INDIANAPOLIS, July 9 — If not for a neck spasm as he approached the finish, Cullen Jones figured he would have set the American record in the 50-meter freestyle final Thursday night at the U.S. swimming championships.
Instead, he found himself stuck in a swim-off Saturday for second place and a berth on the world championship team, which hinges on a top-two finish. Nathan Adrian claimed his first U.S. title in the event with his victory in 21.52. seconds as Jones and Garrett Weber-Gale tied for second place in 21.55.
“My neck spasm ….. took me out of my streamline,” Jones said. “Things happen. It never goes the way it’s planned. ….. At least I still have a shot to make the team.”
Hours before the race, after reports surfaced that 65 African American and Hispanic summer campers had allegedly been denied entrance to a private swim club in the Philadelphia area because of their race, Jones, who is black, issued a statement condemning the action.
“I’m so appalled by it,” he said. For Cullen’s full statement on the situation, see above.
The 50 free presented this strange development: The winner of the B final swam a faster time than Adrian. Of course, the B final offered a stacked international lineup. Brazil’s Cesar Cielo came home first in 21.14, and France’s Fred Bousquet finished second in 21.36. Cielo and Bousquet both attended Auburn University.
Soni Sets U.S. Mark: Three-time Olympic medal winner Rebecca Soni got Thursday’s action off to a fast start when she set an American record in the 100 breaststroke final.
Soni finished in 1 minute 5.34 seconds, topping Jessica Hardy’s mark of 1:06.20. She beat rising star Kasey Carlson, 17, who finished in 1:06.54, and Keri Hehn, 28, who came home in 1:06.71. With those times, Soni, Carlson and Hehn became top 10 all-time performers in the event.
Ziegler Still Recovering: Four-time world champion Kate Ziegler said she had not recovered from her bout with the flu and would not compete in the 800 freestyle Friday as she had hoped. Ziegler, forced to pull out of the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events here, said she probably would try to compete at the Aug. 4-8 U.S. Open in Federal Way, Wash.
“I just don’t think I’m in any state to compete,” Ziegler said by phone from her parents’ home in Great Falls.
Local Splashes: Curl-Burke’s Ellyn Baumgardner, 18, finished fourth in the C final of the women’s breaststroke, coming home in 1:10.73. George Mason’s Ashley Danner, 18, was seventh in 1:11.34. ….. T.P. Patrick, 24, of North Baltimore, finished second in the C final of the 100 butterfly in 53.56 seconds. Sean Fletcher, 17, of the Mason Makos Swim Team, touched the wall in 54.98 for eighth. ….. North Baltimore Aquatic Club’s Christie Raleigh, 22, finished fourth in the B final of the 50 freestyle in 25.72. ….. NBAC’s Kailey Morris finished eighth in the B final of the 400 individual medley in 4:54.30.