U.S. Olympic Trials: Hyphens Have It; Garrett Weber-Gale Sets American Record in 50 Free, Ben Wildman-Tobriner Takes Second

By John Lohn

OMAHA, Nebraska, July 5. THE finest meet of Garrett Weber-Gale's career continued Saturday night, with the Longhorn Aquatics sprinter becoming the fastest man in American history. The 100 freestyle title already in his pocket, Weber-Gale set a domestic standard in the 50 free when he covered the splash-and-dash in 21.47, under the former American mark of 21.59, set by Cullen Jones in the Trials preliminaries.

Weber-Gale was a force through his lap, edging ahead of Ben Wildman-Tobriner as the men headed into the finish. Next up for Weber-Gale is maintaining his momentum to make a run at a medal in Beijing. Wildman-Tobriner, the reigning world champion, matched his semifinal time of 21.65 and grabbed the second berth to the Olympics.

"When I heard the gun, I just exploded," Weber-Gale said. "I felt good. I never felt rough. I felt clean. It was the best race of my life."

Finishing third was Jones, who couldn't match the time he produced during the prelims. That time, obviously, would have qualified Jones for the 50 free. He is, however, headed to China as a member of the United States 400 freestyle relay. Jones was timed in 21.81, which placed ahead of Gary Hall Jr., clocked in 21.91.

The two-time defending Olympic champion, Hall will not get the chance to become the first man in history to win gold in three consecutive Olympics in the same event. The 33-year-old put forth a strong effort in the bid and was a major factor, a testament to his ability to rise to the occasion at big-time competitions.

"It was a hell of a race and I placed fourth," Hall said. "It's not an effort I'm disappointed with. In fact, I'm proud of it. This is my last race until I race again – 2016. I'll be 41. A seven-year break worked for Dara. It has expanded the horizon of possibilities. I'll keep the Race Club going."

Jason Lezak, bound for Beijing in the 100 freestyle, was fifth in 21.98 and sixth place was occupied by Nathan Adrian (22.07), also a 400 free relay member for Beijing. Tying for seventh place were Nick Brunelli and Bryan Lundquist in 22.13.

Full Results

Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.