U.S. Olympic Trials: John Criste Surprises, Leads 100 Breast Prelims

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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 25. WITH Brendan Hansen the favorite heading into the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the men's 100 breast, Trojan's John Criste clipped him for the top seed heading into semis.

Criste clocked a 1:00.29 out of heat 14, just ahead of Hansen's 1:00.30 from the final of 15 heats. Criste cut a second off his lifetime best of 1:01.30, and will be looking to better his eighth-place finish in the 100 breast at the 2008 Trials. His swim this morning pushed him to 10th in the world so far this year, ahead of a 1:00.38 from Henrique Barbosa of Brazil.

Hansen, meanwhile, is just looking to get into finals and join Gary Hall Jr., and potentially Michael Phelps depending on the men's 400 IM finish, as the only men to threepeat a title at Trials. Hansen won the 100 at both the 2004 (59.30) and 2008 (59.93) meets, both ahead of Mark Gangloff. Gangloff, incidentally, turned in the third-seeded time of the morning with a 1:00.43 and will be looking for his third Olympic berth.

Scott Weltz of the Marin Pirates finished fourth with a lifetime best of 1:00.48, smashing his 1:01.65, while Kevin Cordes earned sixth in 1:00.83, also a lifetime best. Veterans Eric Shanteau (1:00.87) and Mike Alexandrov (1:01.03) qualified seventh and eighth out of prelims.

Notably, GPAC's Brendan McHugh stormed out of the pre-circle seeded heats to make the semifinals with a top time of 1:01.30, tying with Marcus Titus. Titus, a deaf swimmer, successfully lobbied USA Swimming to use hand signals at this meet after the organization initially planned to strictly follow FINA's guidelines which do not require hand signals at the start.

Meanwhile, Ed Moses, the 2000 Trials winner with a 1:00.44, missed out on semis with a 21st-place time of 1:02.02.

The Semifinalists:
John Criste — 1:00.29 (lifetime best)
Brendan Hansen — 1:00.30
Mark Gangloff — 1:00.43
Scott Weltz — 1:00.48 (lifetime best)
Kevin Cordes — 1:00.83 (lifetime best)
Eric Shanteau — 1:00.87
Mike Alexandrov — 1:01.03
Clark Burckle — 1:01.23 (lifetime best)
Brendan McHugh — 1:01.30
Marcus Titus — 1:01.30
Adam Ritter — 1:01.36 (lifetime best)
Elliott Keefer — 1:01.41 (lifetime best)
Nicolas Fink — 1:01.53 (lifetime best)
Kevin Swander — 1:01.56
Eric Friedland — 1:01.60
BJ Johnson — 1:01.80 (lifetime best)