Omaha, Neb. — Western Kentucky University rising sophomore Claire Donahue missed qualifying for the semifinals of the 100-meter butterfly by less than a second Sunday on the opening day of the United States Swimming Team Trials at the Qwest Center.
The Lenior City, Tenn., resident, posted a time of 1:00.62 to win the fifth of 18 heats and place 32nd overall in the field of 138 competitors. The highest finisher in the first half of qualifying on the day, she missed advancing to tonight’s semifinals by 65 one-hundredths of a second with a time that ranks 90th in the world in 2008.
Sixteen individuals qualified for the two-heat semifinals, with the top eight finishers moving on to the finals on Monday.
Donahue, who will also compete in the 200-meter butterfly preliminaries on Wednesday, won her heat by 42 one-hundreths of a second. She was among the top 16 competitors until the 16th preliminary heat, as all but two of the semifinalists came from the final three groups of the day.
“This is another small step forward for Claire,” said WKU head swimming and diving coach Bruce Marchionda. “I think she was a little bit excited at the start, went out too fast and tightened up in the last 10 meters. That comes from inexperience, but this will help teach her how to prepare better in the future.
“Being in the top 32 professional and collegiate swimmers in the country isn’t bad.”
Donahue entered the trials with a qualifying time of 1:02.22 in the event.
Christine Magnuson was the top qualifier with a time of 57.84 seconds. She was the only swimmer to record a sub-58 second time, while five other individuals were clocked in less than 59 seconds.