By Brian Haddad
NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 27. THIS meet was billed as the "Last Chance to Make Olympic Trials," and it is living up to its name as nine more swimmers qualified for the USA Swimming Olympic Trials at the Nashville Aquatic Club Summer Sizzler.
The fireworks began on the evening's first event as Nashville's Lindsay McIlvain and Oakland Live Y'ers Alex Vanderkaay scored the trials in the 200 meter Butterfly. McIlvain swam an amazing last 50 to punch her ticket for Long Beach with a 2:16.50. Vanderkaay led start to finish, winning the men’s event at a very fast 2:02.78, adding this standard to the 400 IM from last night.
Live Y'er Chris Sullivan won the 50 Free going away in 23.17, to add to the 100 meter Butterfly already on his Trials calendar.
Two more swims under the Trials cut were given up in the 200 Breast, though only one to an American. On the ladies side, Shantel Commander, Nashville Aquatics, made her first Trial cut in prelims at 2:35.35. Shantel is with Kentucky in the school season. Andrew Bree, Tennessee Aquatics, continued his dominance of the men's Breaststroke events in a very fast 2:14.67. Bree seeks a spot on the Irish Olympic Team.
The prelims of the women's 100 meter Backstroke featured two Trial cuts as Memphis Thunder's Margo McCawley (1:03.97) and Tennessee Aquatics' Jacque Fessel (1:04.57) qualified first and second. Nashville's Samantha Vanderbilt won the final at 1:04.69, just 1 tenth of a second off the trial cut. Nashville's Michael Gilliam equaled the Trial Cut in the Men's 100 Back, winning in 57.79, with older brother Craig second at 58.45.
Leading off the Nashville Medley relay, Vanderbilt delivered on the drama she created by winning the 100 Back but missing the Trials after two of her competitors had made the cut in prelims. She brought the crowd to their feet with a Backstroke leadoff of 1:04.43, good enough for a July trip to Long Beach.
Swimmers achieving National Championships Standards were: Craig Gilliam, Greater Chattanooga's Stephanie Napier (50 Free :26.48), and Ryan Bishop (200 Breast 2:20.91), Rockwood's Caroline Rodriguez (100 Back 1:05.33). Nashville's Lindsay McIlvain (400 Free 4:19.53) and Memphis Tigers' Brooks Stovall (400 Free 3:59.74).
Complete results can be found at www.swimnac.com.