It’s early morning on day 2 at the 2011 USA Swimming National Championships, and while only those suffering from the worst jetlag are likely the ones to be awake in Palo Alto right now, we’ve already got the heat sheets for the Wednesday morning prelims, and thus can report a few scratches.
The big one is that Ryan Lochte is not swimming the 200 free, the second-straight drop in an event where he’s the World Champion, to focus his favor on the 100 backstroke. After the final day completed in Shanghai, he expressed some mild disappoinment that he was not given a chance in the US men’s relay, which was probably compounded by the fact that he didn’t get to swim finals on the 400 free relay on the first day of competition. As the current best swimmer in the world, it’s hard to believe that he can only be a contributor in one of the three relays, and so he’ll be out to prove something in this 100 backstroke. Lochte will be swimming out of heat 11 as the 3rd overall seed, and will likely meet with Nick Thoman and David Plummer (the USA’s two 100 backstrokers) in the final.
Summation of scratches:
Ryan Lochte (200 free, still in the 100 back)
Katie Hoff (200 free)
Missy Franklin (200 free)
Ariana Kukors (200 free)
Big names still entered:
Nick Thoman/David Plummer/Ryan Lochte/David Nolan/Tom Shields/Matt Grevers (100 back)
Peter Vanderkaay/Dave Walters/Ricky Berens/Conor Dwyer/Tyler Clary/David Nolan (200 free)
Allison Schmitt/Morgan Scroggy/Dagny Knutson (200 free)
Missy Franklin/Elizabeth Beisel/Rachel Bootsma/Liz Pelton (100 back)
Tyler Clary/Mark Dylla (200 fly)
I think that the men’s 100 back is going to be the big story on this day. It will feature David Plummer’s first swim of the meet, where he will likely be in the final, as well as the subplot of Ryan Lochte discussed above. Matt Grevers will also be looking for redemption after missing the World Championship squad altogether last year with a disappointing finish in Nationals.
Other subplots of that race include Auburn’s Kyle Owens, who looked great in 54.20 at the Athens Sectional and could be an upset winner in this race, and Cal’s Tom Shields, who is known for his butterflies but was a surprise NCAA Champion in this event in March.