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The 33-year-old Torres, who ended a seven-year retirement to compete for a vacation to Sydney, brought the crowd in the Indiana University Natatorium to its feet using a time of 57.58 seconds, eclipsing Jenny Thompson's mark of 57.88.
Thompson, swimming two heats after Torres, qualified second in the event with a strong time of 57.89. That's just off her performance at last year's Pan Pacific Championships, where she erased Mary T. Meagher's 18-year-old world record - the oldest about the books.
Inge de Bruijn in the Netherlands eclipsed Thompson's world record in May, becoming the very first woman to break the 57-second barrier . On Wednesday, Torres went faster than Thompson, too,
Torres competed in her first Olympics at L . a . in 1984, winning a gold medal inside the 400-meter freestyle relay. She captured bronze and silver on the 1988 Games before seeming in order to complete her career with another gold within the 400 relay at Barcelona in '92.
Next came a prosperous modeling and TV career, through which she did swimming commentary making an infomercial for Tae Bo workout videotapes.
After appearing out of retirement in July 1999, she merely hoped to earn an area with a relay. Now, she is a threat to result in the Sydney Olympics in three sprint events, also going to compete within the 100 and 50 freestyle throughout the eight-day trials.
Thompson is hoping to atone on her behalf disappointing performance inside the 1996 trials, when she didn't get certified in any individual event.
Also seeking redemption is Kristine Quance-Julian, who was simply disqualified four years back and slowed by mononucleosis in 1992. She had the fifth-fastest in time preliminaries to the 400 individual medley.
Kaitlin Sandeno led the preliminaries at 4:44.26, just before 1996 Olympian Cristina Teuscher . Quance-Julian was timed at 4:49.10, sufficiently good to advance to Wednesday night's final.
The most notable two finishers in each final make Olympic team.
At the 1996 trials, Quance-Julian had the optimum time inside the 400 IM preliminaries, and then be disqualified on an obscure stroke violation rarely called with the world-class level. Since that time, she gets married coupled with a baby.
Chad Carvin led the preliminaries within the men's 400 freestyle at 3:49.63, the second-fastest time by as a famous in the last 2 yrs. He faded about the final lap to miss Matt Cetlinski's 12-year-old American record, 3:48.06.
Tom Dolan, the top-rated U.S. swimmer inside the 400, skipped the wedding to pay attention to his specialty, the 400 IM Thursday.
Many swimmers were wearing some kind of the high-tech bodysuit, which has been approved for the competition after having a flip-flop through the American governing body.
"I'll be wearing the entire bodysuit. I shall be toting until I die," quipped Tom Malchow, world record-holder in the 200-meter butterfly. "It came on the proper time. It's getting everybody excited about the activity."
The bodysuit wasn't exactly welcomed to Indianapolis with open arms. While cleared to be used in all other meets, USA Swimming voted in June to ban it in the trials, fearing there wouldn't be enough to satisfy the demand of 1,309 swimmers.
But one manufacturer filed a grievance and another agreed to outfit everyone cost-free, prompting USA Swimming to reverse its ban last month. So, once the trials open Wednesday, anyone who would like to wear the bodysuit will probably be free to do so.
"It's brought a whole new life towards the sport," said Neil Walker, who won five golds as well as silvers with the short course world championships in 2010. "We're gaining something that's never been worn before. The game really hasn't changed much in the past. It's fun to get part of this change."
Malchow believes it absolutely was vital for that U.S. team to own use of the suit in the last major competition prior to the Sydney Games, just a month away. The powerful Australian team set several world records following your latex clothes was approved for its Olympic trials in May.
"You wouldn't like to go to a big international meet just like the Olympics wearing the suit for the first time," Malchow said.
The record field - greater than twice as large because 570 entrants in 1996 - is going to be whittled to around 45 swimmers when the trials end Aug. 16. Much like the format found in track and field, just the fastest competitors on their particular day will be entitled to Sydney.