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updated: 6/27/2012 12:34 AM

Neuqua grad Cordes just misses spot on U.S. swimming team

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  • Annie Chandler, left, swims in the women's 100-meter breaststroke semifinals at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Tuesday. At right is Stevenson High School product Ashley Wanland, who advanced to Wednesday's finals.

      Annie Chandler, left, swims in the women's 100-meter breaststroke semifinals at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Tuesday. At right is Stevenson High School product Ashley Wanland, who advanced to Wednesday's finals.
    Associated Press

  • Conor Dwyer swims in the men's 200-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Tuesday. In high school, Dwyer competed at Loyola Academy; he advanced to the championship heat of the event and already made the U.S. Olympic team in the 400 freestyle.

      Conor Dwyer swims in the men's 200-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Tuesday. In high school, Dwyer competed at Loyola Academy; he advanced to the championship heat of the event and already made the U.S. Olympic team in the 400 freestyle.
    Associated Press

  • Allison Schmitt swims to victory in the women's 400-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Tuesday.

      Allison Schmitt swims to victory in the women's 400-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Tuesday.
    Associated Press

  • STEVE LUNDY/slundy@dailyherald.comNeuqua Valley's Kevin Cordes celebrates after winning the 100-yard breastroke in the 2010 Illinois high school state finals at New Trier. Cordes placed third in Tuesday's 100-meter breaststroke final at the U.S. Olympic trials.

      STEVE LUNDY/slundy@dailyherald.comNeuqua Valley's Kevin Cordes celebrates after winning the 100-yard breastroke in the 2010 Illinois high school state finals at New Trier. Cordes placed third in Tuesday's 100-meter breaststroke final at the U.S. Olympic trials.

 
 

It was a case of oh-so-close Tuesday night for Neuqua Valley High School product Kevin Cordes, who finished third in the breaststroke in 1:00.58. The NCAA record holder, now attending Arizona, was out in front at the halfway point at the U.S. Olympic trials.

"I knew if I wanted to win I had to start out fast and maintain that lead," Cordes said. "Unfortunately it just didn't work out."

Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin was the top qualifier in the semifinals of the 100 backstroke, putting up a time (59.06) that was less than a second off Gemma Spofforth's world record. Teenagers claimed the next three fastest times, as well: 18-year-old Rachel Bootsma, 17-year-old Olivia Smoliga (an Illinois high school champion from Glenbrook South), and 18-year-old Elizabeth Pelton.

Smoliga said her attitude going into the backstroke finals is pretty basic: "Just race," Smoliga said. "All I can do is just race."

Coughlin, who won gold in the 100 back at the past two Olympics, barely qualified for the final of her signature event with the seventh-fastest time (1:00.63).

In other races, Matt Grevers -- a Lake Forest High School grad -- stamped himself as a favorite in the 100 back with the top semifinal time (53.10).

Olympic gold medalist Rebecca Soni used a huge finishing kick to lead the semifinals of the 100 breast (1:05.88), more than a second ahead of world-record holder Jessica Hardy (1:06.88). Stevenson High School grad and Wisconsin standout Ashley Wanland had the fourth-fastest qualifying effort -- 1:07.23 -- and will also race for a chance at an Olympic team berth in the finals.

• Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.

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