Vollmer Wins Women’s 200 Freestyle in Upset

By Duncan Scott

Long Beach, CA, July 10 – DANA Vollmer, Ft. Worth Area Swim Team, age 16, got the win at 1:59.20(pr). The favorite, 27 year old American record holder Lindsay Benko of Trojan, was second at 1:59.29 and said she was “…disappointed in the time, but in this place second is just as good as first.”

Vollmer won the Pan American Games in this event last summer, and the experience was apparently useful in measuring and surpassing Benko this day. Benko (:57.59) and Vollmer (:57.87) had the only two sub-58 second splits, and Benko actually extended her lead on the third fifty to .73 seconds (1:28.25 to 1:28.98). But the pace was telling on Benko as she surprisingly had the slowest final 50 meters in the field at :31.04. She had to show her champion’s grit to hold off an onrushing horde for the second individual qualifying spot. Vollmer was tied for second at the 150 with Kaitlin Sandeno, USC, but Dana closed in :30.22 for the win. Vollmer is having a great meet, having finalled in the 100 butterfly as well.

In this event the top two qualify to swim the individual event in Athens, but the top four finishers are named directly to the U.S. team. Sandeno turned in her third Olympics-worthy performance of the week, finishing third in a pr 1:59.55. She has earned a spot on the roster for winning the 400 freestyle, and her second place in 400 Individual Medley will likely be added via doubles. Sandeno is having a tremendous meet, made all the more impressive by the fact she also qualified for the final in the 200 Individual Medley before scratching to concentrate on the 200 Freestyle, and she still has two events remaining in which she was an Olympic finalist in Sydney. She is already through the preliminaries and semi-final and into the final for the 200 butterfly, where she was sixth Down Under in 2000, and, finally, she has the 800 meter freestyle, an event in which she won the Bronze in Sydney.

The final automatic slot was taken by another teenager, 17 year old Rhi Jeffrey of Florida Atlantic Swim Team. Out in lane eight, she used her patented final 50 sprint (:30.12) to move up from 8th in the semis to fourth place at 1:59.79.

The fifth and sixth place finishers in this event are often added to the Olympic team for relay purposes through doubles – where a person, such as noted above for Sandeno – qualifies for the team in more than one event. Thus, the race for fifth and sixth in this event is often as important to the competitors as the race for the top spots.

Carley Piper, Wisconsin Aquatics, swam steadily throughout, slipping under 2 minutes at 1:59.99 for the fifth spot.

The real drama came in the race for sixth, however, where Rachel Komisarz, Lakeside Swim Team, already on the team for her 100 butterfly win, closed even more quickly than Jeffrey at :29.95, the only sub-30 final leg. In doing so, she slid by Kara Lynn Joyce, Club Wolverine, by .02, 2:00.23 to 2:00.25. While the seventh place finish had to be heartbreaking for Joyce, who was fourth at the 150, her improvement of over two seconds on her seed time has to boost her confidence, as the NCAA sprint champion from Georgia heads into the 50 and 100 freestyles later in the meet.

Fifteen-year-old Kate Dwelley, Terrapins, improved her time significantly each round, even though she had to content herself with eighth place. She has made great strides this week. Hers is a name to remember for 2008.

This event is obviously tied to the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. It is important for the relay to note that though Natalie Coughlin was not in this field, her unshaved 1:58.31 from the Janet Evans Invitational in this same pool a few weeks ago was faster than tonight’s winner.

Official Results:

USA Swimming-National Meets
2004 U. S. Olympic Team Trials – 7/7/2004 to 7/14/2004

Event 11 Women 200 LC Meter Freestyle
World: W 1:56.64 8/3/2002 Franziska van Almsick, GER
American: A 1:57.41 7/24/2003 Lindsay Benko, USA
U.S. Open: O 1:58.02 7/15/2000 Claudia Poll, CRC
Meet: M 1:58.65 3/2/1992 Nicole Haislett, Florida
Oly. Tr. Cut: 2:03.39
Name Age Team Semis Finals
=== Finals ===

1 Vollmer, Dana 16 Fort Worth Area 1:59.87 1:59.20
28.07 57.87 (29.80)
1:28.98 (31.11) 1:59.20 (30.22)
2 Benko, Lindsay 27 Trojan Swim Club 1:59.36 1:59.29
27.88 57.59 (29.71)
1:28.25 (30.66) 1:59.29 (31.04)
3 Sandeno, Kaitlin 21 Usc 1:59.68 1:59.55
28.24 58.16 (29.92)
1:28.98 (30.82) 1:59.55 (30.57)
4 Jeffrey, Rhi 17 Florida Atlantic 2:01.06 1:59.79
28.39 59.20 (30.81)
1:29.67 (30.47) 1:59.79 (30.12)
5 Piper, Carly 20 Wisconsin Aquati 2:00.27 1:59.99
28.42 58.47 (30.05)
1:29.46 (30.99) 1:59.99 (30.53)
6 Komisarz, Rachel 27 Lakeside Swim Te 2:00.84 2:00.23
28.69 59.32 (30.63)
1:30.28 (30.96) 2:00.23 (29.95)
7 Joyce, Kara Lynn 18 Club Wolverine/U 2:00.02 2:00.25
27.99 58.39 (30.40)
1:29.39 (31.00) 2:00.25 (30.86)
8 Dwelley, Kate 15 Terrapins Swim T 2:00.80 2:00.47
28.17 58.65 (30.48)
1:29.91 (31.26) 2:00.47 (30.56)

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