Delavan swimmer earns Olympic qualifying spot
OMAHA, Neb. Emily McClellan of Delavan qualified for the 100-meter breaststroke finals at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Tuesday night.
The UW-Milwaukee standout and Delavan-Darien High graduate posted a
1:07.70 clocking in the semifinal to finish eighth and earn the final qualifying spot.
McClellan, swimming for the Whitewater J-Hawks Aquatic Club, posted a lifetime best 1:07.45 to finish fourth in Tuesday’s preliminary heat to make the semifinals. McClellan must finish in the top two spots in today’s final to earn an Olympic berth.
“(McClellan) knew she had to go all-out and race,” Cheri Zimdars, the J-Hawks’ coach, said in cellphone interview. “We knew she had to leave everything in the water.’’
If the 20-year-old McClellan is going to catch lightning, she must topple Rebecca Soni, a Southern Cal graduate and the 100 breast silver medalist in Beijing in 2008. Soni had the top time in the prelim (1:06.33) and the semifinal (1:05.82). Jessica Hardy, another Southern Cal grad, finished second in the semifinal (1:06.88).
“Anything is possible,” Zimdars said. “Underdogs have come through before, and we are just thrilled and very proud of what Emily has done.’’
Meanwhile, Bridgette Alexander, a Milton High junior and J-Hawks swimmer, swam the 100-meter backstroke in 1:03.49 to finish 57th in the preliminaries. Missy Franklin posted a 59.54 for the fastest time in the event.
Alexander swims in the 200 back preliminary Friday. McClellan swims in the 200 breaststroke preliminary Saturday.