AUSTIN, Texas, March 3. ARE two American records in jeopardy tonight? Oh yeah.
Competing in the preliminaries of the American Short Course Championships at the University of Texas, Michael Phelps easily qualified first for the evening finals in the 200 freestyle and 400 individual medley. The eight-time Olympic medalist, representing Club Wolverine, went 1:35.91 in the 200 free and 3:46.65 in the 400 I.M.
In the 200 free, Phelps is stalking Matt Biondi's 1:33.03 standard from 1987. As for the 400 I.M., Phelps is chasing Tom Dolan's 3:38.18 swim from 1995. Scheduled to swim five individual events this weekend, Phelps is also capable of taking down Simon Burnett's overall record in the 200 free (1:32.22).
Natalie Coughlin, who won five Olympic medals in Athens, advanced to the finals of the 200 free and 100 butterfly with the fourth-fastest qualifying times in each event. Tanica Jamison is the top seed in the 200 free (1:47.42) and Demerae Christianson is the top seed in the fly (54.37).
University of Texas products Ian Crocker and Brendan Hansen recorded the fastest preliminary times in their respective events. Crocker led the way in the 100 butterfly with a time of 47.60 while Hansen had the fastest 100 breaststroke with a performance of 55.28.
Kate Dwelley, who qualified second in the 200 free, is the top qualifier in the women's 400 I.M. (4:18.86) while Alex Spann (1:03.83) was swiftest in the women's 100 breast.