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Cox 8th at Trials

Published: 6/28/2016 12:36:52 AM
Modified: 6/28/2016 12:36:55 AM

Omaha, Neb. — Hartland’s Hannah Cox wasn’t necessarily expected to clinch a spot with the U.S. swimming team for the Rio Olympics when she hit the pool for her first event at the national trials on Monday. She didn’t, but the teenager certainly made the most of her opening opportunity.

The Upper Valley Aquatic Club competitor and recent Kimball Union Academy graduate made the finals of the women’s 400-meter freestyle, the first of her three events at the trials, and finished eighth in a finale dominated by Olympic champion and world record-holder Katie Ledecky. Cox is scheduled for two more events at CenturyLink Center today.

Ledecky, of Virginia, nearly broke her own world mark with her winning time of 3 minutes, 58.98 seconds, missing a new standard by .61 seconds. Another Virginia native, Leah Smith, claimed the other spot on the U.S. team in 4:00.65.

Cox, 18, was seeded 13th out the 109 women who had qualified to compete at Omaha. Racing against Ledecky in the fifth of 11 morning heats, Cox placed third in 4:09.83, about 7 seconds behind Ledecky. Cox’s qualifying time was the seventh-best recorded in the heats.

Ledecky held about a body-length lead on the other seven swimmers in the final after the first 50-meter length of the pool. The youngest competitor in the eight-swimmer final, the University of Arizona-bound Cox was less than a half-second from finishing as high as fifth overall.

“It was the fastest she has ever been in preliminaries, and making the finals at the Olympic trials is the next step in the progression to the next level,” UVAC coach Dorsi Raynolds said in an email. “We always talk about the importance of swimming fast in the morning to get a lane in the finals. Tonight was another goal realized for Hannah.”

Cox could find herself hitting the pool as many as four times today as she competes in her speciality, the 200 freestyle, as well as the 200 individual medley. Cox, seeded 20th in the 200 free and 41st in the 200 IM, is scheduled to swim in preliminary heats this morning and, if she performs well enough, semfinals in the evening. The finals of both events are set for Wednesday night.

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