Last one, fast one! Stories from this morning and picks for tonight…
1) Three women of top ten in 200 IM DQ’ed
Three of the top finishers this morning, including likely favorite Maya Dirado, were disqualified in the women’s 200 IM. Felicia Lee, who finished in 2:15.40 and would have been 9th, and teenager Kathleen Baker of SwimMAC Carolina, who touched in 2:15.53 (also good for 9th, assuming Lee and Dirado were both DQ’ed), both were nabbed for illegal back-to-breast turns, while Dirado was called for a dolphin kick in her breaststroke.
The Dirado DQ is particularly noteworthy, as that, combined with the scratch from Elizabeth Pelton, opens up the door in a big way for Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz. Despite being the defending Olympic bronze medalist and top seed by 3+ seconds, Leverenz has been struggling this week, and it looked like she could have been on the outside looking in. With her two biggest competitors out of the race tonight, she should be safe in holding down a top-two position.
2) No speed in the women’s 50…
This morning’s 50 freestyle was a stark contrast from what we saw in the 100 free earlier in the week, where there four swimmers under 54 seconds and five others under 54.7. The front half speed just wasn’t there in prelims; no American women were under 25 seconds this morning in the 50.
3) Loaded men’s 50 field… Can Cullen break up the Cal party?
While the women left much to be desired, we could very easily see five guys break the 22-second barrier in the men’s 50 tonight. The favorites coming into the final have to be Cal teammates Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian, as both demonstrated extraordinary speed going out in the 100 (particularly Ervin), but look for Jimmy Feigen–who had a lifetime best in the 100–to make a late move on the field. Also… will Cullen Jones be left out to dry after having the best year of his career in 2012?
FINALS PICKS (in order of finish)
Women’s 1500 free: Ledecky, Sutton
Women’s 200 IM: Leverenz, Beisel
Men’s 200 IM: Lochte, Dwyer
Women’s 50 free: Coughlin, Hardy
Men’s 50 free: Ervin, Adrian
Men’s 800 free: Jaeger, McBroom