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Rachel Bootsma's Olympic debut ended earlier than she hoped Sunday night, as the Eden Prairie swimmer finished 11th in the semifinals of the women's 100-meter backstroke and did not qualify for Monday's finals.Here, Bootsma checks her earings before the race like she has done every race before. They were her grandmothers. BRIAN PETERSON • brianp@startribune.com London, England - 07/29/2012

Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

In an Olympic surprise, Bootsma might yet get medal

  • August 3, 2012 - 11:47 PM

LONDON - Rachel Bootsma was given one more chance to swim for the U.S. at the London Olympics, and she made it count.

And as a result, she very well could be leaving London with a medal.

Bootsma, of Eden Prairie, swam the backstroke in Friday morning's preliminaries of the women's 4x100-meter medley relay and helped the Americans qualify for the Saturday final with the fourth-fastest time.

Eight teams advanced to Saturday's final, when Missy Franklin is expected to replace Bootsma for the backstroke leg. But even though she won't be swimming Saturday, Bootsma will receive a medal if the U.S. team finishes in the top three -- which is expected.

"I was really happy to end the meet on a high note," Bootsma said. "It wasn't a best time, but it was better than what I swam individually, so I was happy. Our goal as a relay was to get the U.S. a spot in the finals, and we did just that. I can't wait to watch them swim [Saturday] night."

Bootsma joined Breeja Larson, Clair Donahue and Jessica Hardy for the preliminaries. She led off the relay with a 100 backstroke time of 59.70 seconds, putting the U.S. in third place. She finished in 1:00.04 in the semifinals of the 100 individual event Sunday, finishing 11th and failing to qualify for the finals.

Larson (breaststroke), Donahue (butterfly) and Hardy (freestyle) completed the relay, as the team finished in a time of 3:58.88. Australia qualified fastest in 3:55.42, with Japan second in 3:57.87 and Denmark third in 3:58.35.

RACHEL BLOUNT

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