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U.S. dominates heats at Pan Pac swim meet

Posted: August 20, 2010 1:07 p.m.
Updated: August 20, 2010 1:07 p.m.
 

Irvine, Calif. - Michael Phelps has qualified fastest in the 100-meter butterfly heats at the Pan Pacific championships.

The American finished in 51.48 seconds on Friday, ahead of his teammate Tyler McGill, who touched in 51.69. Geoff Huegill of Australia, making a comeback at age 31, was fourth fastest.

Phelps is seeking his third gold of the meet in the evening final. He won the 200 butterfly on opening night, then led off the winning U.S. team in the 800 freestyle relay on Thursday.

The 14-time Olympic gold medalist missed out on making the 400 individual medley final Thursday when teammates Ryan Lochte and Tyler Clary were faster in the heats. Only two swimmers per country are allowed in the finals.

Those rules tripped up world record-holder Aaron Peirsol in the 200 backstroke heats. He had the third-fastest time Friday morning, but Lochte and Clary were the top qualifiers, shutting Peirsol out of a chance to defend the Pan Pac title he won in 2006.

Lochte swam the distance in 1:55.26, setting him up for a chance to win his fourth gold of the meet. Clary was second in 1:55.56 and Japan's Ryosuke Irie was third in 1:56.65, a slower time than Peirsol, who went 1:56.22.

Chloe Sutton of the U.S. led the 400 free heats in 4:07.64, ahead of Aussie Katie Goldman in 4:08.04. Americans Kate Ziegler and Katie Hoff were shut out of the final, despite having the fourth- and fifth-fastest qualifying times.

In the men's 400 free, Park Tae-hwan of South Korea led the heats in 3:47.58, followed by Zhang Lin of China. Ous Mellouli of Tunisia, who had the top seed time in the event, dropped out of the meet after finishing last in the 1,500 free.

U.S. teammates Elizabeth Pelton and Elizabeth Beisel were the top swimmers in the 200 backstroke prelims. Emily Seebohm of Australia advanced in third.

Americans Christine Magnuson and Dana Vollmer had the top two preliminary times in the 100 butterfly, which was missing Stephanie Rice of Australia. She dropped out of the meet on Thursday because of a injured shoulder that will require surgery in two weeks.

Magnuson was quickest in 57.82 seconds. Aussies Alicia Coutts and Yolane Kukla also advanced, but their teammate and defending Pan Pacific champion Jess Schipper did not. She had the fifth-fastest time, but Coutts and Kukla shut her out of the final.

In the men's 50 breaststroke, Felipe Silva of Brazil led the way in 27.34. Kosuke Kitajima of Japan, who won gold in the 100 breast on Thursday, was second in 27.64.

In the women's 50 breaststroke, Jessica Hardy of the U.S. led the heats in 30.39. Leisel Jones of Australia was second in 30.61.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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