By John Lohn
OMAHA, Nebraska, July 4. THEY'VE traded some pretty good blows over the years. Ian Crocker won the 2003 world title and defended that crown two years later. Michael Phelps won Olympic gold in 2004, then secured the world championship last year. The next round between the butterfly titans should be another goodie.
Crocker, in search of his third Olympic berth, clocked the fastest time of the preliminary round, going 51.52 in the 14th and final heat. Crocker was the only swimmer during the morning to break the 52-second barrier. He was followed in the No. 2 qualifying position by Phelps, who went 52.21 in the prior heat. Phelps will have the semifinal of the 100 fly tonight following the final of the 200 individual medley.
Gil Stovall, who earlier in the week qualified for Beijing and became the second-fastest performer in the history of the 200 fly, showed that he also possesses some quality speed. Stovall won the first of the circle-seeded heats with a time of 52.26. He was followed in fourth heading into the semifinals by Davis Tarwater (52.32).
Grabbing the next three slots for the evening were Tyler McGill (52.57), Peter Verhoef (52.65) and Ricky Berens (52.68). The semifinals will also include Matt Grevers (52.78), Bobby Bollier (52.80), Kyle Bubolz (52.97), Jayme Cramer (53.11), Matt Marshall (53.13), Randall Tom (53.16), Chris Brady (53.28), Matt Donch (53.42) and Logan Madson (53.49).
Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.