Omaha, Neb. - Former San Jose State University swimming standout Brie Marhenke raced 26.38 seconds in preliminaries of the 50-meter freestyle at the 2008 USA Olympic Team Trials at the Qwest Center on Saturday morning, July 5.
The native of Carmichael, Calif., placed in a three-way tie for 67th out of 88 swimmers who registered times. Competing for Santa Clara Swim Club in lane seven in the second of 12 total heats, Marhenke bettered her long-course lifetime-best of 26.39 by .01 seconds. She finished tied for third among five participants in her heat, with her reaction time of 0.71 second-best.
The competitors with the 16 fastest times moved on to the semifinal round later on Saturday night, with the top eight from that group advancing to the final on Sunday night, July 6, the last day of the meet. The first and second finishers in the final make the 2008 USA Olympic team.
Marhenke, a two-time NCAA Championships qualifier and four-time Western Athletic Conference individual gold medalist, went into her first Trials seeded in a tie for 93rd with an entry time exactly equal to the qualifying standard of 26.39 seconds, achieved at the Stanford University Invitational Grand Prix in Stanford, Calif., on Saturday, April 5. She holds school records in both sprint freestyle events in short-course yards, as well as being a part of three school-record relays.
Among the top 16 times to qualify for semifinals was the new American-record mark of 24.50 by University of Arizona swimmer Lara Jackson. She won the 12th and final heat in lane five, with previous American record-holder Dara Torres turning in a 24.72 for the third-fastest prelim time in lane four next to her. The 41-year-old Torres already qualified for a record fifth Olympic Games by winning the 100-meter freestyle the night before. The 16th qualifying time was 25.62.