LONDON -- Missy Franklin and Rebecca Soni, long projected to win gold medals for the United States on Monday night, suddenly find themselves pitted against upstart challengers.
Franklin set an American record in the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic trials, and her time of 58.85 seconds was the fastest in the world this year.
Entering the Olympics, that is. Emily Seebohm of Australia set an Olympic record in the qualifying heats, with 58.23 seconds, and followed with 58.39 in the semifinals.
Franklin never has swam the event that fast. Her times here: 59.37 in qualifying, 59.12 in the semifinals.
Soni won the silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke in Beijing, and she arrived in London with the fastest time in the world this year, 1 minute and 5.82 seconds. She went faster in qualifying, at 1:05.75.