With Dana Vollmer making the world's fastest time look routine, all eyes were on the second spot in the 100 fly. A quick poll of my seating section favored Claire Donahue. Still, we were frozen- could Donahue dispatch a grizzled veteran like Natalie Coughlin? In fact she could, swimming her own race. She went out with reckless abandon, overcame shaky timing on her turn and never looked back.
Conversely, a lack of aggression put Peter Vanderkaay out of the running for the 4x200 relay. In his place were swimmers like Davis Tarwater, who secured a spot in the final on the strength of a 51.93 front half.
The one swimmer tonight who could afford to swim from behind was Rebecca Soni. Despite a start and pullouts that are at best average for this level she more than makes up for it in sheer dominance on top of the water. Her stroke and tactics defy modeling- they work just finenfornher and your results may vary.
In the men's final, Kevin Cordes gambled with a 27.8 opener. While it didn't pay off in the form of a spot in London, he made his presence known in a field of veterans and reinforced that he may just be a year or two away from seizing the crown.
Allison Schmitt had the swim of the night, breathing life into one of the potentially "weak" events on Team USA with blistering first half. While the world record was never seriously in doubt (much like the longtime Evans standard, it was set on the back half), the race nevertheless electrified the crowd.
The night came in like a lion. While it didn't quite leave a lamb thanks to Bootsma and Franklin, it ended with the typical gamesmanship of semi final heats. Both back strokes await a final where the lessons of night two will be unavoidable.
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