Defending champions and world record holders Michael Phelps, Rebecca Adlington and Cesar Cielo comfortably made it through their heats in the Olympic swimming competition this morning.
Missy Franklin of the U.S. reached the semifinals of the 200-meter backstroke, winning her heat in 2:07.54. She’s already won gold in the 100-meter event.
Phelps went from last place on the turn to finish winner of the final heat and second overall to make tonight’s semifinals of the 100-meter butterfly.
Briton Adlington, who set the world record in the 800-meter freestyle in Beijing four years ago, qualified for tomorrow’s final as the fastest finisher. Brazil’s Cielo trailed only Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell in the 50-meter freestyle. The semifinal takes place tonight.
Phelps, who won a record 19th Olympic medal when the U.S. 800-meter freestyle relay team took gold, clocked a time of 51.72 seconds, a time bettered by Chad le Clos’s 51.54. Le Clos beat Phelps in the 200-meter butterfly two days ago.
Adlington, a home favorite, left the pool to huge cheers after clocking 8 minutes, 21.78 seconds. Denmark’s Lotte Friis was second-quickest in 8:21.89 and 15-year-old American Kate Ledecky won her heat to finish third quickest overall in 8:23.84.
Cielo’s time this morning of 21.80 seconds was only 0.03 seconds short of Bovell’s. Cielo’s teammate Bruno Fratus was third-quickest with 21.82.
The U.S.’s Anthony Ervin qualified fourth fastest and another American swimmer Cullen Jones also made it into the semifinals.