Barcelona - There was a solemn mood this morning at the Palau Sant Jordi pool after such an exciting evening last night. But the swimmers still kept up the pace despite a lackluster crowd. The women's 800 free was the highlight.
Inge de Bruijn (NED) made her championship debut this morning clearing out against the field with her 26.33. Jenny Thompson (USA) and world record holder Anna-Karin Kammerling (SWE) will try to challenge her tonight, their times: 27.01 and 27.16.
Ian Crocker (USA) led the final heat at the 50-out in world record time. But his teammate Michael Phelps chased him down to out touch him 52.27 to 52.35. Defending champion Lars Frolander (SWE) failed to qualify for the semi final finishing 18th in 53.74. While Geoff Huegill (AUS) was also off his best, he made it in with his 11th place finish. The top 16 men are the fastest field ever, beating the previous top 16 from the Sydney Olympics.
Franck Esposito (FRA) redeemed himself after a dismal 200 fly. He won his heat in 52.85. A young Johannes Dietrich (GER) also qualified for the semi-final winning his unseeded heat in 53.01
A very fast and very tight field qualified for tomorrow night's final. 8th place is Jana Henke (GER) in 8:36.07. While Diana Munz (USA) is the first of five women at 8:32. Defending champ Hannah Stockbauer looked easy and in control and should drop well below 8:30 tomorrow.
Brittany Reimer (CAN) made it five for five in Canadian records breaking the second oldest women's record with her 8:35.76. She is qualified in 7th spot.
Popov cracked the championship record with a decisive win in 21.98. He was the class of the field and looked fabulous. Other top qualifiers: Jason Lezak (USA) in 22.29, Johan Kenkhuis (NED) in 22.32, and Julien Sicot (FRA) in 22.36. "After winning gold last night, I am very relaxed and confident," said Popov.
Anthony Ervin (USA) the Olympic Champion tied for 17th spot with Roland Schoeman (RSA) and Salim Iles (ALG). The three swam-off for the alternate spot with Schoeman winning in 22.44 which would have qualified him in 5th spot.
Top seed Natalie Coughlin (USA) scratched from the preliminaries leaving the race wide open. Stanislava Komarova (RUS) qualified in first with a 2:10.98 followed by Margaret Hoelzer (USA) in 2:12.35. Jen Fratesi (CAN) qualified in fourth with a solid 2:12.72.