Julia Wilkinson qualifies for 200 IM final at Olympic Games

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BEIJING– Julia Wilkinson of North York, Ont., produced a powerful final length to break her Canadian record and qualify for the final in the women’s 200-metre individual medley in Tuesday morning’s swimming action at the Olympic Games.

Wilkinson clocked 2:12.03 seconds to tie for second in the second semifinal heat eclipsing her previous mark of 2:12.56 set in Monday evening’s preliminaries.

She qualified fifth for the final. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe was the top ranked semifinalist in an Olympic record 2:09.53, followed Stephanie Rice of Australia in 2:10.58, Katie Hoff of the U.S., in 2:10.90 and Natalie Coughlin of the U.S., who won the second, in 2:11.84.

“Today, I really focused on the race and not the outcome,’’ said Wilkinson, who also lowered the 100 backstroke national record on Sunday. ‘’I was racing the girl in lane two, and I knew I was in the game when I saw the girls behind me in the backstroke leg. It’s exciting to being the final. Bring it on. I’m going to treat this like any other, go out and just have fun.’’

Coughlin dominated the second semi finishing first at every split but was nearly caught at the end by a charging Wilkinson. The 21-year-old Canadian was seventh at the first turn, fifth at the second and sixth with only 50 metres to go.

The Canadian team has broken 14 national records and set 21 personal bests.

It was a big morning for the U.S., team as Michael Phelps of the U.S., clocked a world record time in the men’s 200 freestyle for his third gold medal of the Games. Aaron Peirsol of the U.S., took gold in world record time in the men’s 100 backstroke.

Competition continues Tuesday evening with preliminaries and it’s a big session for Canadian swimming. It features world champion Brent Hayden of Vancouver in the men’s 100 freestyle, 2005 world championships medallist Mike Brown of Calgary in the men’s 200 breaststroke, Audrey Lacroix of Montreal in the women’s 200 butterfly and the men’s 4X200 freestyle, in which Canada placed third at the world championships last year.

Wilkinson’s 200 IM final is on Wednesday morning.

Full results at: http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/SW.shtml

Canadian Sport News/Nouvelles-sport canadien
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