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Hart grad Ervin is top qualifier in 50-meter freestyle

Posted: June 30, 2012 11:25 a.m.
Updated: June 30, 2012 11:25 a.m.

Anthony Ervin reacts after swimming in the men's 50-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Saturday, June 30, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

 

Anthony Ervin's comeback remained on track.

The 31-year-old sprinter was the top qualifier in the 50 free nine years after the 2000 Olympic gold medalist retired. He touched in 21.83 to lead 16 men into the evening semifinals.

"Maybe I was lucky," he said. "Hopefully not. Hopefully, I've got two more races like that in me."

Ervin tied Gary Hall Jr. for the gold medal in the chaotic race at the Sydney Games, then retired in 2003 and eventually sold his medal for $17,100 and donated the money to those affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. He returned to training last year, intrigued by what he could accomplish at an older age.

"I did think, 'Do I have that in me?' I wanted to believe I did, but I didn't know," Ervin said.

Nathan Adrian, Ervin's training partner at California, was second at 22.06. Cullen Jones, runner-up in the 100 free on Friday, was third at 22.09, tying Jimmy Feigen.

Jones is looking to make up for his disappointment in the 50 four years go.

"In 2008, I had really salty taste in mouth," he said. "In prelims I got the American record. Then I got second in the semis. Unfortunately, third in the finals. I'm gunning for that first place."

He prefers the 50 over the two-lap 100. "I don't want to turn around," he said. "One shot, that's it."

Matt Grevers, the 100 backstroke winner here, was seventh at 22.24, while 2008 Olympian Garrett Weber-Gale was 10th at 22.52. Nick Brunelli, second-oldest to advance at 30, was 12th.

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