Weltz scores upset in breaststroke


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OMAHA, Neb. -- Brendan Hansen and Eric Shanteau were the favorites.

The race was a different matter.

In another major breaststroke upset, Scott Weltz won the 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Friday, leaving Hansen and Shanteau with only one individual event at the London Games.

Nathan Adrian won the 100 freestyle and Cullen Jones claimed the second spot for London, while Natalie Coughlin barely survived her last chance to make it back to the Olympics.

The men's 200 breaststroke was just as shocking as the women's 100, which Breeja Larson won over Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy. At least Soni got second place.

Neither Hansen nor Shanteau were as fortunate.

Clark Burckle claimed the second spot on the Olympic team. Shanteau finished third and Hansen faded to fourth, which means they'll have to settle for only the 100 breaststroke in London.

Weltz, 25, moved up on the third lap and surged to the finish to win in 2 minutes, 9.01 seconds. Burckle was next in 2:09.97.

"When I turned at the wall, I saw I wasn't a body length and a half behind, I was like, 'I've only got to make up a maybe a half-body length. I can do this,' " Weltz said.

Adrian, 23, was a favorite in the 100 freestyle, and this race went as expected. He led at the flip and never let up, winning in 48.10, the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.

The real battle was for the second individual spot. Jones managed to hold on in an outside lane to touch in 48.46, giving the first African-American to win an Olympic swimming gold a chance to add to his collection.

Matt Grevers was next (48.55), followed by Ricky Berens (48.80), which assures them of spots in the 400 freestyle relay. Jimmy Feigen and 2008 Olympic relay star Jason Lezak also are in the mix after finishing fifth and sixth.

Coughlin hung on in her quest to make it back to a third Olympics and take a shot at tying Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres as the most decorated female Olympians in U.S. history.

Having already missed out in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, Coughlin is relying on the 100 freestyle.

She barely got out of the semifinals, finishing sixth in her heat but seventh overall to qualify for tonight's final. Amanda Weir was the fastest qualifier in 54.14, followed by Missy Franklin (54.19) and Allison Schmitt (54.23).

Coughlin looks like a long shot for an individual berth in London. She'll need to finish in the top six of the eight-woman final to earn consideration for the 400 relay team.

"Life will go on," Coughlin said. "That's why you don't see me freaking out."

Ryan Lochte cruised through the semifinals of the 200 backstroke with the fastest time at 1:55.73. Tyler Clary was next (1:55.88) and only one other qualifier for the final was within 3 seconds of the leaders.

Lochte returned less than an hour later for the semifinals of the 200 individual medley, which was Michael Phelps' only event of the night. Lochte was top qualifier again with the fastest time in the world this year (1:55.51), while Phelps was about a body length behind (1:56.66).

"I knew he kind of took off, so I was like I probably should save something for tomorrow," Phelps said. "I kind of shut it down once the race was kind of over."

They will be right next to each other again tonight in the final, their final showdown in the trials.

In the other final, Cammile Adams pulled away to win the 200 butterfly in 2:06.52. Kathleen Hersey claimed the second Olympic berth (2:07.72), more than a second ahead of third-place finisher Kim Vandenberg.

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