Natalie Coughlin hung on in her quest to make it back to a third Olympics and take a shot at tying Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres as the most decorated female Olympians in U.S. history.
Coughlin won six medals in Beijing and she has 11 overall, one shy of Thompson and Torres. But there may not be a chance to tie them in London.
Having already missed out in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, Coughlin is down to her final realistic chance in the 100 freestyle.
She barely got out of the semifinals, finishing sixth in her heat but seventh overall to qualify for Saturday night's final.
Amanda Weir was the fastest qualifier in 54.14, followed by Missy Franklin (54.19) and Allison Schmitt (54.23).
With a loaded final that also included Dana Vollmer and Jessica Hardy, Coughlin looks like a long shot for an individual berth in London. She'll need to finish in the top six of the eight-woman final to earn consideration for the 400 freestyle relay team.
"Life will go on," Coughlin said. "That's why you don't see me freaking out."
On a busy night, Ryan Lochte cruised through the semifinals of the 200 backstroke with the fastest time at 1 minute, 55.73 seconds.
Tyler Clary was next (1:55.88) in what looks like a two-man race. Only one other qualifier for the final was within 3 seconds of the leaders.
Lochte returned less than an hour later for the semifinals of the 200 freestyle, which was Michael Phelps' only event of the night. Racing side-by-side again, Lochte was top qualifier again with the fastest time in the world this year (1:55.51), while Phelps was about a body length behind (1:56.66).
"I knew he kind of took off, so I was like I probably should save something for tomorrow," Phelps said. "I kind of shut it down once the race was kind of over."
They will be right next to each other again Saturday night in the finals, their final showdown on the trials. They've each won a head-to-head meeting, a tantalizing glimpse of what awaits at the meet that really matters in London.
In the night's other final, Cammile Adams pulled away to win the 200 butterfly in 2:06.52. Kathleen Hersey claimed the second Olympic berth (2:07.72), more than a second ahead of third-place finisher Kim Vandenberg.
Defending Olympic champion Rebecca Soni easily advanced in the 200 breast at 2:23.11. Micah Lawrence was second in 2:24.95, and Andrea Kropp third at 2:25.77.