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Terakawa into backstroke semis

Kyodo

World silver medalist Aya Terakawa strolled through the preliminaries of the women’s 100-meter backstroke, taking a time of 1 minute, .28 seconds into the semifinals of the national championships Wednesday.

Terakawa, who medaled for her first time at last year’s world championships in Shanghai and is poised to win her first Olympic medal this summer in London, topped the morning heats by a comfortable 1.25 seconds ahead of the semis in the evening. The final is Thursday.

“Hopefully I can swim a perfect race in the final,” said the 27-year-old Terakawa, who holds the Japan record of 59.13. “I want to drive up the pace early in the semifinals.

“In Shanghai, my time wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be in the semifinal and it spilled over to the final. Today, how I swim will be secondary. I just want a fast time going into the final.”

In the 200 butterfly, sleep-deprived Yuka Kato reached the semis just a night after making the Olympic team at the 100 fly by a new national record.