U.S. Olympic Trials: Caitlin Leverenz Dominates 200 IM Prelims

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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 27. WITH two-time defending champion Katie Hoff not swimming the event, and struggling in other events due to food poisoning, the door is wide open for new names to make the field in the women's 200 IM at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Two swimmers who already booked their tickets to London in the 400 IM led the way in the shorter medley this morning. California's Caitlin Leverenz paced the preliminary qualifiers with a 2:12.38, but has a lot left in the tank after charting a third-ranked 2:09.71 earlier in the year. Leverenz is looking to fill the gap left by Katie Hoff and Natalie Coughlin, the top two finishers in 2008, after taking fourth in the meet that year.

Elizabeth Beisel, who won the women's 400 IM on night one, is looking to add a second event to her Olympic schedule with a 2:13.26 to qualify second this morning. Ariana Kukors, the world-record holder with a 2:06.15 at the height of the techsuit era at the 2009 World Championships, is back with a third-seeded time of 2:13.58. She finished a hard-luck third to Hoff and Coughlin in 2008, losing to Coughlin for second by just .08 seconds, 2:10.32 to 2:10.40, and is looking to change that finish this year.

Elizabeth Pelton of T2, who scratched the women's 100 back finals to focus on the 200 IM today, qualified fourth with a 2:13.89, while Maya Dirado raced to fifth in 2:14.19. Whitney Burnett, formerly Myers, remained way under the radar since finishing eighth in the 100 fly in 2008, but bounced back with a big swim this morning to qualify sixth in 2:14.55. Jana Mangimelli (2:14.58) and Celina Li (2:14.74) claimed seventh and eighth. Notre Dame's Emma Reaney had one of the top pre-circle seeded swims of the meet thus far, jumping from a 42nd seed into ninth in qualifying with a swift 2:14.79.

The Semifinalists:
Caitlin Leverenz — 2:12.38
Elizabeth Beisel — 2:13.26
Ariana Kukors — 2:13.58
Elizabeth Pelton — 2:13.89
Maya Dirado — 2:14.19
Whitney Burnett — 2:14.55
Jana Mangimelli — 2:14.58
Celina Li — 2:14.74 (lifetime best)
Emma Reaney — 2:14.79
Andrea Kropp — 2:14.91
Caroline McElhany — 2:15.09
Meghan Hawthorne — 2:15.18 (lifetime best)
Sarah White — 2:15.32
Justine Mueller — 2:15.33
Jasmine Tosky — 2:15.55
Annie Zhu — 2:15.75 (lifetime best)

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