Romano earns spot in final

St. Petersburg’s Megan Romano, right, and Missy Franklin compete in a heat race in the 100-meter backstroke. Both advanced to tonight’s final, with Franklin tops in qualifying.

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St. Petersburg’s Megan Romano, right, and Missy Franklin compete in a heat race in the 100-meter backstroke. Both advanced to tonight’s final, with Franklin tops in qualifying.

OMAHA, Neb. — St. Petersburg's Megan Romano qualified for the 100 backstroke final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Tuesday night.

Romano, a Northeast High graduate, finished third in her semifinal and sixth overall in 1 minute, 0.61 seconds in her bid to qualify for next month's Summer Olympics in London.

Missy Franklin, 17, was the top qualifier in 59.06 seconds, just 0.12 seconds off of Natalie Coughlin's American record. Coughlin, 29, an 11-time Olympic medalist, also qualified for tonight's final, finishing seventh overall in 1:00.63.

Newsome High sophomore Maddie Hess (1:04.29) didn't make it out of the heats.

In the women's 400 freestyle final, Allison Schmitt won in 4:02.84, more than a second ahead of Chloe Sutton.

Florida's Elizabeth Beisel (4:07.29) finished fifth and 14-year-old Becca Mann, who does her club swimming in Clearwater, was sixth in 4:08.65.

Tampa Prep graduate Chelsea Nauta (4:14.32) and Sharla Milne of UF and Newsome High (4:19.70) were eliminated in the heats.

So was Janet Evans, 40, who was 80th among 113 swimmers in the event in which she won one of her three gold medals as a 16-year-old phenom at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Evans joked Tuesday, "I didn't drown. That's good."

One night after Florida's Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps to win the 400 individual medley, Lochte edged him again in the semifinals of the 200 free. Another Gator, Conor Dwyer, was third. The final is tonight.

"Oh, that was the semifinals. It doesn't really matter," Lochte said. "It doesn't matter until the finals. We're great racers, we just want to win."

Clearwater teenager Nick Alexiou (1:51.05) didn't advance out of the heats.

Countryside grad Melanie Margalis (100 breaststroke, 1:10.72) and Jesuit grad Tommy Wyher (100 back, 55.87) were eliminated in their heats; Wyher missed the semifinals by 0.38 seconds.

Brendan Hansen, who retired after the Beijing Games only to return, won the 100 breast. Eric Shanteau, who had a bout with testicular cancer four years ago, is headed back to the Olympics too after he rallied for second.

Dana Vollmer won the 100 butterfly in 56.50 and Claire Donahue took the second spot for London in 57.57. Coughlin missed out, finishing seventh.

Also, in Monday's 100 fly heats, Kaitlin Frehling of Seminole and UF (1:01.69) and Newsome High senior Barbara Caraballo (1:02.83) did not advance.

TENNIS: Serena and Venus Williams, two-time Olympic champs together in doubles, highlight the U.S. team in London.

Andy Roddick and Tampa's John Isner were selected for men's doubles as were Wesley Chapel's Bob and Mike Bryan, who won bronze in 2008. As expected, the U.S. roster includes first-time Olympians Isner, Ryan Harrison, Donald Young, Christina McHale and Varvara Lepchenko, an Uzbekistan native who became a U.S. citizen in September.

The Olympic tournament will be on grass at Wimbledon, just weeks after the annual Grand Slam event.

TRACK AND FIELD: Three days after Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh, who tied for third in the 100-meter final at the trials, USA Track and Field still had no idea when the dead heat will be resolved. The sprinters have until Sunday, when the trials end, to decide if they want a runoff — a winner-take-all race — or a flip of a coin to determine who gets the last spot on the team.

Also, Olympic decathlon champion Bryan Clay says he won't pursue a spot this time after finishing 12th at the trials. The U.S. team gets up to three spots and only two decathletes had the standard — trials winner Ashton Eaton and runnerup Trey Hardee — which led to speculation that Clay might go for the standard before the IOC's July 8 deadline.

Romano earns spot in final 06/26/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 1:05am]

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