Eden Prairie swimmer Rachel Bootsma said her preliminary swim Tuesday in the 100-meter backstroke wasn’t perfect. Still, she swam the second-fastest time of her career—59.69 seconds—to glide into Tuesday night’s semifinals at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha.
Bootsma, 18, was the second-fastest qualifier of the 16 who moved on to the 100 back semifinals. She will be in Lane 4 of the first semifinal, slated for about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Defending national champion Missy Franklin, 17, swam a 59.54 to lead the 162-athlete field in the first event of Day 2 at CenturyLink Center. Natalie Coughlin, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in the event, clocked a 1:00.71 for the fifth-fastest qualifying time.
The eight fastest swimmers in Tuesday’s semifinals move on to Wednesday’s finals. The top two finishers make the team for the London Olympics next month.
“There are a couple of things to fix tonight,’’ said Bootsma, whose best time in the event is 59.65. “I was really pleased, though. I’ve never been that fast in the morning.
“I’m nervous, but I’m really excited. I’m getting better at controlling my nerves and getting more comfortable.’’
Bootsma looked smooth and sure in her preliminary swim. Her parents, Rob and Jan Bootsma, watched from their seats alongside the pool in the arena’s lower bowl. Through the final 50 meters, they were expending plenty of energy themselves, waving their arms in the air and hollering encouragement.
Franklin, a friend of Bootsma’s, also was thrilled with her preliminary swim. “I’m super, super happy with my time,’’ said Franklin, a Coloradan who won five medals at the 2011 world championships. “I didn’t think I was going to go out that fast. It felt amazing. I can’t wait to come back tonight.’’
David Plummer, a former Gophers swimmer who now trains in Minnetonka, qualified for Tuesday's semifinals in the men's 100-meter backstroke with the eighth-fastest swim of the morning. Plummer finished in 54.38 seconds. Top qualifiers included Matt Grevers (52.94), Ryan Lochte (53.92) and Nick Thoman (53.96).