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Vollmer Wakes 'Em Up In Santa Clara

Jun 1, 2012  - Craig Lord

Great racing in store for finals on day 2 at the Santa Clara meet, where Dana Vollmer set a little smoke off the water this morning with a 57.07 meet mark in the heats of the 100m butterfly, inside her own standard from 2010 of 57.73. 

Only the 56.79 of world record holder Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) at the Olympic test event in London in March is swifter this year.

In the 100m free, world butterfly champion Vollmer led the way through in 54.38, with  Cal teammate Natalie Coughlin on 55.12 and Aussie visitor Emily Seebohm on 55.34. 

Vollmer, coached by Teri McKeever with a touch of the mystical in her prep off the Tasmanian coast with Milt Nelms, then returned to the fray at the end of the session, Coughlin in tow once more, for a 57.07 (26.86, 30.21) blast on 'fly, her teammate on 58.56. Seebohm made it through to a second final too, on 59.99. 

Back in 130th on free, a reminder that freestyle rules allow for more than what is commonly known as freestyle: world backstroke record holder Gemma Spofforth, of the Gators and Britain clocked 1:00.82 - out in free back on backstroke. An example of why form guides are fairly useless at this stage of the game: Spofforth has never broken 1:01 while in heaving training even weeks out from the efforts that left her 4th twice in Beijing and with gold around her neck in Rome 2009 and Budapest 2010.

No Nathan Adrian in the final after a fine 48.50 (23.30, 25.20) 100m free this morning, the Cal sprinter off to his bro's wedding. Centre stage was left to Park Tae Hwan (KOR), on  49.81, with former world champion (2001) and Olympic 50m champion (2000) on 50.14 and set to uphold Cal honour in his teammate's absence. Park will also be in the spotlight in the 400m free with Ryans Cochrane (CAN) and Napoleon (AUS), Cochrane ahead just inside 3:51, Park cruising on 3:54.

In the men’s 100m butterfly Japanese visitors Takuro Fujii (53.18) and Takeshi Matsuda (53.77) progressed either side of Tom Shields (Cal), on 53.49. The 200m breaststroke features quadruple Olympic champion Kosuke  Kitajima (2:13.10 in heats), and the women's equivalent Sarah Katsoulis (AUS) and Caitlin Leverenz (Cal), the latter at the helm on 2:28.98 this morning.

Kylie Palmer and Bronte Barratt (AUS) will race against Lauren Boyle in the 400m free alongside Chelsea Chenault, up from on a personal best of 4:08.38 in heats of an event featuring Brit 'fly ace Ellen Gandy, on 1:00.61 on 100m 'fly later in the session and among many trying out in off-script races at a time of training for London 2012.

Americans have something big ahead of them before London - what some see, with good reason, as the tougher call of selection trials. Like many meets around the world, a kaleidoscope of preparation on the move, the pain of adaptation tangible, with some great racing in prospect at Santa Clara today.