Lezak, Weber-Gale set back-to-back American 100 free records

OMAHA, Neb. -- Jason Lezak and Garrett Weber-Gale set back-to-back American records in the 100-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, with Michael Phelps going under 48 seconds Wednesday.

Phelps' time of 47.92 seconds should lock up his spot on the 400 free relay in Beijing. Having accomplished that goal, he promptly dropped out of the evening semifinals.

"He was trying to break 48, and he did. That sets him up nicely for the relay and hopefully answers some questions," Phelps' coach Bob Bowman said. "Clearly, I think Michael should be on the relays. We wanted to just kind of relieve any controversy."

In Athens, Gary Hall Jr. complained U.S. coaches gave special treatment to Phelps by putting him on the 400 free relay, even though he didn't compete in the 100 free at the trials, which usually determines the pool of relay swimmers.

"Hopefully, that should be a fast enough time to hopefully be on the relay," Phelps said. "That's my best time."

Bowman said Phelps wasn't tempted to continue on in the 100 free because his 200 butterfly final is about 20 minutes later Wednesday night.

"That double is cruel and unusual," Bowman said. "He could do it, but I wouldn't ask anybody to do it."

Phelps might decide to drop the 200 backstroke, which begins Thursday with prelims.

"Things are going kind of well, so we'll see," Bowman said. "Our program is looking good."

Lezak, a 32-year-old from Irvine, Calif., won his heat in 48.15, bettering his old mark of 48.17 set four years ago at the trials in Long Beach, Calif.

Lezak was talking to reporters when Weber-Gale erased his mark in the next heat, lowering it to 47.78.

"I knew it was going to be really fast in there," said Weber-Gale, who finished seventh at trials four years ago. "I knew I had to do something. ... Before I got out of the car, my dad said, 'Swim your own race.' I did that. I just couldn't be happier."

World champion Ben Wildman-Tobriner was fourth-fastest, ahead of Matt Grevers and Cullen Jones, who finished in 48.71.

Ryan Lochte's time of 48.88 was ninth-best, and he said he wasn't sure if he would remain in the event.

Lochte dropped out of Tuesday's 200 free final -- where he was the fastest qualifier and would have raced Phelps again -- to give himself a better shot in the 100 backstroke that night.

The move backfired when he finished third, one spot out of making the Olympic team.

"We looked at it, and it was like whatever happened, happened. It doesn't matter now," Lochte said. "That race is over, and I've just got to focus on today."

He still hopes to be chosen for the 800 free relay team.

Ian Crocker was disqualified for a false start, similar to what happened at last year's world championships.

Katie Hoff had a rare morning off, but she'll be busy in the evening with finals in the 200 free and 200 individual medley. The 19-year-old from Towson, Md., could lock up her third and fourth individual spots on the Olympic team with victories.

Brendan Hansen, who made the team in the 100 breaststroke, returned as the quickest qualifier in the 200 breast prelims. His time of 2 minutes, 11.29 seconds topped 2004 Olympian Scott Usher, who was second in 2:11.41.

Hansen was kept up late Tuesday night after Aaron Peirsol won the 100 back in world-record time.

"I had a pretty excited roommate," Hansen said. "Aaron was on cloud nine. There's so much expectation about making the team. When you get that first one out of the way, then you know you're going to get into the rhythm of the meet and go as fast as you need to go."