USA Nats Day 3-AM: Kevin Steel Sets 50 Breast U.S. Open Mark

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 27. WE are in store for another fantastic morning of preliminary qualifying at the U.S. Nationals and World Championship Trials as day three kicks off.

This morning, finals will be populated by preliminary swimmers in the 400 IM, 100 fly, 50 breast and 50 back events.

We'll be bringing it to you LIVE throughout the day. Hit refresh for the latest coverage.

Women's 400 IM
FINA A Cut: 4:44.53
The reigning Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Beisel will also be looking to defend her national title in the distance medley as she nearly cracked the top 10 in the world this year with a strong preliminary swim.

Beisel raced out to a lead in her heat, and closed out with the top seed in a time of 4:40.17. Beisel is looking for another shot at China's Ye Shiwen in Barcelona, after she watched the world-record holder throw down the fastest freestyle split ever at the 2012 London Olympics.

Beisel's going to have to hold off a resurgent Maya Dirado, who raced into second with a time of 4:40.73. Dirado is currently the top American in the world with a time of 4:39.58 from the Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine earlier this year, which ranks her 10th in the rankings.

California's Caitlin Leverenz can't be counted out. The three-time national long course champion in this event, she put up an easy speed third-ranked time of 4:44.37. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Becca Mann of Clearwater checked in fourth with a time of 4:45.37.

Stanford's Andie Taylor (4:45.67), Athens Bulldogs' Amber McDermott (4:46.97), Trojan's Haley Anderson (4:47.70) and Aggie's Cammile Adams (4:48.94) all earned transfer spots into the championship finale.

Men's 400 IM
FINA A Cut: 4:18.99
The men's distance medley is definitely wide open this year. After years of it being the Phelps/Lochte show, the Greatest of All Time Michael Phelps is retired and Ryan Lochte elected to scratch the event last night. Throw in a Conor Dwyer scratch, and who knows who will represent Team USA in Barcelona.

Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary, however, is the likely winner this evening. He had lived in the Phlochte shadows for years before breaking through in the 200 back last summer. This year, Clary qualified second out of prelims with an easy-speed 4:17.67.

NBAC's Chase Kalisz topped qualifying with a time of 4:16.28. Last summer, Kalisz was tabbed as the future of the 400 IM for Team USA. Well, the future is now. He will be gunning for his sixth-ranked season-best time of 4:11.85 from the Santa Clara stop of the Arena Grand Prix. He'd also like to take down Lochte's 4:11.36 from Santa Clara to be the top American in the world this year.

Wisconsin's Michael Weiss (4:17.85), California's Josh Prenot (4:18.27), Michigan's Kyle Whitaker (4:18.65), Metro's Carlos Omana (4:19.73), Indiana's Stephen Schmuhl (4:20.36) and California's Adam Hinshaw (4;20.41) also earned spots into the championship heat this evening.

Women's 100 fly
FINA A Cut: 58.89
The reigning Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder Dana Vollmer lit up the pool this morning with a fifth-ranked time in the women's 100-meter fly.

Vollmer threw down a top time of 57.75 this morning, coming home in a sizzling time of 30.71. That effort jumped her to fifth in the world, behind fourth-ranked Jeanette Ottesen Gray's 57.63.

2012 Olympian Claire Donahue finished in second with a time of 58.98, as she represents a strong 1-2 combination for Team USA. The 100 fly is one event that looks pretty set, but don't count out the likes of Felicia Lee tonight, who punched the wall in 59.19. Lee has enjoyed a resurgence after shoulder surgery upended her season last fall.

Aggie's Caroline McElhany (59.36) and North Coast's Kendyl Stewart (59.36) tied for fourth to make the finale, while 50-meter fly victor Christine Magnuson is playing with house money as she's already on the Barcelona squad. She clocked in with a sixth-place 59.38 this morning.

T2's Erika Erndl finished seventh in 59.53 at 35 years of age, while California's Rachel Bootsma finished eighth in 59.84.

Men's 100 fly
FINA A Cut: 52.57
Ryan Lochte's focus on what is a new event for him since finishing third last year at Trials may just pay off. This morning, after scratching the 400-meter IM, Lochte put up the top time out of the morning with a 52.08 in his quest to replace Michael Phelps as the top 100 flier donning Stars and Stripes. Lochte's time isjust outside the top 10 in the world anchored by Nikolay Skvortsov's 52.07 from Russian Nationals, and is also Lochte's second best ever behind is 51.65 from Trials last summer.

Stanford's Eugene Godsoe, who already clinched a spot on the Worlds roster with a sizzling 50 fly win last night, raced to second in a 52.13. That's a lifetime best for the Stanford volunteer assistant coach, blasting his previous time of 52.41 from 2011 U.S. Nationals.

SwimMAC's Tim Phillips posted a third-place time of 52.21 this morning, just outside his top time of 52.14, while Machine's Jack Conger drilled a 52.60 to cut half-a-second off his personal best of 53.04 from the 2012 U.S. Open.

California's Tom Shields (52.63), Tucson Ford's Giles Smith (52.72), SwimMAC's Matt Josa (52.76) and NYAC's Tyler McGill (52.90) also earned lanes in the finale.

Women's 50 breast
FINA A Cut: 32.00
A smorgasbord of sprint began with the women's 50-meter breaststroke. As explained several times before, Team USA is running the stroke 50s at a selection meet for the first time with the winner being the only person gaining a spot on the Barcelona roster.

World-record holder Jessica Hardy blitzed the field this morning with a top time of 30.39. That moved Hardy from third in the world to second, behind Ruta Meilutyte's 29.96 and ahead of training partner Yuliya Efimova's 30.56. Definitely look for Hardy to threaten Meilutyte's spot tonight, as well as potentially her world record of 29.80 from 2009.

Aggie's Breeja Larson, who already won the 200 breast last night, sizzled with a second-place time of 30.76 to vault to fifth in the world rankings. Trojan's Kasey Carlson, who can sprint just about anything but especially the breaststroke, qualified third in 31.09.

Tennessee's Molly Hannis, who already stands fourth in the world with a 30.72 from the Charlotte UltraSwim, finished fourth this morning in 31.22.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Megan Jendrick, who is still finding her groove back into the sport after becoming a mother to the ultra-cute Daethan back in 2011, reminded everyone that she's not retired with a fifth-seeded time of 31.35. With her pedigree, she can't be counted out from making the Barcelona squad tonight.

Wisconsin's Ashley Wanland (31.37), NYC's Katie Meili (31.77) and BlueFish's Laura Sogar (31.85) qualified sixth through eighth to make up the rest of the championship finale.

Men's 50 breast
FINA A Cut: 28.00
Everyone was looking for a Tucson Ford Kevin to do big things in the sprint breast this morning, but it wound up being Steel instead of Cordes who clipped the U.S. Open and meet record by the slimmest of margins during preliminary qualifying.

While Cordes has been getting the lion's share of the coverage this week for his world-record rattling in the 200 breast last night, Steel diverted some of that Wildcat spotlight his way this morning with a record-breaking 27.33. That swim clipped Mark Gangloff's U.S. Open mark of 27.34 set back in 2009 here in Indianapolis. Steel also vaulted to fifth in the world, matching the time put up by Damir Dugonjic at The Netherlands Cup.

The record may not remain in Steel's hands for long as Cordes popped his own impressive outing with a 27.39 to move to a seventh-ranked tie with Glenn Snyders of New Zealand. Look for the Tucson Ford training partners to put on a show this evening, potentially making a run at Gangloff's American record of 26.86, or even Cameron van der Burgh's global mark of 26.67.

Trojan's Mike Alexandrov qualified third in 27.80, while Tennessee's Brad Craig finished fourth in 27.93 to wrap up the sub-28s.

Athens Bulldog Nic Fink (28.25), Gangloff (28.33), PASA's BJ Johnson (28.53) and Tucson Ford's Carl Mickelson (28.57) comprised the rest of the championship eight all vying for that coveted Worlds roster spot this evening.

Women's 50 back
FINA A Cut: 28.84
Hayley McGregory's American and U.S. Open record was put on notice this morning as the sprint backstrokers put on a show at the IU Natatorium.

California's Rachel Bootsma, who has been the best 50 backstroker in the nation for several years before expanding her game to include the 100 last summer to make the Olympic squad, threw down a 27.82 this morning. That's just .02 seconds off McGregory's 27.80 from 2008 that still stands as the national mark. Bootsma's swim jumped her to fourth in the world rankings behind only Fu Yuanhui (27.22), Aya Terakawa (27.51) and Liu Xiang (27.76).

Missy Franklin, who has already netted three titles this week, put up a swift 28.15 for the second seed this morning. That's right outside the top 10 in the world.

Longhorn's Sarah Denninghoff put up a 28.31 to place third, while Golden West's Cindy Tran checked in with a fourth-seeded effort of 28.60.

SwimMAC's Kathleen Baker (28.65), Fresno State's Cheyenne Coffman (28.89), North Coast's Kendyl Stewart (29.10) and Michigan's Alex DeLoof (29.11) garnered the other spots in the finale.

Men's 50 back
FINA A Cut: 25.43
Minnetonka's David Plummer nearly wiped out Ben Hesen's U.S. Open record in
the men's 50-meter backstroke event this morning to close out a run of
sprint stroke performances at the IU Natatorium.

Plummer clocked a sizzling 24.80, just .09 seconds off Hesen's U.S. Open
mark of 24.71 from 2008 Trials. He posted the time during a time trial event
in Omaha. Plummer's performance pushed him to a sixth-ranked tie in the
world rankings with Vlad Morozov.

Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers turned in a strong time of his own with a 24.98
to sit just outside the top 10 in the world rankings. Meanwhile,
Schroeder's Adam Mania qualified third in 25.13.

Bolles' Ryan Murphy (25.19) and Penn State's Shane Ryan (25.24) qualified
fourth and fifth, while 50 fly winner Eugene Godsoe could be looking for
another sprint swim in Barcelona with a sixth-place 25.30.

Randall Bal, the 32-year-old American-record holder representing Arden Hills
this meet, remained in play for his pet event with a seventh-seeded time of
25.32. His top time ever is the national record of 24.33 from back in 2008.
Schroeder Y's Mitch Friedemann rounded out the top eight with a 25.61.

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