INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 25. OLYMPIC star Missy Franklin posted the first meet record of the competition with a win in the women's 100-meter free at the U.S. Nationals and World Championship Trials.
Franklin checked in with a scintillating time of 53.43. That swim is faster than her sterling time of 53.52 from last year's Olympic Games, when she became one of the greatest of all time in just one meet. The time cleared Amanda Weir's meet record of 53.58 from back in 2006, and shot Franklin to second in the world this year. She only trails Cate Campbell, who dropped a blazing 52.83 at the Aussie Nationals earlier this year. Franklin nearly tracked down Campbell's U.S. Open record of 53.30 set back in 2008 in the process.
Athens Bulldogs' Shannon Vreeland ripped off a 53.83 to finish second, and also cleared the FINA A cut in the process. That swim vaulted her to a sixth-ranked tie with Ranomi Kromowidjojo of The Netherlands, and pushed Vreeland past the 54-second barrier. Her best time was from prelims when she threw down a 54.24.
First Colony's Simone Manuel, 16, raced to third with a time of 53.86, just off Franklin's 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record of 53.63 from 2011. The swim jumped Manuel to eighth in the world and in line for a relay spot on Team USA. It also blasted Manuel's lifetime best of 54.60 from the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships.
Athens Bulldogs' Megan Romano also cleared 54 seconds with a fourth-place time of 53.90 to be up for relay duty in Barcelona. She's also now the 10th-ranked swimmer in the world as this heat produced four of the top 10 swimmers in the world this year. Now that Team USA has had a chance to speak, the naysayers who are worried about U.S. women's sprinting can look to Barcelona.
Natalie Coughlin, who is also focusing on the 50 free this meet, went out super fast in 25.70 but could not hold on as she faded to fifth in 54.04. California's Elizabeth Pelton (54.65), Tucson Ford's Margo Geer (54.81) and defending champion Jessica Hardy (54.88) also swam in the finale.
Olympian Lia Neal topped what proved to be a pretty loaded B final that included Olympian Allison Schmitt. Neal touched out Schmitt at the wall, 54.68 to 54.98, and will now focus her swimming career on Stanford University as she goes cross country for college after this summer.
NBAC's Cierra Runge earned herself a C final victory with a time of 55.67. That swim is her fourth-best ever, and just off her lifetime best of 55.43 from the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships.