PHOENIX, Arizona, April 26. AUSTRALIAN swimming made some big statements earlier today in the first day of competition at nationals in Adelaide. Bronte Barratt had one of the best swims of the first finals session, posting a lifetime best 4:03.52 in the 400 free that puts her at the top of the world rankings for 2013. It's also about a tenth off Kylie Palmer's national record, which Barratt might need to eclipse if she is to contend for gold at the world championships. Palmer made the world championship as well in the event with a 4:06.00.
In the men's 400 free, David McKeon made some major strides with a 3:43.71, putting himself second in the world and third all-time in Australia behind Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett. For comparison's sake, that time would have placed third at last year's Olympics.
Alicia Coutts had two tough semifinal races, qualifying first in the 100 fly semis and second in the 200 IM behind Emily Seebohm, who is looking for redemption after missing the Olympic team in that event last year. Another outstanding swim came from Olympic silver medalist Christian Sprenger, who swam a 59.05 in the 100 breast semis, cementing his place at the top of the world list. We'll see if Sprenger can become the only man under 59 so far this season in tomorrow's final.
We saw a couple of great races yesterday in Rio de Janeiro at the Maria Lenk Trophy meet, especially in the men's 100 breaststroke. Felipe Lima and Joao Gomes went head to head in the final, with both qualifying for worlds. But it was Gomes who got the win, 1:00.21 to 1:00.23. And Leonardo de Deus beat national record holder Kaio Almeida in the 200 fly with a 1:56.85. Today's racing includes the men's 50 fly, and Cesar Cielo is skipping the race in which he is the reigning world champion to focus on sprint freestyle and continue to recover from knee surgery. That leaves the championship wide open for tonight's final. The same goes for the men's 200 IM, which will not feature Olympic finalist Thiago Pereira. It's not known why Pereira scratched this race, and we hope to learn more as the meet progresses.
Editor's note: Cielo and Pereira competed in their respective events today. Results from preliminary competition were not complete online at the time of tapinig. We apologize for the error.
Germany's nationals is heating up today, and the men's 400 free was sorely missing Paul Biedermann, who is sitting out the meet. Clemens Rapp won the race in 3:50.24, just missing the automatic world championship qualifying time. Biedermann was third in the 400 free in the 2011 worlds, and now it appears Germany might not have an entry in the 400 free this summer. Markus Deibler and his brother Steffen both won events tonight, with Markus taking the 200 IM in 1:58.15 and Steffen winning the 50 fly with a 23.35. That puts the Deibler brothers in the top five in those events for 2013.
Tomorrow is a big day for USA Swimming. At 4 p.m. Mountain time the board of directors will announce the city that will host the 2016 Olympic Trials in a live webcast. This is the first time USA Swimming has announced the host city in such a way, and the bid organizers from Omaha, St. Louis and San Antonio will be watching intently to see which one gets the lucky job.
Also taking place tomorrow is the third annual Fran Crippen Mile in Miramar, Florida. The event has drawn swimmers of all ages, from as young as 9 to as old as 67. Proceeds from the event go to the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation, which works to help athletes pursue their passion, and continues to push for safety in open water swimming.