Joscelin Yeo of Cal, the Pac-10 champion, was the top qualifier in the 100 fly at 58.85. Misty Hyman of Stanford qualified second at second in 58.94. UCLA looks to score big in this event, being the only team to have two finalists as Julia Voitovitsch (59.77) and Katie Younglove (59.84) qualified third and fourth, respectively. Nevada’s Liu Limin, the 1996 silver medallist in this event, swam leisurely to qualify fifth. Last year, she and Hyman waged a titanic battle in the 100 fly, with Hyman winning by a touch. Cal’s Haley Cope, enjoying a great meet, qualified sixth, followed by ASU’s Sarah Baham and Wisconsin’s Gina Panighetti.
This event promises to be a free-for all, with the top five qualifiers separated by only four-tenths of a second. Leading the qualifiers was Arizona sophomore Sarah Tolar, last year’s runner-up to SMU’s Martina Moravcova. Tolar clocked 1:57.72, nine-hundredths ahead of South African Helene Muller, representing Nebraska. Georgia freshman sensation Maritza Correia was third in prelims (1:57.95) with another Arizona sophomore, Emily Mastin, fourth (1:58.12). UNLV’s Lorena Diaconescu was fifth (2:58.17). Rounding out the top eight were Owen Rada (Auburn), Ellen Stonebraker (Wisconsin) and Kim Black (Georgia).
The tight race could produce an American record. The one-day-old mark of 1:56.46 was set in Athens yesterday by USC grad Lindsay Benko, leading off the American 4 x 200m freestyle relay at the Short Course World Championships.
Georgia’s Kristy Kowal, winner of the 200 IM and a member of Georgia’s world-record setting 400m medley relay last night, threw down the gauntlet in the prelims of the 100 meter breaststroke. The smooth-stroking Bulldog senior cruised to an American record of 1:06.37, erasing the 1:06.67 standard set by Amanda Beard, the 1996 Olympic silver medallist, last December. Beard split 31.75 en route to the new US mark, but she has her sights set on the world record of 1:05.40 set last September by South Africa’s Penny Heyns
Auburn’s Brook Monroe was the second-fastest qualifier at 1:07.35, followed by Arizona’s Beard (1:07.46) and Northwestern’s Amy Balcerzak, Cal's Stacianna Stitts, USC’s Kristin MacGregor, Washington State’s Erin Eldridge and Georgia’s Ashley Roby were the remaining qualifiers.. UCLA, Arizona and Georgia each qualified a swimmer in the B final. Cal and Stanford were shut out.
The 100 backstroke shapes up to be one of the most competitive events of this championship meet, with the world and American mark of 58.50, set by Angel Martino seven years ago, definitely in peril. Olympic gold medalist Beth Botsford, Arizona, was top qualifier at 59.42 followed closely b Stanford’s Shelly Ripple (59.58) and Cal’s Haley Cope (59.93). Arizona’s Denali Knapp and Georgia’s Courtney Shealy were tied in fourth at 1:00.07, though Shealy pumped out a 58.75 in leading off Georgia’s record-setting medley relay last night. Sixth qualifier is Stanford’s always-dangerous Catherine Fox. Fox won this event her first two years, then set an American record in prelims last year before being upset by Cal’s Marylyn Chiang. North Carolina’s Summer Mack qualified seventh, followed by the third Arizona swimmer in this final, Julie Manitt. Georgia has two swimmers in the B final, Arizona one.