Leisel Jones rebounded well this morning in the 100 breast after failing yesterday to qualify for the 200IM semi-finals. Her time of 1:07.75 was the fastest of the heats. She beat out second seeded Amanda Beard of the USA who stroked to a 1:08.15. Brooke Hanson of Australia went her best time this year to win the first seeded heat in 1:08.48. Sara Poewe of Germany qualified for lane 6 by winning the final heat in 1:08.72
Sweden's Emma Igelstrom just made it into the top 16, swimming 3 seconds over her best with a 1:10.40. While Britain's Jaime King, seeded 8th before the competition, failed to qualify for the semi.
George Bovell of Trinidad, swimming all alone in an early unseeded heat, touched in a 1:49.51. His time was better than Grant Hackett's win of the first seeded heat in 1:49.66. But neither were a match for Dutch great Pieter van den Hoogenband who clocked a 1:47.51. Even Thorpedo couldn't beat him, qualifying for the semi-final in second with a 1:47.99.
The big news however, was the withdrawal of Italy's Emiliano Brembilla. After failing to qualify for the 400 free final yesterday with a dismal 3:53, Brembilla scratched from the heats of the 200, deciding to forgo another head-to-head with Thorpe.
Top seed and world record holder Natalie Coughlin, who has been suffering from a fever for the past two days, appeared to be starting a set of 10x100 back descend 1-10 today with her 1:03.18 in the heats. For the first woman to break the 60-second barrier, a 22nd place finish in her prime event screams that something is off. Yesterday she swam two decent100 flys and a quick 100 free lead-off on the relay, but this morning appeared very lethargic. "It's really upsetting," Coughlin told reporters as she fought back tears. "But I will now have a couple of days off to rest up for the rest of the meet. It's just one of those challenges that I have to face. But of course I'm disappointed, the 100 back is the race I care about the most."
That leaves the race open for hometown favourite Nina Zhivanevskaya and Japan's Mai Nakamura who finished the morning tied for second spot in 1:01.18.
Aussie Matt Welsh qualified first for the semis with a solid 54.79. American Richard Bal who was the third seed was DQ'ed for a 15metre violation on the start, leaving Aaron Piersol the lone American in the semis.
Jana Henke, the 30 year old German distance star is still going strong against the sports young standouts. Cap-less as she's been for her entire career, Henke won heat 1 in a 16:15.93. China's Hua Chen won heat 2 in a 16:15.55 and Germany's Hannah Stockbauer the defending champ won heat 3 in a 16:15.95. She swam stroke for stroke with Canadian Brittany Reimer who took 8 seconds off her national record with a 16:16.21.