US Olympic Trials, Omaha, Day 4 Finals:
Women's 200m freestyle
Allison Schmitt is the best we have ever seen over 200m freestyle, a 1:54.40 world textile record throwing the gauntlet back at the feet of Camille Muffat (FRA) and world champion Federica Pellegrini (ITA).
At the first turn, coach Bob Bowman's Baltimore charge, flipped over in 27.01, 0.33sec under world record pace. Great excitement - and it grew to fever pitch at 100m, when the pace-setter, on 55.61, remained 0.01sec inside the pace of Pellegrini at the half-way stage. That's when the suit took on new meaning back in Rome 2009 - and by the last turn, Schmitt, a second Olympic race in London and victory in Omaha in the bag, split 1:24.89, 0.51sec over the Italian's pace on her way to victory 0.26sec inside the textile best that had been established by Muffat in Canet earlier this month. The second US berth went to Missy Franklin in 1:56.79, good enough for a second solo swim in Britain for the 17-year-old multi-eventer. The lights are trained on Schmitt, however, after a pioneering performance
The splits compared (italics note shiny suit era):
Asked about the time on the board, Schmitt, who took down the American record set at the Rome 2009 world titles, said: "I was very excited, especially when I saw the flames … I saw the flames (the firework-like flamethrowers that explode into life at the end of races) before the time. I hope I wasn't just imagining it."
Franklin honed in on the 4x200m relay, saying that racing in a quartet "means the world to me … its so special".
Named for the 4x200m relay were Dana Vollmer, third in 1:57.47, and Lauren Purdue, on 1:57.75, with Shannon Vreeland, on 1:57.90, the first among others who may be granted an Olympic back-up berth.
Men's 100m freestyle
Nathan Adrian took first 100m free semi in 48.33, off 22.64 at the 50m, with Jimmy Feigen second in 48.48 and Garrett Weber-Gale also cracking 49. Matt Grevers, still steaming from a world-leading 52.08 blast in the 100m backstroke here at trials, had the edge in the second semi, on 48.71, off 22.94 at the 50m. In his wake came Ricky Berens on 48.85, Ryan Lochte on 48.91, with Cullen Jones last into the final on 49.03. That meant no place for Jason Lezak, hero of the Beijing 2008 4x100m free relay, 0.02sec shy of target in 9th - nor will there be another 100m swim for 2001 world champion Antony Irvine, in 13th on 49.46.
But hold on: Grevers and Lochte scratched. So Lezak lives to fight another day, as does David Walters. Lezak was the man who kept alive Phelps' bid for eight gold medals in Beijing with a 46.06 homecoming 4x100m free leg that swept the US past 100m solo champion Alain Bernard and France.
"He better owe me something," Lochte joked when asked about throwing Lezak a lifeline. Nice pair of flashy shoes perhaps.
Women's 200m butterfly
Cammile Adams led the way in the first semi on 2:08.07, ahead of Teresa Crippen, on 2:09.59, before Kathleen Hersey split the difference in the second semi, on 2:08.61.
Men's 200m breaststroke
After Scott Weltz set the pace at 2:10.99 in the first semi, Clark Burckle led the second line-up on 2:10.01 to keep at bay Eric Shanteau, on 2:10.14, and Brendan Hanson, on 2:10.45. A boiling battle in prospect.