Nationals Prelim Report - Day 1 (8/1/2006)
IRVINE, Calif. – The 2006 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships kicked off Tuesday at the William Woollett Aquatics Center with prelims contested in the women’s 100m butterfly, the men’s 400m freestyle, the women’s 200m individual medley, men’s 100m breaststroke, the women’s 400m freestyle and the men’s 400m individual medley.
The top 24 swimmers from each event will return to swim in tonight’s A, B and C finals. The finals of the men’s 400m free relay will also be contested tonight.
Below are the highlights from each of this morning’s events, along with the top three qualifiers in each. For complete results from the meet, go to our special 2006 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships section. Also, be sure to check out tonight's heat sheets.
Women’s 100m Butterfly
Five-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin leads a really fast field heading into tonight’s finals, qualifying just six-hundredths of a second ahead of fellow Olympian Rachel Komisarz. Komisarz swam this event at the 2004 Olympics in Athens but did not medal. Other 2004 Olympians in this field include Margaret Hoelzer and Dana Vollmer. Vollmer won a gold medal and helped set a world record in Athens with Coughlin in the 800m free relay. Hoelzer, meanwhile, is best known for her prowess in the 200m back. Other swimmers to watch include Mary DeScenza, a butterfly specialist who has represented the United States at a number of international competitions and World Championships, and Elaine Breeden, a one-time member of the National Junior Team.
1. Natalie Coughlin, Cal Aquatics, 58.28
2. Rachel Komisarz, Lakeside Swim Team, 58.34
3. Dana Vollmer, Fort Worth Area Swim Team, 59.49
Men’s 400m Free
Peter Vanderkaay and Klete Keller, both of whom train with Michael Phelps at Club Wolverine, qualified first and third heading into this evening’s finals. Keller is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist in this event (2000 and 2004) and the American record holder. Vanderkaay is coming off a stellar college season in which he broke the American, U.S. Open and NCAA record in the 500-yard free, an event that some consider the short course yards equivalent of the 400m free. Both men swam on the gold medal-winning, American record-setting 800m free relay in Athens. Mission Viejo’s Fran Crippen, a two-time national champion in the 800m free, claimed the second seed. Larsen Jensen, the Olympic silver medalist in the 1500m free, is also in the mix as the sixth seed.
1. Peter Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine, 3:48.88
2. Fran Crippen, Mission Viejo, 3:51.22
3. Klete Keller, Club Wolverine, 3:51.36
Women’s 200m IM
World champion Katie Hoff qualified first, more than two and a half seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Hoff flirted with the U.S. Open record in this morning’s prelims, missing the mark by a little over a second. Up-and-comer Ariana Kukors is seeded second and will swim against her older sister Emily, the seventh seed, in the finals. Ariana is the defending national champion, having won this event in this pool last year. Olympian Kaitlin Sandeno took the sixth seed heading into tonight’s finals and is always a fierce competitor. Whitney Myers, a member of last year’s U.S. World Championships team is seeded third.
1. Katie Hoff, North Baltimore Aquatic Club, 2:12.34
2. Ariana Kukors, King Aquatic Club, 2:15.01
3. Whitney Myers, Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics, 2:15.28
Men’s 100m Breaststroke
World record holder Brendan Hansen holds the top spot after this morning’s prelims, leading the rest of the field by more than a second. His qualifying time of 59.87 is the 10th fastest in history, and Hansen now holds six of the top 10 fastest times in this event. 2004 Olympians Mark Gangloff and Scott Usher round out the top three. Along with Hansen, four swimmers from Longhorn Aquatics will be swimming in tonight’s finals, including last year’s national champion Matte Lowe, Tyler O’Halloran and Christian Schurr.
1. Brendan Hansen, Longhorn Aquatics, 59.87
2. Mark Gangloff, Auburn Aquatics, 1:00.95
3. Scott Usher, Wyoming Aquatics, 1:01.11
Women’s 400m Free
Kate Ziegler swam a personal best 4:07.63 in qualifying first for tonight’s finals. Ziegler, a distance specialist, is the reigning world champion in the long course 800m and 400m free and in the short course 400m free. This event could prove to be the showdown of the night as she goes head-to-head against second seed Katie Hoff. Other swimmers to watch include Adrienne Binder, Hayley Peirsol and Kelsey Ditto, all of whom have competed for the United States at various international competitions. Hayley Peirsol is the sister of three-time Olympic gold medalist Aaron Peirsol and an Orange County native who once swam for meet host Irvine Novaquatics. Kirsten Groome, seeded seventh, recently won a national title at the 5K Open Water Championships.
1. Kate Ziegler, The Fish, 4:07.63
2. Katie Hoff, North Baltimore Aquatic Club, 4:09.82
3. Adrienne Binder, Santa Barbara Swim Club, 4:10.89
Men’s 400m IM
Few surprises in this event, as world record-holder and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps qualified first, more than three seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Erik Vendt, Phelps’ training partner at Club Wolverine and two-time Olympic silver medalist in this event, is seeded third. Seeded second is Ryan Lochte, the Olympic silver medalist behind Phelps in the 200m IM. Fourth seed Robert Margalis has competed for the U.S. in a number of international competitions. Sixth seed Alex Vanderkaay is the brother of Olympic gold medalist Peter Vanderkaay. Peter will be swimming as the top seed in the 400m free tonight.
1. Michael Phelps, Club Wolverine, 4:12.38.
2. Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach Swim Club, 4:15.60
3. Erik Vendt, Club Wolverine, 4:15.72