INDIANAPOLIS – Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder Dana Vollmer won her signature event Thursday at the 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Trials, taking the women’s 100m butterfly in 57.53.
The win qualified Vollmer for the 2013 U.S. World Championships team, which will compete July 28-Aug. 4 at the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona. Her time was the third-fastest in the world this year.
“It actually wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be,” Vollmer said. “Going into prelims, I had no idea where I was going to be. I’ve been all over the map at the Grand Prixs, but each day of training has really made a difference for me. I just wanted to get up there regardless of the time and make the team. Now I have another month to train going into World Championships.”
Vollmer trailed Olympic teammate Claire Donahue at the turn, but torched the field in the back half for the win. Donahue finished second in 58.32.
“I just thought about staying light and spunky through the first 50,” Vollmer said. “One of my strengths is that second 50.”
Vollmer’s win was just one of a number of fast swims Thursday. Olympian Rachel Bootsma broke the American and U.S. Open record in the finals of women’s 50m backstroke, turning in a time of 27.68.
“It’s my first American record, so I’m really happy,” Bootsma said. “I just really tried to focus on my start. I have a really quick tempo, so I just wanted to get out of my underwaters and just go.”
Three other U.S. Open records were also set Thursday in the 50-meter races, including Kevin Steel in the prelims and finals of the men’s 50m breast (27.33 and 27.26) and David Plummer in the men’s 50m backstroke (24.52). Thursday marked the first time these events were contested at a U.S. National Championship.
“I think the biggest thing after being left out (of the Olympics) last year was being validated with a great race,” Plummer said.
Other first-place finishers Thursday night included Maya Dirado in the women’s 400m IM (4:34.34), Chase Kalisz in the men’s 400m IM (4:11.83), Eugene Godsoe in the men’s 100m butterfly (51.66) and Jessica Hardy in the women’s 50m breaststroke (30.24).
Second-place finishers included Elizabeth Beisel in the women’s 400m IM (4:34.50), Tyler Clary in the men’s 400m IM (4:14.62), Ryan Lochte in the men’s 100m fly (51.71), Breeja Larson in the women’s 50m breaststroke (30.40), Kevin Cordes in the men’s 50m breaststroke (27.38) and Matt Grevers in the men’s 50m backstroke (24.77).
The first-place finishers in each Olympic event, and the women’s runners-up in each Olympic event claimed spots on the World Championships roster. The second-place finishers in the men’s 400m IM and 100m fly will likely be added to the rosters, pending swimmers qualifying in multiple events. The first-place finishers in the 50-meter events may be added to the roster pending swimmers qualifying in multiple events.
Women’s 400m IM
Turning to the other races, four of the eight finalists in the women’s 400m IM were members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, including Beisel, who won silver in this event in London. Other Olympians in the field were Caitlin Leverenz, Cammile Adams and Haley Anderson.
The race turned into a head-to-head duel between Dirado and Beisel at the end of the backstroke leg. The two were neck-and-neck the whole way, with Dirado coming out on top by 16-hundredths at the finish. Their times were the third-and fourth-fastest in the world this year.
With the win, Dirado will be swimming this event, the 200m fly and the 800m freestyle relay in Barcelona.
“I tried to stay confident and swim my own race,” Dirado said. “Some of the pressure was off because of the 200 fly on Tuesday.”
Men’s 400m IM
Clary, the Olympian, looked poised for the win in the men’s 400m IM, building about a body-length lead on the field at the end of the backstroke leg. But Chase Kalisz reeled him in and passed him about 65 meters into the breaststroke.
From there, Kalisz hammered his way home, building on his lead through the finish and touching nearly three seconds ahead of Clary.
“I really wanted to push my breaststroke leg,” Kalisz said. “I just wanted to stay in the race in the front half and give it all I had in freestyle.”
Clary was just happy to put himself in a position to qualify for the World Championships Team in this post-Olympic year.
“It will definitely light a fire under my butt for the next three years,” Clary said.
Men’s 100m Butterfly
Godsoe came out on top of a tight field in the men’s 100m fly, in which the top five swimmers were separated by less than a second. He edged Lochte by five-hundredths of a second.
It was Godsoe’s second title in a butterfly event this week after winning the 50m fly on Wednesday. His time was the fourth-fastest in the world this year.
“I put my head down, and everything started fading out,” Godsoe said. “I just went for it.”
The 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Trials will continue Friday with prelims and finals of the men’s and women’s 400m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 100m backstroke.
For more information about the meet, including complete results, go to www.usaswimming.org/nationals.