July 1, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. --- Georgia's Andrew Gemmell had the fastest time among the competitors in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle heats Sunday at the United States Olympic Trials at CenturyLink Center.
Also Sunday, former Lady Bulldog Kara Lynn Joyce kept her hopes alive for a third Olympics by qualifying for the finals in the women's 50-meter freestyle.
Gemmell, a rising junior, stopped the clock in 14:57.29. That is the fifth-best time in the world this year (tops among Americans) and shattered his previous personal best of 15:01.31. Only eight men in the world have a sub-15 time this year.
Gemmell will be the top seed among the eight swimmers in the 1,500-meter freestyle finals on Monday, where the top two finishers will make the U.S. Olympic team. An open water specialist, Gemmell narrowly missed advancing to the London Games earlier in the Trials as he came in fourth in the 400 individual medley.
"I just wanted to have a good swim," Gemmell said Sunday. "I wanted to make sure I was able to get back to the finals and not be on the outside looking in. I thought this would be a good dress rehearsal to work on the same things on I need to work on (Monday) night. I'm glad I put myself in a good spot. Making the team, that's the goal."
Also in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle heats, rising junior Will Freeman touched in 15:32.22 to place 15th and ex-Bulldog J.P. Arnold came in 44th with a time of 15:49.58.
Joyce was fifth in the women's 50-meter freestyle semifinals, stopping the clock in 24.97. Joyce was an Olympian in 2004 and 2008, earning four silver medals on the 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relays. She was an 18-time NCAA champion during her career with the Lady Bulldogs (2005-08).
Former Lady Bulldog Amanda Weir came in 10th in 25.32, while rising senior Megan Romano took 14th in 25.62. Weir is expected to be named to the U.S. team as a relay alternate based on her performance in the 100-meter freestyle on Saturday. During the prelims in the 50-meter freestyle, rising sophomore Lauren Harrington came in 32nd in 25.85, followed by former Lady Bulldog Anne-Marie Botek (39th, 25.94), rising sophomore Maddie Locus (43rd, 26.01), ex-Lady Bulldog Andrea Georoff, rising junior Jessica Graber (52nd, 26.13) and former Lady Bulldog Erika Bass Braun (116th, 26.66).
The Trials will conclude on Monday with the women's 50-meter freestyle and the men's 1,500-meter freestyle finals. The races will be shown on NBC at 8 p.m.