PHOENIX, Arizona, April 29. FOUR countries held their national swimming championships over the weekend, selecting swimmers for various international competitions, including the world championships. Germany compacted their nationals into a four-day meet and had some very promising swims, including a triple from Steffen Deibler, who won the 50 and 100 butterfly as well as the 50 freestyle. His 100 fly time of 51.10 is the fastest in the world in 2013 and puts him squarely in the world championship medal hunt ... if he can replicate or improve on that time in Barcelona. The other big news from Germany was Britta Steffen's sudden withdrawal from the meet after contracting an undisclosed illness. National team head coach Henning Lambertz said Steffen might have another opportunity to qualify for the world championships in the weeks leading up to the meet.
The Brazlians wrapped up the Maria Lenk Trophy meet with an impressive foursome for Brazil's 400 free relay. Leading the pack was NCAA standout Marcelo Chierighini, won with a 48.11. Nicolas Oliveira and Nicholas Santos tied for second with times of 48.72, which will require a swimoff to determine which of them earns the privilege of swimming the 100 free at worlds. Both will swim in the relay, likely joined by Bruno Fratus, who posted a 49.13 on a relay leadoff but did not swim the actual 100 free. Cesar Cielo skipped the 100 free, saying his prime focus this year is on the 50 free. Henrique Rodrigues had a major time drop in the 200 IM, beating Thiago Pereira with a 1:57.37 to sit second in the world rankings. Brazil will likely not name its official world championship roster until late May, when swimmers will have another opportunity to post times fast enough to make the world team.
Over in Ireland, three swimmers qualified for that country's world championship team, including Sycerika McMahon, who won six titles over the weekend. Katinka Hosszu also visited the meet but did not swim a large number of finals. Her top swim of the meet was a 1:00.24 in the 100 backstroke, beating the 22-year-old Hungarian national record held by the legendary Krisztina Egerszgei.
Australia is having a very good nationals in Adelaide after a subpar Olympic Games last year. Nearly every event is putting swimmers in the top five in the world rankings, with a few sitting in the number one spot. Alicia Coutts posted the fastest times in the world twice on Saturday, winning the 100 fly and 200 IM. Bronte Barratt won the 200 and 400 freestyles this weekend, putting herself at the top of the world standings in the 400 and second in the 200. Christian Sprenger wrapped up his meet with two world-leading times in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes, nearly becoming the first man under 59 so far this year. And earlier today, Grant Irvine swam the fastest 200 fly of 2013 with a 1:55.32 to make his first major international squad. Tomorrow's events will include the final of the men's 100 free, featuring reigning world champion James Magnussen, who swam a 47.97 in prelims.
Omaha will get a third opportunity to host the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in 2016. USA Swimming named Omaha as the lucky host city during a live webcast Saturday afternoon. St. Louis and San Antonio were also finalists for the honor of hosting the country's largest swim meet. The dates of the 2016 Trials have not been set, but with the 2016 Olympics pushed back to September, it's likely Trials will also be moved to early or mid-July.