Chloe Sutton advances, Katie Hoff does not
IRVINE, Calif. -- Chloe Sutton is admittedly not a morning person. The whole idea of hopping in a pool and pulling off a blistering time in an a.m. heat doesn't jell with someone who likes a slower pace in the early hours of the day.
But on Friday morning, the 18-year-old had no choice. So before her preliminary heat in the 400-meter freestyle, Sutton slapped herself in the head, rubbed ice cubes on her face and even drank a caffeinated soda to help wake up.
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesChloe Sutton's qualifying time (4:07.64) was the fastest of Friday's morning heats in the 400 free.
Sutton's qualifying time of 4:07.64 was the fastest of the morning heats, making her one of the favorites in tonight's final. Now, the California girl who grew up idolizing Janet Evans has her eyes set on Evans' 21-year-old Pan Pac record (4:04.53), the longest standing mark in the meet's history.
"That would be amazing," Sutton said of setting the record. "I would be so, so happy to go that time. [Evans] gave me my award in the 800 last night and I thought that was awesome. She's one of my biggest heroes, one of the people I look up to."
The news wasn't as good for American record holder Katie Hoff. Hoff, who led for much of her 400 free heat before being caught at the end by Kate Ziegler, posted a time of 4:08.93, which kept her out of the "A" final. Hoff won the event at U.S. nationals earlier this month in 4:05.50. Now she must watch to see if that time will hold up to be one of the top two the Americans will send to next year's World Championships in Shanghai.
Hoff has already qualified for next year's world team in the 800 freestyle relay, but was disappointed with the result in her marquee event Friday. She was visibly upset after the heat and took nearly 45 minutes before talking to reporters.
"Honestly, I did feel like I went out too fast," Hoff said of her collapse in the 400. "I felt strong. It was close to where I was in the morning at nationals. It's not like I was way off. Kate had a great last 10, that's for sure. And obviously we're very competitive here in the U.S., so there's not much more we can do."