ATLANTA, Georgia, December 3. THE final day of preliminary competition is in the books at the USA Swimming Winter Nationals being held in Atlanta, Ga.
Women's 200 back
Just a day after winning the 100 back and nearly claiming the 200 free, Missy Franklin returned with the top seed in the distance dorsal when she clocked a 2:10.14. Franklin should have more to offer this evening, as she owns the top time in the world with a 2:05.10 and already set the short course world record with a 2:00.03 during the FINA World Cup in October.
T2's Elizabeth Pelton, who ranks 16th in the world with a 2:08.99 from the Pan American Games, qualified second in 2:10.89 and will be Franklin's primary challenger. Sinead Russell, 14th-ranked, qualified third in 2:11.29, while Hilary Caldwell took fourth in prelims with a 2:12.45.
Elizabeth Beisel (2:13.09), Jillian Vitarius (2:13.41), Julia Smit (2:13.71), Julia Wilkinson (2:14.15), Madison White (2:14.25) and Barbara Jardin (2:14.38) also made the championship heat.
Men's 200 back
FAST's Tyler Clary and Indiana's Eric Ress look to be in a shootout tonight as both cleared 2:00 with a 1:59.89 and 1:59.90. Clary is ranked third in the world with a 1:54.69 from Worlds this summer, while Ress it outside of the top 25 after focusing on his sports citizenship issues for the bulk of the year. Ress has decided to take the year off competing for Indiana University collegiately, and will focus on making the French Olympic Team in March.
Nick Thoman (2:00.39), Matt Grevers (2:00.94), Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (2:00.96), Jacob Pebley (2:01.06), Pedro Oliveira (2:01.21), Tobias Oriwol (2:01.48), Matt Thompson (2:01.89) and Jack Conger (2:01.98) also picked up spots in the championship finale.
Women's 100 free
Dana Vollmer is looking for her second triumph of the meet after winning the 100 fly last night. Vollmer qualified first in 55.09. Trojan's Jessica Hardy, the 50 free victor, posted a 55.29 for the second seed and will shoot for a sprint free sweep this evening. Missy Franklin, meanwhile, checked in with a third-seeded 55.33 as her schedule steps up tonight after a 200 free/100 back double last night.
Erika Erndl (55.40), Lia Neal (55.42), Kara Lynn Joyce (55.46), Sandrine Mainville (55.67), Victoria Poon (55.76), Hannah Wilson (55.85) and Chantal Vanlandeghem (55.86) also will vie for the national title this evening.
Men's 100 free
Trojan's Ricky Berens demonstrated some sprinter speed with a 49.12 for the top seed, while Tucson Ford's Darian Townsend touched second in 49.26. Both should crack the top 25 tonight with Matthew Abood currently owning 25th with a 48.69. California's Nathan Adrian (49.35) and France's Yannick Agnel (49.42) finished third and fourth.
Cullen Jones (49.64), Garrett Weber-Gale (49.85), David Walters (49.85), Clement Lefert (49.97), Roland Schoeman (49.99) and Richard Hortness (50.00) rounded out the rest of the finale field. Ryan Lochte's meet came to an end with a 41st-place 51.17 in the morning.
Women's 200 breast
Rebecca Soni will have some company tonight in the distance breaststroke event as Tucson Ford's Amanda Beard topped qualifying with a 2:27.24. Soni, who owns the top time in the world this year with a 2:21.03 from Worlds, cruised into the second seed with a 2:27.30. Gissele Kohoyda also went 2:27 with a third-seeded 2:27.31.
Andrea Kropp (2:28.23), Martha McCabe (2:28.62), Micah Lawrence (2:28.74), Yuliya Efimova (2:29.85), Hanna Pierse (2:30.33), Katy Freeman (2:30.46) and Tera Van Beilen (2:30.68) qualified fourth through 10th to set up the championship heat.
Men's 200 breast
The men's distance breaststroke finale is loaded with some star-studded names. While SwimMAC's Elliot Keefer earned the top seed with a 2:13.12, some big names like Trojan's Eric Shanteau (2:13.92), Japan's Kosuke Kitajima (2:14.16), Longhorn's Brendan Hansen (2:14.32) and FAST's Ed Moses (2:14.70) all made their way into the championship heat. The excitement for the finale should be palpable when these guys take to the blocks.
Meanwhile, Carlos Almeida (2:14.43), Jack Brown (2:14.64), Clark Burckle (2:14.76), Mike Brown (2:14.86) and Mike Alexandrov (2:15.17) all earned spots in the championship heat as well.
Women's 200 fly
Longhorn's Kathleen Hersey, who ranks 10th in the world with a 2:06.89 from the Santa Clara meet in June, topped qualifying with a 2:09.84. Jasmine Tosky, the Swimming World Female High School Co-Swimmer of the Year, has her best chance at podium success tonight after clocking a second-seeded 2:10.58. Elaine Breeden (2:11.79) and Kim Vandenburg (2:12.11) finished third and fourth in the event.
Katherine Mills (2:12.69), Teresa Crippen (2:12.79), Lyndsay De Paul (2:13.07), Alex Forrester (2:13.10), Audrey Lacroix (2:13.64) and Amanda Nugent (2:13.80) also made the finale.
Men's 200 fly
Sebastian Rousseau closed out the final preliminary qualifying session of the meet in a big way, nearly cracking the top 25 with a 1:56.81 in the men's 200 fly. Joe Roebuck and Joe Schooling hold the 25th spot with matching 1:56.67s already this year. Anestis Arampatzis touched second in 1:59.31, while Tyler Clary qualified third in 1:59.36.
Alex Coci (2:00.03), Pedro Oliveira (2:00.09), Stefan Hirniak (2:00.58), Tom Kremer (2:00.68), Justin Kermack (2:01.21), Zack Chetrat (2:01.42) and Corey Okubo (2:01.64) collected the rest of the A final spots with seven of the 10 spots going to internationals.