doing seven events and the fact it’s a possibility is unbelievable. But I’ve made the team, that’s all that matters. Tomorrow is my favorite event and I can’t wait to get out there and have fun with it."
Rebecca Soni locked up a second individual race in London, cruising to an easy win in the 200 breaststroke. She was slow off the blocks and made the first turn in fourth, but there was never any real doubt about this one. Soni surged to the lead on the second lap and steadily pulled away, winning with the fastest time in the world this year, 2: 21.13.
"I’m always a little nervous to push it too soon. I felt great the first 100, nice and long," Soni, who’ll be looking to defend her 200 Olympic title. "I know I’ve trained the hardest I can so if I can hopefully bring home a gold, that would be amazing. If I can get back to my best time, that would also be great. I’m just going to have fun with it."
Micah Lawrence is heading to the Olympics for the first time, taking second place in 2:23.03. But 30-year-old Amanda Beard missed out on making a fifth Olympic team, fading to sixth (2:26.42).
"I can’t be disappointed in myself," said Beard, who first came to prominence as a 14-year-old medalist at the Atlanta Olympics. "I’m very proud that I pushed myself. I’m 30 years old, so things aren’t as easy as they were when I was younger. I still enjoy it. I’m still having fun. I’m not heartbroken."
Lochte got started on his busy night by winning the 200 back. The 27-year-old Floridian was sixth at the first turn, but he quickly moved toward the front and took the lead for good with a brilliant flip turn off the final wall. Pulling away, he won with a time of 1:54.54, second-fastest in the world this year behind Japan’s Ryosuke Irie.
Tyler Clary took the second spot in 1:54.88, giving him two individual races at the Olympics. He has bounced back just fine from the disappointment of finishing third behind Lochte and Phelps in the 400 IM.
Phelps and Lochte are both assured of at least four individual events in London, and it would take a major upset for Phelps to miss out on a spot in the 100 fly.
At the start of the evening, Anthony Ervin was the top qualifier in the 50 freestyle semifinals with a time of 21.74. Nathan Adrian and Cullen Jones, who went 1-2 in the 100 free the previous night, also advanced to the Sunday final.
After going fastest in the morning prelims, the 31-year-old Ervin turned in another blistering performance from the middle lane. Never lifting his head, he went from one end of the pool to the other in 21.74 seconds, tied for the third-quickest time in the world this year.
Adrian tied with Josh Schneider for the second spot (21.81). Jones was next in 22.08.
Ervin was co-gold medalist in the 50 free at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but retired from swimming before he got a chance to defend his title. He returned to the pool last year.
"That was a best time," Ervin said. "That’s what it’s always about in swimming: chasing that best time."
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