Monday, January 18, 2010

USA Swimming Grand Prix, Long Beach: Day 4 Finals: Katie Hoff, Matt Grevers Win High Point Awards; Three Meet Records Fall

The final session of the Long Beach meet is complete. Some of the most exciting races of the meet were on this final night, as rivalries from past competitions were renewed. Three meet records were set, one by Trojan's Jessica Hardy in the women's 100 breast, another by Japan's Kosuke Kitajima in the men's 100 breast, and a third by FAST's Ariana Kukors in the women's 200 IM. Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers was the top performer of the meet, winning five out of his six races.

Women's 100 Fly

Cal Aquatics' Dana Vollmer put on a dominating performance in the 100 fly, winning by 1.3 seconds in 51.42, just off the 51.39 she posted at short course Nationals. North Baltimore's Felicia Lee took second in 52.71, while FAST's Katie Hoff finished third in 53.37. National teamers Jessica Hardy (53.62), Ariana Kukors (53.66), and Elizabeth Pelton were fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.

Men's 100 Fly

Trailing Tucson Ford swimmers Masauki Kishida and Matt Grevers at the 50, Michael Phelps, representing North Baltimore, had one of his patented last 50s to put away his competitors. Phelps finished in 45.68, while Kishida took second in 46.32 and Grevers third in 46.64.

Women's 1650 Free

Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton dominated the women's mile, finishing with a time of 16:10.85 to complete her sweep for the 500-1000-1650 freestyles. The time, however, was well off the meet record of 15:56.97 she set last year. Mission Aurora's Bonnie Brandon tried to stay with Sutton for the opening portions of the race before ending up second in 16:17.45. Lynette Lim of PSP swam a 16:35.07 to claim third.

Women's 100 Back

Olympic bronze medalist Margaret Hoelzer swam a superb back half to take the title in the women's 100 back. Hoelzer, representing FAST, overtook earlier leader Cindy Tran of West Coast to claim the victory with a time of 52.97. North Baltimore's Felicia Lee, backing up from the 100 fly, posted a second-place time of 53.30, while Tran snagged third in 53.71. Also backing up from the 100 fly was Dana Vollmer of Cal Aquatics, who claimed fourth (54.43).

Men's 100 Back

It was a battle of the two most recent Olympic silver medalists in the 100 back, as Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers went out fast and held off Trojan's Markus Rogan for the win, his fifth of the weekend. Grevers clocked a time of 45.97, faster than rival Nick Thoman swam in Dallas this weekend (45.99), while Rogan came in at 46.45. North Baltimore's Michael Phelps took his second medal of the night, finishing third in 46.67.

Men's 1650 Free

BCH Heatwave's Zane Grothe took a commanding victory in the men's distance race, swimming a personal best 15:11.89 to beat Dayton Raiders' John Koehler by more than 12 seconds. Koehler clocked 15:24.04 for second, while Cal Poly's Matt Waggoner claimed third in 15:31.28.

Women's 100 Breast

It was expected to be a close battle between Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy, both of Trojan, in the 100 breast, and the race lived up to its billing. As is her custom, Hardy went out much faster than Soni, but Soni tracked her down over the final two lengths, and it came down to the touch to determine a winner. In the end, Hardy got her hand on the wall one one-hundredth of a second before Soni, 58.99 to 59.00. Both times were better than Tara Kirk's 2008 meet record of 59.11. The two were over three seconds ahead of the rest of the field, as FAST's Ariana Kukors took third in 1:02.25, ahead of North Baltimore's Elizabeth Pelton (1:02.66).

Men's 100 Breast

Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima took completed a breaststroke sweep, but it wasn't as easy as the 200 last night. Kitajima, representing Coca-Cola Swim Club and Trojan, swam a 52.17, ahead of the 52.81 posted by Tucson Ford's Mike Alexandrov, who finished in an excellent time of 52.81. Kitajima's time bettered Brendan Hansen's meet record of 52.81 set in 2007. (Alexandrov tied the former meet record.) Canadian swimmer Paul Kornfeld took third in 53.84, while North Baltimore's Michael Phelps completed a tough triple by taking fifth in 54.25 with an excellent back half.

Women's 200 IM

The two most recent world champions did battle in this event, as FAST training partners Katie Hoff (2005, 2007) and Ariana Kukors (2009) went head-to-head. Hoff led throughout the first 100, before Kukors closed the gap on the breaststroke and smoked the final 50 yards to claim victory, 1:55.05 to 1:55.43. Both swimmers beat Kaitlin Sandeno's meet record of 1:56.90 set in 2008, while Kukors' time was faster than her winning time at Nationals (1:55.40). Cal Aquatics' Dana Vollmer, in her third A-final of the night, claimed third in 1:58.44, while Trojan's Rebecca Soni backed up from the 100 breast to take fourth (2:01.17).

Men's 200 IM

Trojan's Hidemasa Sano used outstanding opening fly and closing freestyle legs to dominate the 200 IM, swimming a 1:43.79 to win the race. Sano's teammate from Trojan, Markus Rogan, used an outstanding backstroke leg to nearly catch Sano, before settling for second in 1:45.69, holding off FAST's Robert Margalis, who took third in 1:47.40.

400 Medley Relay

West Coast's team of Cindy Tran, Allison Gillespie, Kelsey Cummings, and Cynthia Fascella won the women's event in 3:48.59, beating out North Coast's team Nicole Parmenter, Kelsey Kafka, Kendyl Stewart, and Andrea Basaraba (3:49.33). RTLR (Meghan Hawthorne, Andrea Kropp, Valerie Orellana, Nina Morrison) took third in 3:51.32.

For the men, Swim Torrance's team of Vladimir Morozov, See Han Lee, Jeff Allison, and Ryan Makuta took the victory in 3:27.00. Claiming second was Riverside's team of Matthew Hopfe, Bryan Haile, Brad Terwilliger, and Rodney Pillman (3:28.09), while Santa Clara Swim Club (Eric Owens, Jeffrey Peters, Ian Burns, Samuel Shimonura) posted a 3:30.38 for third.