FEDERAL WAY, WA. March 31. Megan Quann, the brash, 16-year-old from nearby Puyallup, Wash., predicted she'd set an American record this morning in the 100 meters breaststroke at the USA Swimming Spring National Championships. Then she went out and did just that.
Splitting 31.72 at the turn, she powered home in 1:07.71, crushing the old mark of 1:07.94 she set at the US Open last December–when she also predicted an American record. Second qualifier was Kristy Kowal, who won the world championship in this event two years ago.
Like the former Cassius Clay, Quann predicts big things for herself. And like Clay, she delivers a knockout punch. After her race, Quann predicted she would break Penny Heyns world record of 1:06.52 during tonight's finals.
Quann wasn't the only fast swimmer during morning prelims. Ed Moses, who won the 200 meter breaststroke on Wednesday, stroked a 1:01.32 to lead all qualifiers in the men's 100m breaststroke. It's the world's fastest time this year. Moses qualified exactly a second ahead of Japan's Ryosuke Imai.
Veterans Lea Maurer and Neil Walker led qualifiers in the 100 meters backstroke. Maurer, 28, swam 1:01.54, more than a second ahead of B.J. Bedford (1:02.78) and Courtney Shealey (1:03.02). Seventh qualifier was 13-year-old Diana MacManus (1:03.56).
Walker had the fastest men's time at 55.34, followed by Alex Lim of Malaysia (56.13), named by Swimming World last year as male "High School Swimmer of the Year." Sixteen-year-old Aaron Peirsol, the surprise winner of the 200m backstroke, was third (56.21). Eighth qualifier was Bobby Brewer, who won this event two years ago.
Hungarian Szolt Gaspar, swimming for the South Carolina Gamecocks, set a US Open record in leading all qualifiers in the men's 100m butterfly. Gaspar clocked 52.87, a Hungarian national record, comfortably ahead of Dod Wales (53.51) and 2000 NCAA champion Adam Pine of Australia (53.72).
Karen Campbell, who quietly keeps getting better every time she swims, was the top female 100-flyer in a PR 59.22 seconds. Martina Moravcova followed in 59.47, with Dara Torres third (1:00.06) and Richelle Fox fourth (1:00.41). Among those not making finals were Angel Martino and Natalie Coughlin.
Brooke Bennett and Diana Munz qualified one-two in the women's 400m free at 4:12.42 and 4:14.43. Fourteen-year-old Kalyn Keller was eighth qualifier at 4:17.24.
Among the non-qualifiers were Julie Varozza and Janelle Atkinson.
Chad Carvin will be in lane 4 tonight in the men's 400m free, off his 3:52.81 prelim swim. It took, 3:55.69 to make finals, with Chris Thompson second (3:54.76) and Tom Dolan third (3:54.95). Youngsters Robert Margalis (3:55.09) and Klete Keller (3:55.26) were fourth and fifth.
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