U.S. Olympic Trials: Matt Grevers Scorches Trials Textile Best in 100 Back Prelims; Ryan Lochte Scratches From Semifinals

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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 26. MATT Grevers smoked the Trials textile best in preliminary qualifying of the men's 100 back at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, and looked like he was cruising in the process. It might be Grevers' gigantic frame that makes his effort look so easy, but he seemed to have eased his way through a sterling 52.94.

That performance lowered the previous textile best at Trials of 53.64 clocked by Aaron Peirsol back in 2004 in Long Beach, and nearly lowered Grevers' lifetime best of 52.82. In 2008, Grevers earned his way to an Olympic bid behind the legendary Peirsol, 52.89 to 53.19, in the finals heat here in Omaha. This year, he moved to third in the world behind only Camille Lacourt (52.75) and Ryosuke Irie (52.91) as the only other sub-53 second swimmers.

Ryan Lochte, on the back-end of a double after leading the men's 200 free prelims, qualified second with a 53.92, not far off his personal best of 53.37. Lochte decided to scratch from the semifinals to concentrate on the 200 freestyle semifinal tonight and tomorrow's final.

“He really wants to swim the 100 (backstroke),” said Lochte's coach, Gregg Troy, “and we were kind of happy with this morning. But looking at the program as it goes through the week and looking at the Olympics, where there's going to be even less time (between the 200 freestyle final and the 100 backstroke final), it kind of felt like this isn't not how many we can swim, but how many we can swim really well.”

With selection for the 400 medley relay at the Olympics on the line, Troy said Lochte's inclusion in that relay “depends on what the other guys do.” Olympic Team selection guidelines specify that any swimmer on the Olympic team is eligible to participate in the relays in the Olympics, a policy that helped Michael Phelps swim the 400 free relay at the past two Olympics despite not competing in the 100 free final.

Nick Thoman provided the only other sub-54 second swim of the morning with a 53.96, looking for his first pot on an Olympic roster. Ben Hesen (53.96), Ryan Murphy (54.23), Eugene Godsoe (54.26), Kyle Owens (54.32) and David Plummer (54.38) also made the top eight in a deep field. Murphy, a national age group stud at 16, lowered his lifetime best with a 54.96, which had been the national age group record.

The Semifinalists:
Matt Grevers — 52.94
Ryan Lochte — 53.92
Nick Thoman — 53.96
Ben Hesen — 54.21
Ryan Murphy — 54.23 (lifetime best)
Eugene Godsoe — 54.26
Kyle Owens — 54.32
David Plummer — 54.38
David Russell — 54.48
Kip Darmody — 54.93
Mitchell Friedemann — 55.09 (lifetime best)
Randall Bal — 55.12
Max Murphy — 55.26
Adam Mania — 55.31
Jack Conger — 55.33
Kohlton Norys — 55.49