By John Lohn
LONG BEACH, Calif., July 12. THE rivalry between Jason Lezak and Gary Hall Jr. will be rekindled tomorrow night, when the sprint-freestyle aces go head-to-head in the championship heat of the 50-meter freestyle.
Lezak, swimming in the first of two semifinal heats, dipped under the 22-second mark, going 21.98. That effort equalled the world's fastest time of 2004 and was easily ahead of Sabir Muhammad, who checked in with a time of 22.20. Lezak won the 100 free earlier in the competition.
Hall won the second semifinal in 22.12, and headed a heat that qualified six athletes for the final, including Ryan Wochomurka (22.36). Also advancing to the championship race were Nick Brunelli (22.50), Dan Gallagher (22.51), Benjamin Wildman-Tobriner (22.59) and Aaron Ciarla (22.60).
PREDICTION: Lezak and Hall blow away the field and bring their rivalry to Athens.