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Franklin wins the 100-meter backstroke in blistering 58.67

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana--Missy Franklin produced a world-leading time on Friday to win the women's 100m backstroke at the U.S. swimming championships, then set her sights on Saturday's 200m individual medley.

Franklin, the Olympic gold medalist in the 100 backstroke at London last year, trailed Liz Pelton at the halfway mark but pulled ahead with about 20 meters left to win in 58.67 seconds.

“The whole field was right there at the fifty, so I knew I had to bring it back fast that last lap,” said Franklin. “It was tough. It hurt a lot.”

Franklin's time was a U.S. open record as the fastest-ever on American soil and improved on the previous best of the year of 58.84 set by Japan's Aya Terakawa.

The top four finishers all dipped under one minute, with Pelton second in 59.27, Sarah Denninghoff third in 59.75, and Rachel Bootsma fourth in 59.90. Bootsma had defeated Franklin in Thursday's 50 backstroke.

The championships serve as the qualifier for the American team at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona. Winners automatically make the squad.

Franklin, the 18-year-old whose five medals at the London Games included four gold and one bronze, has qualified automatically in six events (100 free, 200 free, 100 back, 200 back, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay).

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