By Phillip Whitten
COLLEGE PARK, Maryland, August 9. TWO French 17 year-olds led the qualifying in the women's and men's 50m free during prelims of the fifth and final day of the ConocoPhillips US Nationals in College Park, Maryland.
Malia Metella had the fastest women's time, 25.62, with Texas Aquatics' Sarah Wanezek, winner of the 100 free, second in 25.75. No other swimmer cracked 26 seconds.
Tucson Ford's Lacey Nymeyer was third in 26.14 while Maritza Correia, the American record-holder for 50 yards, was fifth in 26.24.
It took 26.36 to make A final, 26.64 to make B. Thirty-five year-old Peggy Gross did the Masters crowd proud with her 26.94, which ranked her 33rd of the 93 competitors.
Alain Bernard, Metella's French National Team teammate, had the fastest men's time this morning, 22.91, two-hundredths ahead of ASU's Bobby Zaabadick. Veteran sprint stars Neil Walker and Sabir Muhammad tied for sixth at 23.14. The A cut-off was 23.19, while it took 23.48 to make the B.
The women's 200 IM prelims ran true to form with Nova's Gabrielle Rose (2:16.85) and Trojan's Kaitlin Sandeno (2:17.26) qualifying one-two. Caroline Bruce was third at 2:18.18.
It took 2:18.99 to make A final, 2:19.76 to make B.
Michael Phelps may well be exhausted. He certainly should be. But he still qualified first in the prelims of the men's 200 IM as he shoots for his fifth naational title here. Phelps leads a star-studded field with his 2:01.51. Tom Wilkens, 2000 Olympic bronze medalist in this event, was second in 2:02.75 followed by Kevin Clements (2:03.46), Dan Trupin (2:03.79) and 400 IM winner Brian Johns (2:04.41).
Cut-offs: 2:05.73 for the A final and 2:06.48 for the B.