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Injured Lochte plows ahead in 200 free at US Olympic trials

OMAHA, Neb. — Injured Ryan Lochte advanced to the 200-meter freestyle semifinals at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials on Monday.

Lochte qualified fifth-fastest in 1 minute, 47.77 seconds despite a groin injury he sustained in the 400 individual medley prelims a day earlier. He failed to make the U.S. team in that event, finishing third in the final. Only the top two earn a berth in Rio.

Conor Dwyer, who finished second in the 400 free on Sunday, led the way in 1:46.66. Jack Conger was second at 1:47.25.

Also moving on to the 16-man evening semifinals were Tyler Clary in eighth and Connor Jaeger in 15th. Jaeger is already going to Rio after winning the 400 free.

Defending Olympic champion Missy Franklin and two-time gold medalist Natalie Coughlin advanced to the semifinals of the 100 backstroke.

Franklin was fifth-fastest with a time of 1:00.35 in the prelims after a 14-year-old competitor helped her put her cap on. Coughlin was seventh in 1:00.75. The top 16 reached the evening semifinals.

Franklin thought her next-to-last heat would be the fastest, but it wasn't.

"It's a little bit surprising that the first and last of the seeded heats were both sub-1s, which is awesome going into tonight," she said. "But my goal was to win my heat. I did that."

Leading the way was 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.

"It would be great to go to Rio," she said. "Hopefully, I get my ticket there. If I don't, I don't. It's not the end of the world. I'm just enjoying my time racing and seeing what happens."