INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 25. THE first day of preliminary qualifying featured some stellar outings across the board at the USA Swimming Nationals and World Championships Trials.
While the sprinters and flyers at the top of the events proved to be dangerous, the highlight of the morning came by way of an eighth-place time from Bolles' Caeleb Dressel. Dressel became the first 16-and-under to clear the 50-second barrier in the 100-meter free, downing Joe Hudepohl's legendary 15-16 National Age Group record.
Women's 200 fly
Reigning national champion Cammile Adams of Aggie Swimming crushed the preliminary competition with a scorching time of 2:09.88 to lead the way. That's about a second outside of the top 10 in the world this year, a time Adams is easily going to surpass this evening during finals. Last year at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Adams clocked a blazing time of 2:06.52 to make the Olympic team.
Becca Mann, just 15, out of Clearwater Aquatics rocked a second-seeded time of 2:11.26 as she tracked down Elizabeth Beisel in heat four. That's nearly a lifetime best for Mann, who clocked a 2:10.83 at the Orlando stop of the Arena Grand Prix earlier this year. She's someone to definitely watch out for to make the Barcelona squad just a year after wowing the crowd at 2012 U.S. Trials with multiple finals finishes.
Stanford's Maya Dirado dropped her lifetime best by two seconds with a sterling time of 2:11.37 to qualify third overall. That performance smashed her previous best of 2:13.63 from the Santa Clara stop of the Arena Grand Prix this year. It's been five years since Dirado focused on this event, and she has the chance to make some noise this evening.
Flint's Courtney Weaver qualified fourth in 2:11.38, while PASA's Jasmine Tosky picked up the fifth seed with a time of 2:11.58. Beisel, representing BlueFish, faded to sixth with a 2:11.63 after leading her heat most of the way. She likely shut it down to keep her energy levels up for this evening. Caitlin Leverenz (2:12.20) and Megan Kingsley (2:12.28) rounded out the championship finale all vying for the coveted World Championship roster slots tonight.
Men's 200 fly
The door is wide open as Michael Phelps is currently enjoying retirement after a decade-long reign atop this event within the United States. Stanford's Bobby Bollier, who has been battling with the rest of the country behind Phelps during that time period, could move into that huge void. Bollier led preliminary qualifying this morning with a 1:57.35 out of heat three of four. That time is less than a second outside the world top 10, and is a full two seconds back of Bollier's lifetime best of 1:55.67 from the 2008 U.S. Open. Last year, Bollier clocked a 1:55.79 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, and should make a push for a World Championship roster spot this evening.
North Carolina's Tom Luchsinger raced into second with a time of 1:57.74, less than a second off his lifetime best of 1:57.01 set at the 2011 U.S. National Championships.
Club Wolverine picked up the next two spots with Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary (1:57.88) and Dan Madwed (1:58.16) qualifying third and fourth out of prelims. Clary definitely has plenty in the tank, considering his top non-techsuited time is a 1:54.93 from the 2012 Olympic Games. Madwed, meanwhile, has a top time of 1:56.13 from the techsuited 2009 U.S. Nationals, but also has a 1:56.71 to his credit from the 2011 U.S. Nationals.
California's Tom Shields, still finding his way in long course meters after ending his collegiate career as one of the top short course flyers of all time, qualified fifth in 1:58.34. That's a lifetime best for Shields, clipping his 1:58.75 from last summer's U.S. Olympic Trials.
NCAP's Andrew Seliskar (1:58.35), NBAC's Chase Kalisz (1:58.62) and Michigan's Kyle Whitaker (1:58.76) all made the finale as well. That's Seliskar's first time under 2:00 as he entered the meet with a lifetime best of 2:00.63 from the Charlotte stop of the Arena Grand Prix. Kalisz, meanwhile, broke 1:59 for the first time, bettering his personal best of 1:59.73 from Charlotte as well. Whitaker beat his techsuit best of 1:58.95 from the 2012 U.S. Open.
Women's 100 free
In an absolutely loaded preliminary competition, that featured an Olympian missing the top eight, Athens Bulldog Shannon Vreeland scorched prelims with a blistering time of 54.24. That swim crushed her previous lifetime best of 54.87 from last summer's U.S. Olympic Trials, and put her just on the outside of the top 10 in the world currently anchored by Alicia Coutts' 54.09 from Aussie Nationals.
California's Natalie Coughlin, focusing on the sprint freestyles for the first time in her career, qualified second in 54.34. Her best times are from 2008 when she regularly clocked in at 53-mid, but Coughlin definitely has the potential to put up a scary time tonight under the direction of Dave Durden.
Tucson Ford's Margo Geer, who had a breakout short course season with her first NCAA title here at the IU Natatorium just a few months ago for the University of Arizona, qualified third in 54.39. That's a lifetime best for the Wildcat, besting her 54.62 from 2012 Trials.
Athens Bulldog's Megan Romano qualified fourth in 54.40, just off her lifetime best of 53.92 from 2012 U.S. Open, while superstar Missy Franklin of the Colorado Stars finished fifth in 54.55 and should turn up the heat in finals. Defending champion Jessica Hardy checked in with a sixth-place time of 54.70, while California's Elizabeth Pelton gave the Golden Bears a third representative in the finale with a 54.78 for seventh.
Simone Manuel rounded out the top eight with a time of 54.83, while Olympians Allison Schmitt (54.87), Lia Neal (54.89) and Dana Vollmer (54.96) all broke 55 seconds, but missed out on a chance to make the Worlds roster in the event.
Men's 100 free
California dominated prelims in the men's sprint free this morning as Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin went 1-2 in the qualifying heats. Adrian charted a strong time of 48.54, but will be searching for a 47 tonight having already clocked a fourth-ranked season best of 48.08 at the Santa Clara stop of the Arena Grand Prix. Adrian has the likes of James Magnussen (47.53) and Vlad Morozov (47.93) to gear up for at the World Championships in Barcelona.
Ervin, meanwhile, clocked in with a 48.72 for second in qualifying. That's his first time under 49 seconds since his heyday in the 2000 and 2001 seasons when he posted his top three times of 48.33, 48.89 and 48.98. His lifetime best of 48.33 came at the 2001 World Championships 12 years ago. Ervin's comeback story just gets more incredible with every special performance.
Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers, the gentle giant at 6-8, qualified third in 48.96. He has plenty more potential to fire up a sizzler this evening, as his best non-techsuited time is a 48.53 from 2008 and a 48.55 from the 2012 U.S. Trials.
Longhorn's Ricky Berens keeps on bringing his sprinter speed, as evidenced by his fourth-seeded time of 49.05, while teammate Jimmy Feigen clocked a fifth-place time of 49.15. Olympic superstar Ryan Lochte, fully focused on swimming after his reality television sojourn, qualified sixth in 49.17 while Conor Dwyer snared seventh in 49.30.
In the biggest news of the morning, Bolles' Caeleb Dressel took down a 23-year-old USA Swimming National Age Group record with his blazing eighth-seeded time of 49.63. The 16-year-old pupil of Sergio Lopez downed the 1990 15-16 age group mark of 50.24 set by the legendary Joe Hudepohl to become the first 16-and-under to clear the 50-second barrier. Dressel cut more than a second from his lifetime best of 50.85 from the 2012 Junior Nationals in the process.