FINA WC Day 12 - Preliminary Events Report
Jul 24, 2003 - Nikki Dryden
Aussies Jodie Henry and Lisbeth Lenton swam very relaxed and in control to post the top times in the first seeded heat, 55.37 and 55.44. The next heat got better with Hanna-Maria Seppala (FIN) winning in 54.82. But it was the final heat that was laden with stars. Jenny Thompson (USA), the 100 fly winner, won in 54.83 followed by last night's 200 free winner Alena Popchanka (BLR) in 55.82 and 100 back winner Antje Buschschulte (GER) 55.95.
Natalie Coughlin (USA), still suffering from illness, went 56.98 placing 31st nnd Therese Alshammar (SWE) finished in 56.68 for 27th.
Aaron Peirsol (USA), fresh off his silver winning performance last night in the 4x200 free relay, put in an easy 1:57.28 to qualify for tonight's semi in first place. Matt Welsh (AUS) also won his heat in 1:58.26. After that the field gets tighter, with 8 men under 2 minutes.
Mirna Jukic (AUS) and Amanda Beard (USA) were both just under the 2:28 barrier while the next six swimmers were under 2:29. Agnes Kovacs (HUN) is the defending champ in this event, but she will have to improve in the semis from her 2:29.74, which qualified her in 9th spot.
Ian Thorpe (AUS) just might be regretting his decision to swim the 200 IM. His average swim of 2:02.54 was only 14th, while Michael Phelps (USA) cruised to a very easy looking 1:59.71. In the final 25 metres Phelps was floating along doing catch-up free while the rest of the field tried unsuccessfully to catch him. Tonight Thorpe swims the final of the 100 free before the semi-final of the 200 IM, where he will be in the same semi with Phelps.
Brian Johns (CAN) was 12th with 2:02.37. And will have to do his best ever to have swim in the final.
George Bovell (TRI) had his best swim of the championships so far with his 2:00.94, which qualifies him in 2nd spot ahead of Massimiliano Rosolino (ITA) with a 2:01.24.
Canada's team of Brittany Reimer, Jen Button, Marianne Limpert and Laura Nichols beat Germany in the first heat with an 8:08.85 to 8:09.05. Reimer led out in a personal best of 2:01.54. It turned out to be an important win as Germany finished 9th, Canada 8th.
Spain was the big crowd pleaser, qualifying in third position for tonight's final behind USA and China. Great Britain heads into tonight in 4th after Georgina Lee scratched last night's 200 fly semi-final to prepare for the relay.
Grant Hackett (AUS) cruised to a top spot for tomorrow night's final with a 7:55.15, while his training partner, Kurtis MacGillivary of Canada swam a 7:59.58 to qualify in 4th. "I was pretty comfortable in there, swimming beside Grant," said MacGillivary. "But I will try to see what I can go in the final-try to get under the record again and maybe see who I can take down to get Canada a medal."
Larsen Jensen (USA) won his heat in a 7:59.18 while Graeme Smith (GBR) won heat one in 7:58.66. Stephen Penfold (AUS), the training partner of Hackett and MacGillivary finished 9th after he missed his initial heat. Luckily for him there was an empty lane in the next heat and he was able to swim.