The 4th day of prelims at the 2011 USA Swimming National Championships didn’t produce a whole lot of big times, but it did set up for some great finals races tonight in Northern California.
Conor Dwyer of the Gator Swim Club (officially representing Lake Forest) took the top seed in the men’s 200 IM in 1:59.34. That time moves him up to 16th in the world this year. Close behind him were a pair of Tucson Ford swimmers in Cory Chitwood (2:00.46) and Clark Burckle (2:00.94), both of which are career-best times. Top-seeded David Nolan continued to be off in this meet, and qualified only 8th in 2:01.91.
In the men’s 100 free, Garrett Wener-Gale marked a 48.91 for the top seed, which is about as good as he swam in Shanghai last week.
National Teamers Scot Robison, Jimmy Feigen, and Ricky Berens all went 49-low-to-mids to make the final, and Matt Grevers just snuck into the final in 10th.
A great B-final race will feature Dax Hill (49.7), Tom Shields (49.8), and Dave Walters (49.8), with Tim Phillips qualifying as well down in 17th. Peter Vanderkaay (50.32) will be the top seed in the C-Final, where he’ll swim with Jason Lezak (50.33) amongst others.
Many of the big-name sprinters ended up scratching the race, including Nathan Adrian, Cullen Jones, and Tyler McGill. List left some great opportunities for some of America’s young sprinters to move up and earn second swims. The youngest swimmer to earn a second-swim is 17-year old Matthew Ellis in 50.36 for the C-Final. Ellis is one of Randy Reese’s charges down at the Clearwater Aquatic Team.
Brett Fraser of the Gator Swim Club had the 2nd-fastest mark, but because he represents the Cayman Islands internationally was ineligible to final.
On the women’s side of the prelims were the always-tough 200 back and 200 fly.
In the butterfly distance, things went about as expected with Kathleen Hersey (2:09.07) and Teresa Crippen (2:09.53), the USA’s two participants from Worlds, taking the top two seeds. Behind them was Lyndsay DePaul of Trojan, in 2:09.67. If she shows the same kind of prelims-finals improvement she did in the 400 IM last night, she could pull off an upset in the finals here.
Absent of Missy Franklin, the women’s 200 backstroke becomes a bit more wide open. Without the 16-year old swimming, however, there were plenty of other young swimmers waiting to really highlight the young talent that the American women have in the backstroke events. The top seed is 17-year old Liz Pelton (2:11.60) followed by another high schooler Bonnie Brandon (2:12.78). In 3rd after the morning prelims was Katie Hoff, one of the few 20-year olds in the A-Final, in 2:12.85. As she continues to demonstrate her great versatility, it’s going to be harder-and-harder for her to ignore the call of the IM’s that she’s moved away from over the past few years.
Elizabeth Beisel, who was 6th at the World Championships, is the 4th-seed here in 2:13.47.
The women’s 800 free and men’s 1500 free prelims are also taking place this morning, but with at least two hours of each to be swum, we’ll post those results later.