Pierce has best finish on day two of Olympic Trials

OMAHA, Neb. – University of Arkansas incoming swimmer Leah Pierce had the best finish on day two of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. The Columbia, Mo., native placed 45th in a field of 105 athletes in the 100m breaststroke. Pierce bettered her qualifying time (1:11.61), touching in 1:11.46. The top three qualifiers in the event – Jessica Hardy (1:06.85), Rebecca Soni (1:06.90) and Megan Jendrick (1:07.06) – were under the former Trials record of 1:07.12, set by Jendrick in 2000. In 11 heats of the 400m freestyle, sophomore Katie Kastes and senior Stephanie Carr swam in the third and seventh heats, respectively. Kastes finished 61st with a 4:19.94 and Carr was 72nd with a 4:21.35. Three swimmers – Katie Hoff (4:05.61), Allison Schmitt (4:05.72) and Kate Ziegler (4:06.04) – swam faster than the 20-year-old meet record of 4:06.43 in prelims. The meet record was formerly held by Janet Evans. The finals of the 400m free are set for Monday evening with the top eight finishers of the morning session competing. The semi-finals of the 100m breast are also Monday night with the finals slated for Tuesday evening. Tuesday is a day off for the Arkansas swimmers, but Wednesday features Kastes in one of her strongest events, the 200m butterfly. According to USA Swimming, there are about 1,250 swimmers competing at the Trials with a maximum of 52 spots available on the U.S. Olympic Team (26 men and 26 women). If the maximum number of swimmers is selected, then only about four percent of the swimmers at the Trials actually make the Olympic Team. For more information about Arkansas swimming and diving, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.