Lisa Bratton’s goal entering the U.S. Olympic Team Trials was to make the semifinals in at least one of her two events.
On Saturday in Omaha, Neb., the Richland swimmer advanced to the 16-person semifinals of the women’s 200-meter backstroke.
With her heat time of 2 minutes, 13.57 seconds, Bratton was 13th out of 186 finishers.
Othello graduate Natilee Ruiz (2:17.22) was 64th.
Former Richland standout Cody Roberts was 21st in the preliminaries of the men’s 100 butterfly. The UNLV swimmer clocked a heat-winning 54.01 seconds.
Though Bratton was last in the 200 back semifinals in 2:16.53, she was thrilled to have made it that far.
“It was actually still faster than my seed time (2:16.81),” she said via telephone. “It was my second-fastest time ever. I could kind of tell after 150, ‘This isn’t the best,’ but it was OK.”
Bratton was assigned to Lane 1 in the second semifinal. In Lane 4 was American-record holder Missy Franklin, who had the top heat time of 2:08.35.
“I was very nervous, not necessarily because big names were in the meet, but just because I went from 106th to 13th place,” Bratton said. “Plus, it was being broadcast on television. It was exciting, but it was really nerve-wracking.
“I wasn’t really trying to go out and swim the big names. Todd (Stafek, Tri-City Channel Cats coach) said, ‘Go out and swim the person next to you.’ That’s what I tried to do.”
Franklin won in 2:07.91, followed by Elizabeth Beisel (2:08.41). The eight-person final is tonight.
Bratton’s accomplishment excited Ruiz, who has been her roommate this past week.
“I’m just so happy for Lisa,” Ruiz said. “I can’t explain how proud of her I am. It’s crazy. She’s doing stuff I wish I could do right now. And she’s young.”
w Katie Dorsey: 582-1526; firstname.lastname@example.org