"We felt that they could take a 49.5 to get into the semifinals, and nobody wanted to kill themselves," Reese said. "It's not what they wanted. It's not what they expected. It's the worst of all scenarios."
Lezak clocked 49.87 seconds in the seventh of nine heats. Crocker, ill this week with a sore throat, went 49.73 in the ninth heat. Both times were slower than their trials-winning performances.
"I just didn't swim my race smart," Lezak said, "and I paid for it."
Crocker, who was last after his leadoff leg in the 400-relay loss, still has to swim in the 100-meter butterfly, an event in which he owns the world record.
"It felt better than the other night," he said of his performance. "It's a step in the right direction. Everything's just getting better day by day."
Two-time Olympic champion Alexander Popov of Russia also failed to qualify, finishing ninth in yesterday's semifinals. Australian Ian Thorpe and the Netherlands' Pieter van den Hoogenband moved into the finals.
The American men took Reese off the hook yesterday when Michael Phelps won the 200-meter butterfly and helped the 800-meter relay team win another gold.
Among the U.S. women, Amanda Beard captured a silver medal in a 200-meter individual-medley final won by defending Olympic champion Yana Klochkova of Ukraine. Katie Hoff, the 15-year from Maryland, finished seventh.
"I've never swum the event internationally before," Beard said, "so to swim a silver medal in the Olympics . . . is great."
Carmela Potec of Romania won the 200 freestyle, with Federica Pellegrini of Italy second and Solenne Figues of France third. Dana Vollmer of the United States finished sixth.
Hall, whose agent said he was angry about the relay snub, qualified for the 50-meter freestyle semifinals, but left the pool without talking to reporters.
Contact staff writer Frank
Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068