ROME, Aug. 1 - Elizabeth Pelton knocked more than a second off of her personal best and finished sixth in the 200-meter backstroke at the world swimming championships on Saturday.
Not bad for a 15-year-old from Towson, Md., competing in her first major senior championship.
Pelton touched the wall in 2 minutes 8.04 seconds in a race won by Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry in a world-record time of 2:04.81. Pelton’s finish seemed to wipe away much of the lingering disappointment from participating in the 4×100 medley relay team that failed to advance out of the heats that morning.
“I was really happy,” Pelton said. “Swimming in the semifinals a couple of times before made it seem not as nerve-wracking. I really wanted to be 2:08 to be going two-oh-eight-zero was a plus.”
Yet Pelton had led off the U.S. 4×100 medley relay team earlier with hopes the performance would set her up for a medal from the evening final.
The U.S. women, after all, had won a gold or silver evious 12 world championships.
But Pelton, Kasey Carlson, Christine Magnuson and Julia Smit failed to advance to the event’s final, finishing 10th overall.
“We all kind of felt pretty bad,” Pelton said. “Everybody was basically on their times but I think everybody else went really, really fast. We knew it was going to be close to make it back. We didn’t think it was going to be that close.”
Torres Makes 50 Freestyle Final
Wearing her old-model Speedo LZR on Friday, five-time Olympian Dara Torres failed to advance to the 50 butterfly semifinals, barely missing the last qualifying slot. On Saturday, wearing a new-model Jaked — with the company name blacked out – Torres claimed the eighth and final qualifying spot for the 50 freestyle final with her time of 24.43 seconds.
“I’m so excited,” Torres, 42, said. “I’m glad. This is what I wanted to do. I snuck in an outside lane, no expectations.”
Said Torres earlier: “I don’t want to get myself in trouble. Obviously, I’m sponsored by Speedo, and everyone here is wearing [these] suits, and I see them going fast. The times are outrageous going on here. I feel, if you want to be a part of this, you have to do what they’re doing.”
Cielo Adds 50 Freestyle to Haul
Brazil’s Cesar Cielo won the 50 free title in 21.08 seconds days after claiming the 100 crown. Saturday, however, Cielo did not get a world record; he topped France’s Fred Bousquet (21.21) and Amaury Leveaux (21.25). …..
The youngest man on the U.S. team, North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer Brennan Morris, 18, put forth a noble effort in the grueling 1,500 heats Saturday. Morris did not qualify for the final, but his time of 15:16.37 was 15th overing my best. That was only three seconds off of my best time. Not bad for a first-big-meet swim.”