Soni Qualifies First For Olympic Trials 100m Breast Final
June 30, 2008
USC senior Rebecca Soni took some major steps toward making her first Olympic team, qualifying for the finals of the 100-meter breaststroke with the top time out of semifinals at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials' second day on Monday (June 30) at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
Soni was the only swimmer in the field to go under 1:07 in both her prelim and semifinal swims, going 1:06.87 in the latter stage to qualify as the top seed for Tuesday night's 100m breast final. Soni, who is the top seed in the 200m breast later in the week, swam a 1:06.90 in prelims. Both times were under her personal best 1:06.92.
Qualifying second out of the semifinal heats was Megan Jendrick (formerly Megan Quann), the 2000 Olympic gold medalist in the event, who touched in 1:07.17. Olympian Tara Kirk was third fastest (1:07.19), Annie Chandler was fourth fastest (1:08.06) and Jessica Hardy, who trains with Soni on the Trojan Swim Club, was fifth fastest (1:08.06). Hardy swam a 1:06.85 in prelims, fastest of the day. Olympic veteran Amanda Beard, the American record holder over 200 meters, made the final for the 100 meters as well. Only the top two finishers in each final qualify for the Olympics (not counting the 100m and 200m free, which can take more swimmers for relays).
Like Soni, former Trojan All-American Hayley McGregory qualified first for the final of the 100-meter backstroke in 59.48. She broke Natalie Coughlin's world record with a 59.15 in prelims, only to see Coughlin lower the mark further to 59.03 in the very next heat. Coughlin finished second in the semifinals (59.74) while Margaret Hoelzer was third (59.79).
Former Trojans Klete Keller and Erik Vendt finished sixth (1:46.78) and eighth (1:46.94), respectively, in the semifinal of the 200-meter freestyle to earn a berth in Tueday night's final. Another former Trojan, Larsen Jensen, who won the 400m free on Monday, just missed qualifying for the 200m free final, finishing ninth (1:47.08). The top six finishers Tuesday earn Olympic bids (third through six for relays). Vendt has a pair of Olympic silver medals in the 400m IM and is one of America's all time greats in the 1500m free, but is looking to break new ground for himself by qualifying in the 200m free.
Trojan senior All-American Kristen Lahey was 27th in the 100m back (1:02.77) in prelims, less than half of a second from 16th (the cut off for semifinals).
Fellow senior All-American Katy Houston was 27th in the 100m breast (1:10.68), less than a second out of 16th.