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Olympic Swimming Results: Dana Vollmer, Natalie Coughlin Make Early Waves In Prelims

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Results from the first round of swimming prelims involving Pac-12 swimmers are after the jump (for those of you who want to avoid spoilers, don't you dare go past the jump!).

There were two U.S. swimmers that finished first place in their heats, and neither of those names were Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte. Elizabeth Beisel of Florida was one (in the 400 meter individual medley, where she is one of the big favorites). Dana Vollmer of Cal was the other.

Vollmer has long been considered the favorite in the 100 fly, and she justified her standing with an outstanding performance in her heat, setting a new Olympic record. Of course, you don't win medals on your heat performances, but if you had to feel confident about any of these swimmers going into the next round, Vollmer is the one you'd be most satisfied by.

As impressive as Vollmer's performance was in her early heats (she'll compete in the semis tonight), she'll likely be overshadowed by the prospect of her legendary Cal counterpart potentially competing in what could be her last event as an Olympian.

Natalie Coughlin had only one race she was definitely swimming this week, i.e. the only one she qualified for in the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay. Coughlin didn't qualify in her signature backstroke and missed every other event, and just barely got in the freestyle in her final event.

You'd have barely thought Coughlin struggled in the Trials based on her performance, because she posted the fastest split of any four of the Americans that ran the prelims and helped the United States finish in second place (just barely) behind their main competitors for the gold, Australia. The swim coaches will have a tough choice between Coughlin, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt for the final to pair with another Cal Bear in Jessica Hardy and potential Pac-12 prospect Missy Franklin.

Caitlin Leverenz of Cal also made the finals of her first event, although just barely. She'll be competing with Beisel in the 400 IMs after finishing with the eighth fastest time in what was a surprisingly slow heat. Those will be your main Pac-12 competitors to watch out for going into the finals later today.

Check out a replay of the prelims from NBCOlympics.com.