By Nicole Leffer
LONG BEACH, Calif., June 11.THE first full day of the 2004 Janet Evans Invitational, being held June 10-13 at the Charter All Digital Aquatic Center in Long Beach, Calif., is in full swing, with the prelims complete and the all-star athlete cast ready to step it up and swim fast tonight. Here’s a recap of this morning’s action:
Women’s 100m Free
Natalie Coughlin qualified first (55.39), finishing a full body length ahead of the next fastest person in her heat and .81 seconds ahead of tonight’s second qualifier Colleen Lanne (56.20). Martina Moravcova touched the wall in this morning’s third fastest time (56.52). Shelly Ripple-Johnston, Gabrielle Rose, Dana Vollmer, Lindsay Benko, and Kim Harada round out the final heat.
Men’s 100m Free
Venezuela’s Luis Rojas swam the fastest time of the morning, clocking a 50.10. Jason Lezak (50.14) and Ryk Neethling (50.27) qualified second and third respectively. Aussie superstar Ian Thorpe disappointed prelim spectators, cruising in two seconds slower than his seed time at 50.56 to place fourth going into tonight’s race. Brend Hayden, Salim Iles, Gabe Woodward, and Michael Klim round out a heat with only 6/10 of a second between the fastest and slowest swimmers.
Women’s 200m Butterfly
Aussie Petria Thomas, currently the top 200 flier in the world, and the US’s Dana Kirk swam neck and neck in heat seven up until the final 15m where petria took of to win the race in 2:10.25. Kirk is seeded second with her time of 2:11.44.
Kaitlin Sandeno won her own heat by over a body length (2:12.64) to earn a third place seed for tonight’s final. Australia’s Felicity Galvez is seeded fouth, and American record holder and 2000 Olympic Champion Misty Hyman is fifth. Emily Mason, Noelle Bass, and Courtney Eads finish the top eight.
Men’s 200m Butterfly
Less than a quarter of a second separates Moss Burmester (2:00.18), Justin Norris (2:00.37), and Tom Malchow (2:00.42), tonight’s top three qualifiers. Davis Tarwater, Andrew Livingston, Juan Veloz, Josh Ilika, and Kellan O’Connor round out the field, which should promise a fast final heat.
Women’s 200m Backstroke
Nat came back for the 200 back and qualified for her second first place night seed in her second event of the meet. Her time of 2:13.92 was 2.21 seconds ahead of second place qualifier Kirsty Coventry who clocked in at 2:16.13. Margaret Hoelzer is seeded third only 2/100 ahead of Coventry with a 2:16.15. Jeri Moss, Gisela Morales, Joanna Fargus, Eric Volcan, and Alenka Kejzar will also swim in tonights final.
Men’s 200m Backstroke
Three lesser known men qualified for the top spots in tonight’s finals. Hongzhe Sun, 18, or Hawaii touched in this morning’s fastest time (2:01.48). 19-year-old Matthew Grevers is seeded second (2:02.08) and Austria’s Markus Rogan is third (2:02.21). Chris DeJong, Nathan O’Brien, Keith Beavers, Peter Marshall, and Adam Lucas complete the morning’s top-eight.
Women’s 400m Free
Veteran Olympians Lindsay Benko (4:12.75) and Kaitlin Sandeno (4:14.85) qualified first and second respectively. Lakeside Seahawks’ Rachel Komisarz touched the wall in the third fastest morning time (4:15.88). Last night’s 800 free duo of Kalyn Keller and Hayley Peirsol came in fourth and fifth. Emily Mason, Linda Mackenzie, and Carly Piper complete the top-eight.
Men’s 400m Free
An Aussie hero swam this morning’s fastest time, but it was not the Aussie most people would have expected. It was Craig Stevens, who gave up his 400 free spot on the Australian Olympic team in order to allow a disqualified Ian Thorpe swim his signature event, that hit the touchpad first in 3:53.77. Mission Viejo’s Justin Mortimer touched second (3:54.41), Klete Keller third (3:54.57), and Mark Johnston fourth (3:55.01). Thorpe qualified fifth, a full 2.34 seconds slower than Stevens.
Peter Vanderkaay, Eric Vendt, and Cameron Mull are also in the running in tonight’s final.