Short Course World Championships, Day Four Prelims: All Events
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, October 10. The following are notes on the preliminary events of day four of the 7th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships, October 7-11, 2004 in Indianapolis, Indiana:
Women’s 50 Backstroke
Haley Cope (USA) won the 100 backstroke on day two and this morning led all qualifiers at the 50 meter distance with :28.24. The field is tightly bunched, though, with only 0.54 separating Cope from 10th place.
Gao Chang of China was second at :28.31 and Canada’s Erin Gammel third at :28.44. Australia got two girls in the top six with Sophie Edington fifth at :28.53 and Tayliah Zimmer sixth at :28.54.
Eighth was :28.68 and sixteenth was the :29.61 from Elizabeth Wycliffe of Canada. USA’s second swimmer was last night’s 200 winner, Margaret Hoelzer, who was 13th this morning at :29.42.
Men’s 100 Freestyle
Jason Lezak (USA), the long course American record holder at this stroke and distance, was the lead qualifier in this event at :48.39. Lezak showed excellent out speed at :22.80, the only sub-23 split, as eight swimmers recorded times under :49.00.
Lezak did not maintain his margin over the second 50. It was not clear whether that was a reflection of his preparation over the period since Athens or whether he simply backed off as a strategy choice with the semifinal and final yet to come.
Brazil’s good showing in these championships continued with a second place qualifying time for Cesar Cielo at :48.57. Lithuania’s 6’ 11” Rolandas Gimbutis is third with :48.81.
Fred Bousquet (FRA; Auburn) missed the semifinal in the 50 freestyle where he holds the world record but swam :48.94 this morning for the eighth spot in the 100. It took :49.51 for Andrew Mewing (AUS) to get another swim tonight as 16th qualifier.
Women’s 100 Butterfly
The morning glory went to the old timers in this event as four of the top five qualifiers arrived in the decade of the 1970s. Martina Moravcova (SVK) lead all qualifiers at :58.65 with the retiring grand dame Jenny Thompson just behind at :58.68. Rachel Komisarz (USA; :59.55) and Alena Popchanka (BLR; :59.75) were the other “experienced” leaders.
The youngster of the top five was teenager Jessica Schipper (AUS), third at :59.30. She is still in the afterglow of being a part of a world record from last night’s 4 x 100 medley relay. Another Aussie teenager had the only other sub-minute swim. Libby Lenton touched at :59.98
Eighth was Jennifer Button (CAN) with 1:00.30 and 16th spot in the semifinal was earned by Maria Pelaez of Spain with 1:01.94.
Men’s 100 Individual Medley
World record holder Thomas Rupprath of Germany crushed the field early with his superb butterfly-backstroke combination splitting at :23.79, 0.91 seconds ahead of the next best split, on his way to :53.74.
Second was Bulgarian teenager Mihail Alexandrov at :54.65, the same 0.91 margin for Rupprath as at the 50 mark. So Rupprath simply maintained his lead on the back half, right? Not exactly.
It worked out fairly close to that in Rupprath’s heat, with third and fourth overall qualifiers Aleksander Hetland (NOR; :25.30; :54.72) and Qu Jingyu (CHN; :24.70; :54.75) coming back with relatively similar splits to Rupprath. But Alexandrov’s swim showed the wonderful contrast in skill levels in the various strokes which the Individual Medley can sometimes highlight.
Alexandrov was :26.50 at the 50, 2.71 seconds back from Rupprath. You had to go down to 27th place to find a slower first 50 meters.
Alexandrov was in heat number two, next to the USA’s 200 IM silver medal winner Ryan Lochte. Both were seeded at “No Time” and were next to each other by random chance. But it worked out superbly for Alexandrov.
Lochte was out with the third fastest overall split, :24.90. Alexandrov came off the wall like a rocket and got into Lochte’s wake and moved up throughout that leg and had another great turn going into the freestyle, whereas Lochte did not seem to spring off that wall by comparison. Alexandrov strove mightily and held off the 200 freestyle bronze medalist from these championships as Lochte finished at :54.92 to qualify fifth.
The race laid out absolutely perfectly for the Bulgarian, with the value of Lochte on one side already described and, almost as importantly, no waves from the other side as the swimmer there finished 12 seconds back.
It will be tougher for Alexandrov tonight and, presumably, tomorrow . He’ll have the same value of great competition, but he will almost literally have to worry about getting washed out of the pool going into the 50 turn. If he can make it to the podium tomorrow night he will have battled back through typhoons in the semifinal and final. Good luck tonight, Mihail! And tomorrow?
Women’s 50 Freestyle
Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands was the only swimmer under 25 seconds, finishing at :24.98.
It must be something in the water in the land of windmills and wooden shoes that create explosive sprinters. Pieter Von den Hoogenband has consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100 freestyle and is the only man ever under :48 seconds long course. Inge de Bruin wins the 50 freestyle in consecutive Olympics. Now Veldhuis is on course to add further sprinting honor to her country’s legacy, this time short course.
British veteran Alison Sheppard is second at :25.02. She will try to emulate Mark Foster’s performance from last night and give Great Britain a pair of over-30 year old world sprint champions.
Flavia Cazziolato of Brazil was third with :25.05. The Americans were fourth (Kara Lynn Joyce; :25.13) and eighth (Jenny Thompson; :25.37). 16th required :25.60.
There were three very interesting qualifiers in the second eight group that will be seeking to move to the top eight tonight for a chance in tomorrow’s final.
11th Hanna-Maria Seppala (FIN) – 2003 Barcelona world champion at 100 meters
12th Lisbeth Lenton (AUS) – last night won the 100 freestyle and anchored world
record medley relay with the fastest short course 100 of all time.
13th Therese Alshammar (SWE) – she’s just the defending champion and world record
holder at :23.59.
It will sure be more fun to watch some of the outer semifinal lanes than usual!
Women’s 200 Individual Medley
An Australian leads qualifiers for the 200 IM. Brooke Hanson, already a double winner here, is the name you expect, right? Not this time. At least not in the prelims. Lara Carroll moved in front on the breaststroke leg and has the top spot at 2:11.72.
Americans are second and third with Amanda Beard at 2:12.28 from Carroll’s heat and youngster Katie Hoff devouring more and more international experience with 2:12.69.
Hanson, winner of the 50 breaststroke and 100 Individual Medley and part of the world record medley relay, didn’t exactly disappear this morning. She stands 4th at 2:13.60.
It took 2:15.10 from Hanna Scherba of Belarus to make the final.
Olympic 400 medley medalist Georgina Bardach missed the final with 2:15.45 for 9th.
Men’s 50 Breaststroke
Brendan Hansen (USA) took another step toward a triple qualifying at :27.25 for the lead qualifying spot.
Second was Stefan Nystrand (SWE), better known as a sprint freestyler. Nystrand won his heat at :27.38.
In an unusual circumstance, the third and fourth qualifiers were side by side in the last non-circle seeded heat.
These were not swimmers entered with “No Time” in the first heat that should have been seeded higher if their true skill was reflected in their entry time. Instead, Haibo Wang (CHN; :27.47) and Mihail Alexandrov (BUL; :27.57) inspired each other to drop from :29.18 and :29.13, respectively.
You may recall that this is the second time today Alexandrov has captured lightning in a bottle, as he is second qualifier in the 100 Individual Medley an event he did enter with “No Time.”
Mark Warnecke, the 34 year old German physician, set the bar for 8th position with a :27.80, and 16th was :28.27.
Women’s 4 x 100 Freestyle.
The USA and Australia again qualified 1-2, just as they did in the medley relay.
Amanda Weir :54.12
Maritza Correia :55.02
Dana Volmer :54.32
Lindsay Benko :54.30
Louise Tomlinson :55.72
Sophie Edington :55.05
Danni Miatke :54.40
Melanie Houghton :56.50
This time, however, don’t expect the Aussies to substitute the powerhouse line-up for the final they did yesterday. They have the jewel to move up, Libby Lenton, but not the rest of a supporting crew that would be required to challenge the Americans this time.
The USA will have Kara Lynn Joyce and Jenny Thompson available to move up if the coaches make those choices, but China’s 3:34.55 world mark is a much tougher standard than was Sweden’s medley mark surpassed last night by Australia and the USA. It may be reached with a superior balanced effort, but we will not express the expectation that it will fall, as we did for the medley.
South Africa got the last spot in the final with a 3:50.31.
Other than the Americans and Aussies, the fastest leadoff came from Flavia Neto de Jesus of Brazil at :55.87 and the fastest rolling start split came from Zhu Yingwen (CHN) at :55.34.
— D. Scott