SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Aug. 14. AFTER passing the halfway point of the 14th Pan American Games Swimming competition setting the standard for the competition, the United States continued their hot swimming this morning at the Juan Duarte Aquatic Complex.
Not only are US swimmers advancing to the medal finals in each race, but those swimmers that have been delegated as exhibition or non-scoring have excelled at achieving lifetime best swims in the preliminaries — their only opportunities to swim the events.
That was evidenced in today's prelims, as exhibition swimmers recorded the top times in 3 of the 4 individual events. In the women's 100 meter butterfly Dana Vollmer set a new Pan Am record in 59.35; in the men's 400 freestyle 2000 Olympian Chris Thompson recorded a personal best in 3:51.94 and in the 200 breaststroke Mark Gangloff had a personal best of 2:13.44.
The US advanced all 8 official swimmers and the men's 400 freestyle relay to this evening's finals. In the 100 fly Bethany Goodwin qualified 2nd (1:00.31) and Dana Kirk 3rd (1:00.69) behind Canadian Ashley Lacroix (1:00.08). American Laura Davis, a non-scoring competitior, recorded the 5th fastest time (1:02.26).
In the 400 Fran Crippen battled Thompson the entire way and will be the top qualifier in 3:52.66. Teammate Davis Tarwater qualified 6th in 3:59.15; while Robert Margalis swimming exhibition was 4th overall at 3:54.64.
The men's 200 breaststroke saw Olympian Kyle Salyards earn top honors in 2:16.76 while teammate Sean Quinn qualified 7th in 2:20.46. Jarrod Marrs, runner-up in the 100 meter breaststroke was 4th overall in 2:17.71.
In the women's 100 breaststroke, 2000 Olympian Staciana Stitts cruised to the top spot in 1:09.32, just a fraction off her own Pan Am record set in 1999 in Winnipeg. Corrie Clark, making her Pan Am debut qualfied 2nd in 1:10.17. The two Americans who were exhibition finished 3rd and 5th overall respectively. Melissa Klein (1:10.26) and Alexandra Spann (1:11.10) rounded out the US contingent.
The men's 400 free relay was the first to have enough teams to require a preliminary race. Ryan Lochte (50.56), Jeff Lee (51.01), Ben Michaelson (50.90) and Dan Ketchum (49.89) qualified the US first in 3:22.36 setting up a battle this evening with the favored Brazilians.