At top speed, Bootsma is cruising into the finals

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2012 - 10:59 AM

The Eden Prairie teen pursues her Olympics dreams tonight in the 100-meter backstroke after turning in the fastest time of her career.

view larger photos


OMAHA - Rachel Bootsma didn't want to say how fast she might swim Wednesday night. She had a time in mind, but she chose to keep it to herself.

But Tuesday night, she might have been setting the bar a little higher, after the number that popped up on the scoreboard in the semifinals of the women's 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Bootsma, of Eden Prairie, slashed through the CenturyLink Center pool in 59.10 seconds to win her heat. Moments later, her friend Missy Franklin upped the ante, winning her heat in 59.06 to set up a showdown of young stars in Wednesday's finals.

A crowd of 12,131 roared for Bootsma, 18, who dropped .55 of a second off her previous personal best. Franklin, 17, also swam the fastest time of her career. Their times were the second- and fourth-fastest in the world this year and impressed even Natalie Coughlin, who has won the past two Olympic gold medals in the event.

Coughlin also made the final, going 1:00.63 for the seventh of eight spots. But Bootsma and Franklin stole the show, cranking it up a notch after starting the day with stellar swims in the preliminaries.

"I am surprised," said a giddy Bootsma, who smiled broadly when she checked the scoreboard after her swim. "I still have a couple of things to work on for [the finals], but overall, I'm really pleased. Missy is a great competitor and a great friend of mine. It will be fun to be in the finals with her."

Bootsma swam what then was the second-fastest time of her career -- 59.69 seconds -- in the morning preliminaries. Only Franklin swam faster, recording a 59.54.

Another Minnesotan, David Plummer of Minnetonka, also made Wednesday's finals in the men's 100 backstroke by swimming the second-fastest qualifying time in Tuesday's semifinals (53.24).

The Olympic roster continued to fill up after three more finals Tuesday night. Dana Vollmer, who set an American record of 56.42 Monday night in the semifinals of the 100 butterfly, won the finals in 56.50 seconds, with Claire Donahue second. Allison Schmitt and Chloe Sutton went 1-2 in the women's 400 freestyle, and former retiree Brendan Hansen kept his comeback going with a victory over Eric Shanteau in the men's 100 breaststroke.

To prevent herself from being overwhelmed this week, Bootsma has told herself that the trials are the same as any meet. And to underscore that, she is following the same routine: the afternoon naps, the chocolate, the reality TV shows before bedtime. She came to watch the first night of the trials Monday, but coach Kate Lundsten sent her back to the hotel at 8 p.m. so she could rest.

Bootsma's mother, Jan, asked her if it made her more nervous to see the opening-night hoopla, which featured indoor fireworks, flames shooting from the pool's edge and more American flags than a July 4th parade. It did, Rachel said, but she could handle it. "Everybody else is nervous, too," she said. "We're all going through the same thing."

Monday's preliminaries in her first event, the 100-meter butterfly, got rid of the initial jitters, as Bootsma swam a personal-best time of 1:00.13 to finish 23rd. Tuesday, she was just as happy about her opening swim in the 100 back. Though Lundsten thought she looked a little tight in her opening 50 meters, Bootsma was pleased to record a swift time while knowing she could make some minor adjustments to get faster.

She did so Tuesday night, easily winning her heat. Parents Jan and Rob Bootsma rejoiced in the stands, along with friends and relatives who made the trip to Omaha. Bootsma's growing legion of fans cheered, too. Even other swimmers had high praise for Bootsma and Franklin.

"I'm happy for them," Coughlin said. "Rachel is swimming awesome. Missy is swimming awesome. Elizabeth [Pelton] is swimming awesome."

Bootsma originally planned to swim the preliminaries of the 200 individual medley Wednesday morning. Instead, she will get a little extra rest for the race of a lifetime, with a spot on the Olympic team in her sights.

"I'm so excited, but I'm extremely nervous," Bootsma said. "This is what you work for."

  • related content

  • Plummer hopes to go even faster

    Wednesday June 27, 2012

    Just a few years ago, after finishing his swim career with the Gophers, David Plummer thought about quitting the sport. Then he connected with coach Ben Bartell at the Minnetonka...

  • Rachel Bootsma

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM





question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters