U.S. Olympic Trials: Anthony Ervin Draws Cheers With Sub-22 to Lead 50 Free Prelims

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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 30. ANTHONY Ervin, who tied with Gary Hall Jr. for Olympic gold in this event in 2000 before disappearing on a soul-searching retirement, drew massive cheers from the crowd with the only sub-22 in the men's 50 free at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Ervin, who decided to come back to the sport after a lengthy time away, clocked a 21.83 for the leading time in the event this morning. That swim beat what it took him to win Olympic gold in 2000 (21.98), and nearly clipped Hall's Trials record of 21.76 from the 2000 meet. Ervin's lifetime best came just behind that 21.76 in 2000 as Ervin placed second with a 21.80. Not bad for a 31-year-old to nearly trump his lifetime best more than a decade later, and move to sixth in the world this year. Earlier in the week, Ervin placed 13th in the 100 free.

Nathan Adrian, the favorite in the event, qualified second in 22.06 in the same heat as Ervin. He has much more in the tank, as evidenced by his American textile best of 21.55. He took fourth in the splash-and-dash at the 2011 World Championships, and is looking to crack into the individual Olympic hardware column.

Jimmy Feigen, who became the only man to have swum at NCAAs this year to also make the Olympic team as a relay alternate with his fifth-place finish in the 100 free last night, tied with Cullen Jones for third with matching 22.09s. Jones, who made the Olympics in the 100 free with a second-place effort, is looking for another individual swim. Alex Coville (22.19), Josh Schneider (22.21), Matt Grevers (22.24) and Shayne Fleming (22.43) rounded out the top eight. Fleming made the top eight out of a pre-circle seeded heat in heat 13 of 17.

Defending champion Garrett Weber-Gale earned his way into semis as well with a 22.52 for 10th overall.

The Semifinalists:
Anthony Ervin — 21.83
Nathan Adrian — 22.06
Jimmy Feigen — 22.09
Cullen Jones — 22.09
Alex Coville — 22.19
Josh Schneider — 22.21
Matt Grevers — 22.24
Shayne Fleming — 22.43
Joseph Hale — 22.48
Garrett Weber-Gale — 22.52
William Copeland — 22.54
Nick Brunelli — 22.57
Adam Small — 22.63
Jason Schnur — 22.64
Michael Richards — 22.66
Karl Krug — 22.68

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