Anthony Ervin of Valencia will swim in the final of the men’s 50-meter freestyle while Tom Shields of Huntington Beach will swim in the final of the 100-meter butterfly Friday night at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Ervin equaled the second-fastest time in Thursday’s semifinals, 21.46 seconds, behind Florent Manaudou of France, who was timed in 21.32. The 35-year- old Ervin is the oldest American to compete in an individual Olympic swimming event since 1904.
Shields had the sixth-fastest qualifying time in Thursday’s semifinals, 51.61. Joseph Schooling of Singapore, who also swims for the University of Texas, had the fastest semifinal time, 50.83.
Michael Phelps had the sixth-fastest semifinal time, 51.58, shortly after winning the 200 individual medley for his record 22nd gold medal.
Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus was seventh in the women’s 100-meter freestyle Thursday in 53.30 seconds.
Ervin won a gold medal Sunday for his swim in a heat of the men’s 4×100- meter freestyle relay. He also won a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics when he tied teammate Gary Hall Jr. for first in the 50 freestyle.
Ervin graduated from Hart High School in Santa Clarita in 1999, then attended UC Berkeley. He said he began swimming when he was less than 1 year old and had an “early fascination with the feel and the freedom.”
Ervin stopped swimming competitively at the age of 22 in 2003, auctioned off his 2000 Olympic gold medal on eBay to aid survivors of the tsunami that followed the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake but began to train again in 2011.
The 25-year-old Shields failed to reach the semifinals of the 200-meter butterfly Tuesday, his first Olympic event.
Shields graduated from Edison High School in Huntington Beach in 2009, the year he was selected as the National High School Swimmer of the Year. Shields swam four years for California, winning six NCAA individual championships and one in a relay.
Shields swims 7,000 meters or yards — nearly four miles — a day, six days a week. He began swimming when he was 8 years old in an effort to be safe in pools.
—Staff and wire reports
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