INDIANAPOLIS, IN, October 8. LIBBY Lenton (AUS) used her superior skill off the start and walls to easily lead qualifiers for tomorrows final at :53.53.
Lenton appeared to be swimming very comfortably, with complete control over the race after the initial breakout. Even with one of the slowest start reaction time in the field (0.85), her :25.38 lead her heat at the 50 mark by nearly ¾ second, a huge margin at this level of competition. She won semi-final #1 by over a second, with Hanna-Maria Seppala (FIN), 2003 Barcelona long course champion in the event, second at :54.71.
Semi-final #2 was a much more competitive affair, with Marleen Veldhuis (NED) touching out Josefin Lillhage (SWE), :54.05 to :54.12. Veldhuis had a big early lead, joining Lenton with the only sub-26 second split at :25.91. Lillhage, who starred on Sweden’s 4 x 200 freestyle with a 1:55+ split, closed well on the back half and should be in the mix for a medal.
There were four sub-55 second performances in each heat, with :54.92 required for another swim. Americans Kara Lynn Joyce and Lindsay Benko were :54.51 and :54.76, respectively, putting them 4th and 6th in the final.
– D. Scott