Pan Pac swimming update: Aaron Peirsol, Katie Hoff fail to get out of heats
Aaron Peirsol and Katie Hoff fell victim to the unforgiving format of the Pac Pacific Championships and did not advance out of the preliminary session on Friday morning in Irvine.
Peirsol was the third-fastest American in the 200-meter backstroke, and Hoff the fourth-fastest American in the 400-meter freestyle. Here, only the top two from each country advance to the finals at night.
Unlike the other day in the 100-meter backstroke, Peirsol did not get a reprieve. In the 100-meter backstroke, Ryan Lochte withdrew from the final, and Peirsol took advantage of the second chance and won the event at night.
On Friday morning, Lochte was the fastest qualifier, in 1 minute, 55.26 seconds, and teammate Tyler Clary was second in 1:55.56. Peirsol's time was 1:56.22.
"It certainly keeps you honest," Peirsol said of the format. "We knew what we were doing coming in. ... What I had to do wasn't very easy. It was tough."
Peirsol will swim in the B final Friday night, and a fast time in that could still get him on the World Championship team in the 200-meter backstroke. "The swim I get tonight does count," he said. "I'll go as fast as I can.
Clary was not standing far away in the mix. But there would be no arm-twisting from Peirsol, who said: "No, he should swim it."
The format couldn't be any worse for Hoff, who, at least, is already on the World Championship team in the 800-meter freestyle relay. Hoff was chased down by her teammate Kate Ziegler in their heat, and then Chloe Sutton knocked Ziegler out of the final. Sutton was the fastest qualifier in the morning (4:07.64) and Allison Schmitt (4:08.47) was second.
Ziegler went 4:08.63 and Hoff 4:08.93. Hoff holds the American record in the 400-meter freestyle
"Honestly, I don't think I went out too fast. I felt strong and it was pretty close to what I was in the morning at nationals," Hoff said. "It's not like I was way off. Kate's got a great last 100. Obviously we're really competitive in the U.S."
Hoff, who went 4:05.50 at nationals, still could qualify for Worlds in the 400, depending upon what Sutton and Schmitt do Friday night. "Obviously, I'm hoping my time holds up for worlds," she said. "Regardless, I'm on the world team for at least the relay. I didn't make any of the international meets last year, so to make Pan Pacs was a big step."
And she planned on watching the 400 final. Hoff was asked if she would watch the clock or the race. "A little bit of both," she said, smiling.
-- Lisa Dillman