Miller, Walker Open Olympic Trials with 400 IM Swims
OMAHA – Welcome to Omaha, now get busy swimming fast. That was gist of Sunday’s opening session at the US Olympic Trials inside CenturyLink Center, where Kansas’ Chelsie Miller finished in the top half of the 400-meter individual medley field and Libby Walker finished 84th.
Miller, who swam the 18th-fastest qualifying time heading into the showcase of the best swimmers in the country, was still looking to find her groove in Omaha after turning in a 4:54.30 for 52nd. Swimming near the tail end of a morning session that saw an announced attendance of 12,760, the 2016 First Team All-American finished last in a heat including 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Caitlin Leverenz and 2014 NCAA champion Maya DiRado.
“This is like the Super Bowl of swimming,” Kansas head coach Clark Campbell said. “It’s really tough sometimes to come out of the gate on fire, you need a little time to adjust to things because the meet is so unique. We got that race out of us and now we’re onward and upward to the 200 IM on Tuesday.”
DiRado took the heat in 4:38.54 and qualified for finals with the fourth-fastest time, one of three from the fifth heat to advance to the evening session. Former Texas A&M swimmer Sarah Henry qualified for finals with the top time, 4:36.93. The finals session was set to begin at 6:45 p.m.
Walker, who qualified for the 400 IM a week before the meet, had no trouble getting off to a quick start in the afternoon flight. She led her heat after the butterfly leg and was second at the midpoint of the race before settling for seventh. The race marked the Olympic Trials debut for the Kansas sophomore-to-be, and her start should bode well for her 200-meter butterfly swim Wednesday, according to Campbell.
“What we wanted to see was her going out well, because her marquee event is the 200 fly,” Campbell said. “That was the best she’s ever been out in the 400 IM and her fly looks really, really good.”
Miller and Walker will get a light workout in Monday while former Kansas swimmer Danielle Herrmann gets in her first swim at Olympic Trials in the 100-meter breaststroke. She qualified with the 65th-best time (1:10.53).
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