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FINA WC Day 14 - Preliminary Events Report

Jul 26, 2003  - Nikki Dryden

Barcelona - Three stroke 50's and a 1500 free made for a somewhat uneventful morning. But then again, can anything top last night?

50 Breast Prelims-Women

World record holder Zoe Baker (GBR) qualified well ahead of the field with a 31.10, although Brooke Hanson (AUS) had a great swim of 31.24. Hanson was all smiles after the race and her stroke looked a lot more powerful and in control than Baker's. Defending world champ Xuejuan Luo (CHN), Kristy Kowal (USA), and Tara Kirk (USA) and Rhiannon Leier (CAN) all had top 8 swims.

50 Back Prelims-Men

Defending champ Thomas Rupprath (GER) got off to a great start this morning, qualifying in first with a new Championship record of 25.19. Of course Championship records in the 50s of stroke are not too hard-they've only been held once before.

Spain's David Ortega won his heat to a rousing cheer and qualified 5th. Steffen Driesen (GER), Randall Bal (USA), Matt Welsh (AUS), and Aaron Peirsol (USA) were the other top qualifiers.

50 Free Prelims-Women

Alison Sheppard (GBR) won the 2nd seeded heat in 25.16 to qualify first ahead of Inge de Bruijn (NED) and Jenny Thompson (USA) who raced head to head for the first time in the meet. Thompson touched in 25.27, 1/100th behind de Bruijn. Alice Mills (AUS), who finished her 200 IM with a sub 30 second 50 free (that's a sub 30-second swim from a push at the end of a 200IM!) qualified in fourth spot with a 25.32.

1500 Free Prelims-Men

In what is already having adverse effects, the powers that be continually design today's swimming competitions to advantage the sprinters. The ramification this morning is that the male distance swimmers had to swim the 800 free last night and be up and ready to swim the heats of the 1500 this morning. The meet is 8 days long, but they put the 1500, 15 hours after the 800. Perhaps in two year they'll try to organize it so Grant Hackett has the 400 the day before too.

That said, Grant Hackett (AUS) is so good he could do the 400, 800, and 1500 in three days, so he was able to push through to the final with ease. But for the guys who have a real battle for a spot in the final, its much harder. In fact, Hackett had to lift his head up off the 500 wall to check his split in order to ensure his easy speed wasn't too easy. He won in 15:08.79.

Erik Vendt swam a well paced race winning the first heat in 15:13.41 to David Davies' (GBR) 15:13.93. In heat 2, Graeme Smith (GBR) won in 15:12.74 to Larsen Jensen's (USA) 15:15.63.

Canada's Kurtis MacGillivary was 9th in 15:17.02, a two second drop off his best from earlier this summer, and Andrew Hurd was 15th in 15:22.92.

Canada's 4x100 medley women's team was disqualied as flyer Jennifer Button left early.