US Open Prelims, Day 4: Megan Romano on a Roll, Kevin Cordes Displays Breaststroke Dominance

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, August 10. EXPECT electricity tonight at the IU Natatorium. Only two finals session are left at this year's US Open Championships, but the swimmers are just getting warmed up.

Another meet record may fall tonight in the women's 200 freestyle. Chelsea Chenault and Megan Romano both boast best times faster than the 1:58.61 US Open meet record, set in 2009 by Longhorn Samantha Tucker. Although neither woman bettered her time in prelims, Chenault qualified first for finals at a 1:59.30. Romano, the 100 and 200 backstroke champion, will race toinght out of lane seven, clocking a 2:01.45 this morning. Aggie Sarah Henry, last night's 400IM silver medalist, cut some time off her 2:00.24 seed time, posting a 1:59.54 and qualify second for finals. Third tonight goes to Catherine Breed, a member of the Seahawk's winning 800 freestyle relay, with a 2:00.86. Last night's 400IM bronze medalist Rebecca Mann continues with her finals appearances, snagging lane eight with a 2:02.00 morning swim. In a surprise twist, T2 Aquatic's dominant Erika Erndl declared a false start in the 200 freestyle, effectively scratching herself from the event.

400 freestyle winner Michael Klueh, top seed in the 200 free, maintained his position this morning, qualified first at a 1:49.27. Although this is about a second off his 1:48.09 entrance time, Klueh took the race out blazingly fast, splitting a 24.98 at the first 50, over four seconds faster than his come-home split of 29.20, the slowest fourth-50 split among the top eight qualifiers. Michael Wynalda of Michigan qualified second at a 1:49.59, also about a second off his best 1:48.38. Arizona's Matthew Barber shaved off some time, and is third tonight at a 1:50.46. Second-place entrant Robert Hurley of Australia, dropped down to fourth for finals with a 1:50.60, up from his 1:48.28.

200 breaststroke winner Laura Sogar, of the Bluefish Swim Club, goes for a breaststroke sweep tonight, qualifying first in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:08.83 morning swim. Emily McClellan of the J-Hawk Aquatic Club takes lane five at a 1:09.17. Top seed Ellyn Baumgardner added over two seconds (from a 1:07.19) to qualify third for finals at a 1:09.47. Look for a fight tonight from 200 breaststroke silver medalist Andrea Kropp (1:09.51 this morning) out of lane 6.

New 200 breaststroke National Age Group Record holder Kevin Cordes, of Arizona, takes the middle lane in the 100 breaststroke tonight. Although he clocked a 1:01.14 this morning (up from a 1:00.53) he'll look for the win after being out-touched in the 200 breaststroke earlier in the meet. Cordes has some tough competition from Trojan Aquatics teammates Mihail Alexandrov and John Criste in lanes five and three, respectively. Alexandrov is the 100 breaststroke SCM American Record holder, and Criste was the top seed prelims seed (1:00.29). Alexandrov is entered tonight at a 1:01.66, Criste at a 1:01.81.

In the women's 100 backstroke, Bulldog Megan Romano doubles up her finals load by qualifying first at a 1:01.55. 34-year-old Noriko Inada, originally from Japan but representing the Phoenix Swim Club, qualified second at a 1:01.59. British teammates Laruen Quigley (1:01.64) and Jessica Fullalove (1:01.75) qualified third and fourth tonight. Ellen Williamson took over half a second off her time to qualify fifth in tonight's finals, at a 1:01.83

Auburn's Kyle Owens takes lane four tonight in the men's 100 backstroke. He swam a 54.73 in the morning's prelims. Second goes to Australia's Josh Beaver at a 54.82 Eugene Godsoe of SwimMAC, top entrant in the backstroke, will swim from lane three. Godsoe added over a second from his entry time, but still clocked a respectable 54.91. Beaver's Australian teammate Robert Hurley dropped nearly two and a half seconds (from a 57.49) to qualify fourth for finals at a 55.00, and had the fastest second-fifty split (27.81) of the entire men's field.

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

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