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WILKENS, KARNAUGH LEAD 200 IM PRELIMS -- April 1, 2000


FEDERAL WAY, Washington, April 1. TOM Wilkens, winner of the 400 IM, and Ron Karnaugh, 33, led the way this morning in qualifying heats in the men's 200 meter individual medley at the USA Swimming Spring National Championships.
Wilkens, who stunned the field--and himself--with his 4:13.84 time in the 400 IM two nights ago, qualified first at 2:02.46, followed by Karnaugh at 2:02.71. They were the only swimmers under 2:03 this morning. Tom Dolan qualified sixth in 2:04.46.
The women's individual medley also boasts an interesting match-up among three women. Kristine Quance-Julian, 24, who swam an easy 2:17.49 to qualify second, will be going head-to-head with two teenage Terrapins: top-qualifier Laura Davis, 15, at 2:17.08 and third-qualifier Natalie Coughlin, 17, at 2:18.29. Martina Moravcova qualified fifth and Maddie Crippen seventh.
The women's 50m free features Dara Torres, 32, way out in front with her 25.12, and poised to swim the first sub-25-second 50 meters of her career tonight. Qualifying a distant second was Tammie Stone at 25.79. Two thirty-two year-olds sandwich the final field, with Angel Martino qualifying eighth in 26.19. Interestingly, no American woman under 22 made the final.
Qualifying for the men's 50 free this morning was relatively slow, but the field is very fast. Top qualifier is Neil Walker at 22.48, followed by 1998 world champion Bill Pilczuk, at 22.72. The youngest swimmer in the field, Matt Weghorst, 20, was third (22.73) with Jason Lezak fourth, Sabir Muhammad seventh, and 100 fly winner Zsolt Gaspar eighth.
Gary hall (tied for 14th in 23.23) and Scott Tucker (16th in 23.30) failed to final.