Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin cruise to semis

5:43 AM, Jul 30, 2012   |    comments
Michael Phelps (Photo by Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)
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By Erik Brady and Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY

LONDON - Michael Phelps advanced with the fifth fastest time in the morning heats Monday of the men's 200-meter butterfly.

His time of 1:55.53 qualified him for Monday night's semifinals in one of his best events. Austria's Dinko Jukic posted the top time, 1:54.79, and American Tyler Clary was second, .17 seconds behind.

Phelps has won this event at every Olympics and world championships since 2001, except the 2005 worlds, in which he didn't swim it. He set the world record at the 2009 world championships in 1:51.51.

His world championship time in 2009 was 1:53.34 and he won the Olympic trials in 1:53.65.

Japan's Takeshi Matsuda won bronze in Beijing and at the 2009 worlds and silver at the 2011 worlds. Nick D'Arcy won the Australian swim championship in 1:54.71, third fastest time in the world this year.

In the women's 200 freestyle prelims, Missy "The Missile" Franklin qualified third in 1:57.62, setting herself up for a busy Monday night. She will swim her 200 free semifinal at 7:30 p.m. London time and then compete in the women's 100 backstroke final less than 20 minutes later.

"It's definitely going to be fun tonight," Franklin said. "I need to keep my energy up as much as possible and just do the best that I can do.

"It's going to be tough, for sure."

U.S. teammate Allison Schmitt was second in the prelims behind Italy's Federica Pellegrini, who had the fastest time this morning in 1:57.16.

Franklin, 17, is expected to win her first individual Olympic medal in the 100 back. She won bronze as a part of the women's 4x100-meter freestyle relay team on Saturday night.

Franklin's Olympic program includes seven events, including the 200 back and the 100 free. The phenom from Denver is among the favorites in every event in which she's entered these Olympics.

"Here, I haven't really been that nervous," she said. "I've been able to stay really relaxed and really confident."

USA TODAY

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