Swimming: Tucsonan Caitlin Leverenz in finals for 200M IM

2012-07-31T00:00:00Z 2012-07-31T10:36:22Z Swimming: Tucsonan Caitlin Leverenz in finals for 200M IMWire Reports Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
July 31, 2012 12:00 am  • 

LONDON - Tucsonan Caitlin Leverenz had the third-fastest qualifying time in the women's 200-meter individual medley on Monday at the Aquatics Centre in London's Olympic Park.

The 21-year-old, a Sahuaro High School grad, finished in 2 minutes, 10.06 seconds, behind Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen and Alicia Coutts of Australia.

"I just went out there and kind of swam my own race," Leverenz said. "Did my own thing. A solid race for the prelims."

The 16-year-old Ye, who shocked the swimming world with a gold in the women's 400m IM on Saturday, was nearly two seconds faster in final qualifying, touching the wall in 2:08.39.

Leverenz, who has a personal best of 2:09.39 at the distance, will be keeping a close eye on Ye.

"I know she's going to be coming after me the last 50, so I've just got to try to stay ahead as best I can," she said. The final is today.

USA's Franklin wins 100-meter backstroke

LONDON - Missy Franklin of the United States had less than 20 minutes between swims to get ready for the most important final of her 17-year-old life at the London Olympics on Monday night.

She shrugged off the pressure and tight time schedule to win her first Olympic gold medal, taking the 100-meter backstroke in 58.33 seconds.

"It is exceeding my expectations by a hundred billion times. When you dream about something your whole life and you achieve it ... you don't totally understand until you achieve it," Franklin said.

Emily Seebohm of Australia (58.68) was second and Aya Terakawa of Japan (58.83) finished third.

It was the second swim of the night for Franklin, who earlier took the final qualifying spot in the 200 freestyle semifinals but had just 14 minutes between that race and her swim for the gold medal.

2nd gold for Agnel: 200-meter freestyle

LONDON - In two days, Yannick Agnel pushed ahead of the top American swimmers in a come-from-behind anchor leg of a relay race, then routed a stellar field all by himself - earning a second gold medal and a handshake from the president of France.

Not bad for a 20-year-old at his first Olympics.

Agnel led the 200 freestyle from start to finish Monday and clocked 1 minute, 43.14 seconds for the best time ever in a textile suit - a whopping 0.72 ahead of Michael Phelps' 2007 mark. Phelps did not enter the event this time.

Defending silver medalist Park Tae-hwan of South Korea and 400 free champion Sun Yang of China shared silver in 1:44.93, while world champion Ryan Lochte finished fourth.

French President Francois Hollande, on hand for the race, said: "Remarkable - two gold medals two nights in a row."

Hollande pushed his way past reporters to congratulate Agnel.

"It's a big reward for French swimming, a proud moment for him and encouraging for the whole Olympic team," he said.

- Lauren Gustus, USA Today for The Arizona Republic

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