Eastin fails to bounce back from DQ

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS - BY MICHAEL MAROT

in­di­anapo­lis — Melanie Mar­galis was more in­ter­ested in help­ing her friend than cel­e­brat­ing an­other vic­tory.

Af­ter win­ning the women’s 200-me­ter in­di­vid­ual med­ley ti­tle and claim­ing a spot on the Amer­i­can world cham­pi­onship team Satur­day night, she reached over to the next lane, hugged Ella Eastin and mouthed en­cour­ag­ing words.

In time, Mar­galis’s mem­o­rable ac­tions may help ease the pain Eastin felt af­ter miss­ing out on the big swim­ming party next month in Bu­dapest. But on the fi­nal day of the U.S. cham­pi­onships, ev­ery­one seemed to leave with the same emo­tions.

“I’m a huge Ella fan; my heart was bro­ken the other night af­ter see­ing her dis­qual­i­fied,” Mar­galis told the crowd. “I just wanted her to know we were all root­ing for her.”

The crowd re­sponded with a loud ova­tion — a stark con­trast from the re­sound­ing boos heard Thurs­day night when it was an­nounced Eastin, the sec­ond­place fin­isher in the women’s 400 IM, had been dis­qual­i­fied.

Only win­ners of each event au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify for the U.S. team. Run­ners-up gen­er­ally make the team through a se­lec­tion process, and af­ter the judge’s de­ci­sion, Eastin was nei ther.

She re­bounded Satur­day with two strong legs to start be­fore fad­ing to third and fin­ish­ing in 2:10.89. Mar­galis won with a time of 2:09.57, Madisyn Cox was sec­ond in 2:09.69, and again, Eastin was out.

“I know she’s pretty dis­ap­pointed,” said Abrahm DeVine, an­other Stan­ford swim­mer who had some­thing to prove Satur­day.

Like Eastin, DeVine lost his first chance to qual­ify be­cause of a rul­ing in the men’s 400 IM pre­lims. And like Eastin, he was dis­qual­i­fied for the same vi­o­la­tion — swim­ming more than a quar­ter of the race on his back, a FINA pro­vi­sion that has been tight­ened up be­cause of a tech­nique Ryan Lochte used on one turn.

But as Eastin tried to com­pose her­self sit­ting alone on the pool deck, DeVine re­deemed him­self in the pool by fin­ish­ing sec­ond in 1:56.79, just be­hind Chase Kal­isz at 1:56.51.

DeVine broke his pre­vi­ous per­sonal best by nearly two sec­onds, be­came the fifth swim­mer in the world this year to crack the 1:57 mark and, most im­por­tant, got that ticket to Bu­dapest.

“Com­ing in I was hop­ing to make it in the 400 IM, and I got DQ’d in the morn­ing, and it sucked,” he said. The 200 “was just com­pletely un­ex­pected. It kind of blew my mind a lit­tle bit, and see­ing my teammates freak­ing out made me feel pretty good.”

Other swim­mers had rea­sons to smile, too.

Two-time Olympic gold medal­ist Simone Manuel won the women’s 50 freestyle in 24.27 sec­onds, the No. 3 time in the world this year. Abbey Weitzeil was sec­ond in 24.74.

Caeleb Dres­sel cap­tured the men’s 50 ti­tle in 21.53. Dres­sel held off Nathan Adrian, an­other Olympic gold medal­ist, who touched at 21.87.

Dres­sel won three ti­tles, qual­i­fied in four in­di­vid­ual events and col­lected the high points tro­phy for the men.

“It’s in­cred­i­ble,” Adrian said. “I think he, along with all of us, was tak­ing a stand this week to see what he can han­dle. He’s ob­vi­ously ac­com­plished a lot, but that’s a re­ally gru­el­ing sched­ule at worlds.”

Leah Smith won the women’s 1,500 free in 16:01.02. Katie Ledecky earned the other spot in the event by tak­ing the 800 ti­tles Tues­day.

Smith won two events, fin­ished sec­ond to Ledecky three times and wound up as the women’s high-point scorer.

Ledecky re­ceived the Phillips 66 Per­for­mance Award de­spite tak­ing two days off this week.

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