Sanya Richards-Ross and LaShawn Merritt advanced easily through their 400-meter races at the U.S. Olympic trials Friday, ignoring a steady rain to win their opening qualifying heats.
Merritt, the defending Olympic champion, finished in 45.36 seconds — not a great time by any means, but still the fastest in any of the four men's heats.
Richards-Ross, third in Beijing, jogged the last several paces of her race to finish in 51.69 and win by 0.55 seconds.
Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, finished third in his heat with a time of 45.84 to also advance to Saturday's semifinals.
The top three finishers in Sunday's final will earn spots on the U.S. team heading to London next month.