Alice Schmidt of Coronado trailed only defending world champion Mariya Savinova of Russia in her 800-meter first-round heat Wednesday at the London Olympics.
A two-time Olympian, Schmidt led at 400 and 600 meters and clocked 2:01.65 to advance to Thursday’s semifinals, where she will run in the first of three heats at 11:30 a.m. Pacific time.
She’ll start in lane 6, just outside Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo in lane 5. Jelimo, 22, is the defending Olympic champion in the 800. Schmidt is 30.
U.S. teammate Alysia Montano won her heat in 2:00.47 after a 55-second first lap. Caster Semenya of South Africa, the 2009 world champion whose gender was questioned, was second in that heat in 2:00.71.
Geena Gall, the third American entrant, was fourth in her heat in 2:03.85 but also advanced to semifinals by time.
Sarah Attar, a Pepperdine student from Escondido and the first Saudi Arabian woman ever to compete in the Olympic track meet, completed her 800 in 2:44.95 and didn’t advance.