American sprinters are chasing faster speeds at the Olympics, and it’s Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian who is leading the pack.
Adrian qualified for the Olympics for the second time by winning the 100-meter freestyle Friday night at CenturyLink Center in the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.
After Thursday’s preliminaries, Adrian figured it would take “a high 47” to win the race, but nobody got under the 48-second mark in the final. Adrian’s winning time in a field packed with the heavyweights was 48.10 seconds. Cullen Jones finished second (48.46).
The top six in the 100 qualified for the Olympics, either for the individual event or the U.S. relay team. Nabbing the final spot was 36-year old Jason Lezak.
“I was happy to be between a couple of sprinters who were going to go out with me and really help push me in the first 50 (meters), and I was able to get my hand first on the wall at the end,” said Adrian.
From Lane 8 in 2008, Adrian finished fourth in the 100 free to qualify for the Olympics the first time. This time, the field chased him from the outset in Lane 4 after he posted the fastest time in prelims (48.33).
Adrian said he has become comfortable with being the front-runner. “In ‘08, I was just some kid who had a chance of making the team,” said Adrian, 23, who has been training in Berkeley, Calif. “This time, I’m still a kid that was expected to make the team.”
David Durden, Adrian’s coach, was happy that Adrian officially punched his ticket to London. “In this environment, it’s probably equal amount of joy and excitement and an equal amount of relief,” said Durden. “That’s what that race was about for him tonight.” But Durden also knows there’s work to be done before London. “He’s got to get hustling a little bit to really compete with what is right now the top times in the world, and he knows that,” said Durden.