Olympic Day 5 Prelims

By Phillip Whitten and Michael Collins

SYDNEY, September 20.

Women's 100 Free Prelims

Top 16 advance to semi-finals:

1. De Bruijn NED 54.77
2. Torres USA 55.12
3. Thompson USA 55.22
4. Moravcova SVK 55.42
5. Muller RSA 55.45 South African Record
6. Alshammar SWE 55.49
7. Voelker GER 55.54
8. Rolph GER 55.77

9. Minamoto JPN 55.80
10. Van Rijn NED 55.82
11. Joehncke SWE 55.91
12. Ryan AUS 56.05
13. Pickering GBR 56.08
14. Nicholls CAN 56.30
15. Elawani EGY 56.31
16. Popchenko BLR 56.33

With the exception of Germany's Antje Buschschulte, all of the key players in the women's 100 meter freestyle advanced to the semifinals. Buschschulte, who came to Sydney with the world's third fastest time this year (54.39) scratched her race.

Holland's Inge De Bruijn swam the only sub-55 in the prelims, and she looked very relaxed in turning in a 54.77–a time that one year ago would have been her lifetime best. The USA's Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson qualified second and third in 55.12 and 55.22, respectively. Slovakia's Martina Moravcova, who has already won two individual silver medals here, was fourth (55.42), followed by Helen Muller who set a South African record (55.49) and Sweden's Therese Alshammar (55.49), the short course world record-holder. All of these speedsters clearly held back during this first swim.

Men's 200 Back Prelims

Top 16 advance to semi-finals:

1. Krayzelburg USA 1:58.40 Olympic Record
2. Peirsol USA 1:59.10
3. Delaney AUS 1:59.61
4. Welsh AUS 1:59.76
5. Florea ROM 1:59.79
6. Arnarson ISL 1:59.80
7. Merisi ITA 1:59.92
8. Ostaptchouk RUS 2:00.17

9. Kozulj CRO 2:00.19
10. Romero BRA 2:00.48
11. Renaud CAN 2:00.51
12. Strahija CRO 2:00.72
13. Gath ISR 2:00.80
14. Zwering NED 2:00.94
15. Nikolaychuk UKR 2:01.07
16. Costa BRA 2:01.08

Americans Lenny Krayzelburg and Aaron Peirsol advanced to the semis as first and second seeds in comfortable fashion. Lenny even shaved a bit off the Olympic record of 1:58.47 set by Spain's Martin Lopez-Zubero in Barcelona. Australia also advanced two swimmers: Cameron Delaney Delaney and Matt Welsh qualified third and fourth, which should set up some good USA vs. Australia battles in the semis. However, swimmers from other countries–notably Italy's Emanuele Merisi, Croatia's Gordan Kozulj, Israel's Joav Gath and Brazil's Rogerio Romero and Leonardo Costa–should also be in contention in the semis, and quite likely in the finals.

Women's 200 Breast Prelims

Top 16 advance to semi-finals:

1. Kovacs HUN 2:24.92 Olympic Record
2. Kowal USA 2:26.73
3. Qi CHN 2:26.76
4. Bremond FRA 2:27.13
5. Tanaka JPN 2:27.39
6. Caslaru ROM 2:27.59
7. Hildreth AUS 2:27.60
8. Beard USA 2:27.83

9. Poewe RSA 2:27.84
10. Bakaldina RUS 2:28.19
11. Ku KOR 2:28.21
12. Brown AUS 2:28.24
13. Luo CHN 2:28.43
14. Petelski CAN 2:29.11
15. Poleska GER 2:29.15
16. Peczak POL 2:29.45

20. Heyns RSA 2:30.17

The women's 200 breaststroke saw two developments of note: Hungary's Agnes Kovacs set an Olympic record and South Africa's Penny Heyns failed to make it into the semifinals.

Kovacs, the 1998 world champion and European record-holder (2:24.90) pulled away from the other swimmers in heat 5 in the back half of her race to clock 2:24.92, almost two seconds faster than Kristy Kowal, the second fastest qualifier at 2;26.73. Kovacs split 1:11.01 – 1:13.91.

Heyns, who set the current world record of 2:23.64 at this pool a year ago and was the reigning Olympic champion and record-holder (2:25.41) seemed to be cruising along for her first 100 meters, then watched helplessly as she dropped from second to seventh in her heat in the final 100 meters. she wound up in 20th place at 2:30.17.

China's Qi Hui, 15, qualified third while Japan's Masami Tanaka, who boasts the world's fastest time this year and the second fastest time in history (2:24.12) was fifth. The USA's Amanda Beard, swimming next to Kowal, qualified comfortably
in eighth place in 2:27.83. Beard was the silver medalist in this event in Atlanta.

Australia's Caroline Hildredth was seventh (2:27.60) and Rebecca Brown, the former world record-holder, was twelfth (2:28.24), as the nation's top 200 breaststroker, Leisel Jones, watched from the stands.

Men's 200 IM Prelims

Top 16 advance to semi-finals:

1. Rosolino ITA 2:00.92
2. Dolan USA 2:01.55
3. Wouda NED 2:01.89
4. Myden CAN 2:01.95
5. Sievinen FIN 2:02.00
6. Keller GER 2:02.09
7. Wilkens USA 2:02.21
8. Dunn AUS 2:02.44

9. Badita ROM 2:02.48
10. Czene HUN 2:02.66
11. van der Zant AUS 2:02.77
12. Marchand FRA 2:02.86
13. Carrasco ESP 2:02.89
14. Kruppa GER 2:03.08
15. Johns CAN 2:03.12
16. Mika JPN 2:03.33
16. Parkin RSA 2:03.33

Italy's Massi Rosolino continued on a roll, easily qualifying first (2:00.92) in the men's 200 IM. He's already won silver in the 400 free and bronze in the 200–must be something in the pizza! Meanwhile, the USA's two Toms–Dolan and Wilkens–advanced to the semis. Dolan won his heat to qualify second (2:01.55), while Wilkens was seventh fastest (2;02.21).

World record-holder Jani Sievinen of Finland qualified fifth (2:02.00) as defending Olympic champ, Attila Czene of Hungary, was tenth (2:02.66).

Women's 4 x200 Free Relay Prelims

Top 8 advance to finals:

United States 8:01.69
Australia 8:03.26
Romania 8:05.24
Italy 8:06.18
Germany 8:06.52
France 8:07.03
Canada 8:07.12
Great Britain 8:07.41

The USA's Samantha Arsenault, who finished third in the 200 free at the US Olympic Trials, swam a lifetime best by a second to lead off the women's 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay. Her 1:59.38, which would have placed her fourth in the finals of the 200 free last night, almost certainly earned her a spot on the US squad swimming in tonight's final.

The USA, using a "B" team, easily led all qualifiers, clocking 8:01.69. Australia's "B" team clocked 8:03.62 for second, while Romania followed in third.

There is a lot of speculation on who will swim in the finals on the US relay. We figure Coach Richard Quick is likely to go with Arsenault, Jenny Thompson, Dara Torres (though she is suffering from shoulder problems) and either Lindsay Benko or Cristina Teuscher. Teuscher did not swim the 200 at US Trials, but we feel she is being given careful consideration.

USA Splits:
Samantha Arsenault 1:59.38
Julia Stowers 2:01.51
Kim Black 2:01.41
Diana Munz 1:59.39