Missy Franklin misses qualifying in 100m freestyle; Katie Ledecky advances

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — For Missy Franklin, another miss at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

The star of the London Games struggled to an 11th-place showing in the semifinals of the 100-meter freestyle Thursday night, failing to even make it to the final.

That leaves Franklin with only one individual race in Rio and just one more chance to bulk up her program: the 200 backstroke.

No matter what, Franklin’s bubbly personality will be much less of a presence at these Summer Games than it was four years ago.

“That speed just doesn’t feel like it’s quite there this meet,” she said. “No idea why. It’s super disappointing, but I really feel like my endurance is there, so it gives me a lot of hope for my 200 back.”

Franklin is going to her second Summer Games, but she won’t be nearly as busy this time around.

As a high schooler in London, Franklin took part in seven events, winning four golds and a bronze. She finished fifth in the 100 free, but won’t be part of that race at all this time around.

At age 21, Franklin hasn’t been able to recapture the magic that carried her to such heights in 2012. Outside of a gutsy runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle, she’s shaping up as one of the biggest flops of these trials.

Franklin finished seventh in the 100 backstroke, a race she won in London, and that knocks her out of consideration for the 4×100 medley relay.

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Her dismal showing in the 100 free surely removes any possibility of taking part in the 4×100 free relay.

At most, Franklin will have only three events on her Rio agenda.

Katie Ledecky, meanwhile, could add to her growing program. She advanced as the seventh seed from the 100m freestyle semis (54.04). Abbey Weitzeil was the top qualifier at 53.57 seconds.

Also advancing were 19-year-old Simone Manuel (53.64), Amanda Weir (53.72), Dana Vollmer (53.74), Lia Neal (53.87), Kelsi Worrell (54.00) and Allison Schmitt (54.07).

Franklin could only produce a time of 54.24, while Natalie Coughlin‘s Olympic hopes likely ended altogether. The 12-time Olympic medalist struggled to a 14th-place showing in 54.87.

Ledecky may end up scratching to rest for other events. The 100m is not one of her strongest events — she’s the World champion in the 200m, 400m and 800m — though she could still be eligible for the 4x100m relay in Rio even if she pulls out.

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