U.S. Open Championships, Prelims Day Three: International Presence is Felt

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, August 9. IT was a quick morning at the IU Natatorium. The US Open prelims session contained only two races: the notoriously grueling 400 individual medley, and the 100 butterfly.

The women's 400 Individual Medley was off to a slow start, and no personal bests were recorded among the top-eight finals qualifiers. The ladies were swimming for finals standing; with the average top-eight finisher adding about four seconds. The top qualifying spot went to Meghan Hawthorne of the Rattlers Swim Club, at a 4:43.81. Sarah Henry of the Aggie Swim Club (4:44.80) takes lane five, and Allysa Vavra (4:46.24) will swim out of lane three. Rebecca Mann, last night's bronze medalist in the 400 freestyle, qualified fourth for finals, at a 4:46.52. A surprise came when Great Britain's Sophie Smith, entered with the seventh-fastest seed time (4:44.41), was disqualified in prelims.

Great Britain's Matthew Johnson is the men's 400IM top qualifier, finishing prelims at a 4:20.50. His final time is up four seconds from his 4:16.43 entrance time. Stephen Schmuhl of Indiana took a second off his entry time (4:21.78) to qualify second for finals at a 4:20.77. Third tonight goes to Schmuhl's teammate Samuel Trahin with a 4:21.17, who also shaved some time off his seed time (4:22.90). Look out for Wisconsin's Michael Weiss out in lane 7 tonight, who touched this morning at a 4:23.42, but was seeded first this morning at a 4:16.31. Fourth-place qualifying Adam Hinshaw of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics may also make a run for the win, touching this mornings at 4:21.22, but was seeded at a 4:18.95.

In the women's 100 butterfly, T2 Aquatics' Erika Erndl, already the 100 freestyle silver medalist, takes lane four tonight at a 59.48. Qualifying second is Auburn's Olivia Scott at a 59.95. Scott added about a second this morning, up from a 58.94. The last woman seeded under a minute in finals is Kelsey Floyd, who qualified third with a 59.97, but added over a second and a half from her seed time. Merritt Krawczyk shaved a few tenths from her seed time to crack the top eight, qualifying seventh with a 1:00.54. Lyndsay De Paul of the Nadadores qualified for a tough double tonight when she squeaked into the 400IM top eight (4:50.31), and qualified fourth in the 100 fly at a 1:00.38.

The men's 100 butterfly is exceptionally diverse: five out of the eight finalists are international swimmers. The top spot goes to Australia's Kenneth To, silver medalist in the 100 freestyle on the first night of finals. To took a few tenths off his time, cracking 53 seconds for the first time with a 52.96. Minnesota's Kyler Van Swol, at a 53.03, is second going into finals. Nico van Duijn of Switzerland also lowered his seed time to swim, touching the wall at 53.22, and earning lane three in finals. Watch out for Arizona's Giles Smith tonight; although he added time this morning (53.53), his 52.50 entry time was seeded third this morning behind SwimMAC's Eugene Godsoe (52.41) and Great Britain's Jack Marriott (52.49). Godsoe and Marriott both failed to make top eight this morning.

Check out more of Peter Bick's photos from the US Open Championships Photo Gallery, like the one below:

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