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Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin advance at U.S. Olympic swimming trials

Missy Franklin dives at the start of a

Missy Franklin dives at the start of a preliminary heat in the women's 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb., Monday, June 27, 2016. Photo Credit: AP / Orlin Wagner

OMAHA, Neb. — Defending Olympic champion Missy Franklin and two-time gold medalist Natalie Coughlin have advanced to the semifinals of the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. swimming trials.

Franklin was fifth-fastest with a time of 1 minute, 35 seconds in the preliminaries Monday. Coughlin was seventh in 1:00.75. The top 16 swimmers move on to the evening semifinals.

Leading the way is Georgia swimmer Olivia Smoliga in 59.65 seconds. She was one of three women to break 1 minute. Amy Bilquist was second at 59.67, followed by Missouri’s Hannah Stevens in 59.72.

At age 33, Coughlin is trying to qualify for her fourth Olympics. She is tied with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres as the most decorated American woman with 12 Olympic medals.

Coughlin was first woman to break 1 minute in the 100 back and won back-to-back gold medals in the event.

New York Sports