Three-tenths of a second separated the medalists in the women’s 400m freestyle. After a quick start in which six of the swimmers in the field were out under world record pace at the first 50, the pack settled into its groove and Katie Hoff took a slight lead at the 200-meter mark.
She built on that lead and had about a body length on the field at the last turn, but was chased down by Great Britain’s Rebecca Adlington in the final 15 meters. Adlington out-touched Hoff by seven-hundredths of a second in 4:03.22. Adlington’s teammate Joanne Jackson captured bronze in 4:03.52. It was Hoff’s second medal of the Games after winning bronze in the 400m IM Sunday. “I gave it everything I possibly had, but they got me in the end,” Hoff said. “It was a good race out there, and the silver medal is one step up from bronze. I would have loved to have touched first, but there was nothing more I could do.”
Brendan Hansen finished just two-tenths out of the medal standings in the men’s 100m breaststroke, finishing with a time of 59.57. The race was a dead heat for about 75 meters, when Kitajima began to separate himself from the pack. From there, it was a mad dash to the wall among four or five swimmers for the remaining medals. Dale Oen of Norway won silver in 59.20, while Hugues DuBoscq of France won bronze in 59.37. Hansen’s teammate, Mark Gangloff finished eighth in 1:00.24. Kitajima became the first man to swim the 100m breast in under 59 seconds.
Coventry set the world record in the semifinals of the women’s 100m back Monday, her time of 58.77 breaking the former world record of 58.97 held by American Natalie Coughlin. Coughlin will go head-to-head against Coventry in Tuesday’s finals, qualifying second with a time of 59.43. The two finished 1-2 at the 2004 Games in Athens, with Coughlin coming out on top of that match-up for her first career Olympic gold medal. American Margaret Hoelzer will also be in the mix for tomorrow’s finals after qualifying sixth Monday morning with a time of 59.84. “It went very well,” Coughlin said. “It’s exactly where I wanted to be going into the finals. I just need to recover and focus on my final.”
Peter Vanderkaay secured the first seed for tomorrow’s finals of the men’s 200m free, cruising to a time of 1:45.76 in Monday’s semifinals. Teammate Phelps qualified fourth in 1:46.28. “I swam a lot better race than last night,” Vanderkaay said. “(Last night) it was a little hard coming off the finals of the 400. I’ve put myself in a good spot for tomorrow.”
Rebecca Soni and Megan Jendrick likewise took care of business in the semifinals of the women’s 100m breast, qualifying second and seventh for Tuesday’s finals with times of 1:07.07 and 1:08.07, respectively. World record-holder Leisel Jones turned in the top time in 1:05.80, 71-hundredths of a second off her world record and 16-hundredths off the Olympic record she set in last night’s prelims.
In the semifinals of the men’s 100m back, Matt Grevers and Aaron Peirsol qualified as the second and fifth seed for tomorrow’s finals in 52.99 and 53.56, behind Australia’s Hayden Stoeckel. Stoeckel broke the Olympic record and was just eight-hundredths off the World record with his top-seed time of 52.97. Grevers held the former Olympic record of 53.41, which he set in last night’s prelims.