RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, July 16. VENEZUELA's Octavio Alesi started off the first evening of preliminary competition at the Pan American Games with a Games record in the 100 fly. Both Alesi and the United States' Ricky Berens broke American Ben Michaelson's four-year old record in the event with Alesi winning out, 52.54 to 53.01.
Once again, many of the world's best continue to prepare for morning finals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games as the Pan Ams are being contested under a similar format.
Women's 50 freestyle
Brazil's Flavia Delaroli claimed the top qualifying time during prelims of the women's 50 free when she touched in 25.35 out of the second heat. Venezuela's Arlene Semeco took second in 25.40, while American Samantha Woodward placed third in 25.56.
Brazil's Rebeca Gusmao (25.60), United States' Maritza Correia (25.74), Puerto Rico's Vanessa Garcia Vega (25.82), Canada's Seanna Mitchell and Mexico's Liliana Ibanez Lopez (26.57) made up the rest of the top eight qualifiers out of 16 moving onto the semifinals.
Men's 100 freestyle
The United States went 1-2 during prelims of the men's 100 freestyle. Gabriel Woodward clocked in at 49.50, while Dale Rogers wound up second in 49.81.
Brazil then went 3-4 behind them with rising star Cesar Cielo taking third in 49.95 and teammate Eduardo Deboni placing fourth in 50.09.
Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell (50.10), Argentina's Jose Meolans (50.22), Cayman Islands' Shaune Fraser (50.41) and Venezuela's Albert Subirats (50.44) completed the last half of top eight qualifiers out of semis.
Women's 400 IM
The U.S. also showed well in the 400 IM as Teresa Crippen topped everyone with a time of 4:45.19 and Kathleen Hersey placed third in 4:47.44.
Brazil's Joanna Maranhao split the difference with a second-place 4:46.04, while Canada's Stephanie Horner took fourth in 4:47.92.
As for the rest of the top eight qualifiers out of 16 moving onto semis, Argentina's Georgina Bardach (4:49.95), Canada's Monika Stitski (4:50.06), Mexico's Susana Escobar (4:52.87) and Brazil's Larissa Cieslak (5:04.27) will join them.
Men's 400 IM
Brazil's Thiago Pereira, who is attempting a Phelpsian schedule with a full slate this week started off right with a time of 4:18.93 to pace the men's 400 IM. Robert Margalis of the United States finished second in 4:19.56, while Canada's Keith Beavers finished third in 4:19.68.
Barbados' Bradley Ally took fourth in 4:23.04, while American Andrew Callahan wound up fifth in 4:23.84.
Canada's Tobias Oriwol (4:24.84), Brazil's Diogo Yabe (4:25.72) and Colombia's Omar Pinzon (4:30.76) grabbed sixth through eighth place, respectively.
Women's 100 butterfly
The U.S. went 1-2 again, this time in the women's 100 fly. Kathleen Hersey clocked in at 59.99, while compatriot Samantha Woodward placed second in 1:00.16.
For the second time behind a U.S. 1-2, Brazil placed 3-4. Dalene Dias took third in 1:00.79, while Gabriella Silva finished fourth in 1:01.46.
Other top eight finishers included Bahamas' Alana Dillette (1:01.63), Jamaica's Alia Atkinson (1:02.91), Bahamas' Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (1:03.01) and Mexico's Paulina Castro (1:03.06).
Men's 100 butterfly
The men's 100 fly witnessed the first Pan American record of the Games. Both Venezuela's Octavio Alesi and the United States' Ricky Berens surpassed the 53.04 set by American Ben Michaelson on Aug. 12, 2003. Alesi, however, beat Berens to the wall, 52.54 to 53.01.
A pair of Brazilians finished close behind as Kaio Almeida (53.05) and Gabriel Mangabeira (53.21) took third and fourth, respectively.
Berens' teammate Pat O'Neil wound up fifth in 53.40, while Mexico's Jose Davila placed sixth in 53.59.
Canada closed out the top eight with Adam Sioui (53.62) and Joe Bartoch (53.94) earning seventh and eighth, respectively.
Women's 400 freestyle
The Americans went 1-3, with another North American taking second in the women's 400 free prelims.
Jessica Rodriguez won the prelim heats with a time of 4:11.47, while Canada's Chanelle Charron-Watson finishing second in 4:11.76. Rodriguez' teammate Corinne Showalter placed third in 4:13.62.
Mexico's Patricia Miyamoto wound up fourth in 4:14.18, while Canada's Zsofia Balazs took fifth in 4:15.26.
Argentina's Cecilia Biagioli (4:15.70), Brazil's Monique Ferreira (4:16.30) and Chile's Kristel Kobrich (4:16.42) comprised the rest of the top eight.
Men's 100 breaststroke
Canada turned the tables on the United States in the 100 breast with a 1-3 of its own.
Scott Dickens paced prelims with a time of 1:01.94, while teammate Mathieu Bois placed third in 1:02.34.
The United States' Mark Gangloff turned in a second-place time of 1:02.05, while Brazil's Henrique Barbosa took fourth in 1:02.53.
Mexico's Alfredo Rodriguez placed fifth in 1:02.99, while American Christian Schurr (1:03.18) and Argentina's Sergio Ferreyra (1:03.32) and Cristian Soldano (1:03.81) rounded out the top eight.