By John Lohn
LONG BEACH, July 7. SINCE 2000, America has been waiting for its first sub-minute performance in the 100 breast. It may be just around the corner, thanks to the presence of Brendan Hansen, a 13-time NCAA champ out of the University of Texas.
After opening up with a 28.61 split for the first 50 meters, Hansen cruised to the wall, touching in 1:00.83, the fourth-fastest time in the world this year. That effort easily outdistanced Scott Usher in the adjacent lane, although Usher qualified second for tonight's semifinals in 1:01.27.
Ed Moses, who shares the American record in the event with Hansen at 1:00.21, took first in his heat, the final race of the prelims, but managed only a time of 1:02.27. Mark Gangloff enters the semifinals as the third seed, behind a prelim effort of 1:01.84.
There's a strong chance the American record is lowered tonight, along with the possibility that Hansen pushes the one-minute barrier. If not tonight, the likelihood certainly grows with tomorrow's championship heat.
The fifth through eighth qualifiers were Dave Denniston (1:02.28), Gary Marshall (1:02.36), Caleb Rowe (1:02.62) and Christian Schurr (1:02.91).
Also qualifying for the semis were Kevin Swander (1:03.28), Matthew Lowe (1:03.33), Phil Davis (1:03.34), Dominick Szabo (1:03.49), Jamie Barone (1:03.63), Scott Gardner (1:03.70), Patrick Fowler (1:03.78) and Jarrod Marrs (1:04.00).