Sunday, January 17, 2010

USA Swimming Grand Prix, Long Beach: Matt Grevers Wins Two More; Soni, Kitajima, Hoff Set Meet Records; Phelps Beats Sano in Thrilling 400 IM

The second full session of finals is complete at the Grand Prix in Southern California. This session featured Olympic champions in their pet events, as well as a rising stars trying to make a name for themselves. No American records were set, but there were some amazing races, including a thriller between Michael Phelps and Hidemasa Sano in the 400 IM, with Phelps emerging the victor. Three meet records were set, one by Rebecca Soni in the women's 200 breast, another by Kosuke Kitajima in the men's 200 breast and a third by Katie Hoff in the women's 400 IM. In addition, Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers is well on his way to winning the high point award after taking two more victories to add to his double from last night.

Women's 200 Free

Cal Aquatics' Dana Vollmer, the American Record-holder, swam a great back-half to overtake Trojan's Jessica Hardy to win the 200 free. Vollmer finished in 1:43.29, less than two seconds off her American record time of 1:41.53. FAST's Katie Hoff took second in 1:44.48, while North Baltimore's Elizabeth Pelton claimed third in 1:45.52. Hardy faded to fourth, while swimming another personal best, 1:46.51.

Men's 200 Free

Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers added a third individual win for the weekend in the 200 free, claiming the title in 1:34.98. Trailing Cal Aquatics' Will Copeland at the 50, Grevers took over the race at the halfway point and held on for a half-second victory. North Baltimore's Todd Patrick outtouched Trojan's Dominik Meichtry for second, 1:35.58 to 1:35.61. Copeland claimed fourth in 1:38.24.

Women's 200 Breast

Trojan's Rebecca Soni was just a tenth of a second off her own American record pace at the 50, but she fell off that pace slightly as the race progressed. She ended up with a superb time of 2:05.90, a new meet record, breaking Tara Kirk's mark of 2:07.94 set in 2008. Soni enjoyed nearly a four second victory over FAST's Ariana Kukors, who touched second in 2:09.83. RTLR's Andrea Kropp, the top qualifier, claimed third in 2:12.37.

Men's 200 Breast

Kosuke Kitajima was beaten by two swimmers at short course Nationals in this event, but he swam a much faster race in Long Beach, claiming a decisive victory in 1:53.03. Kitajima, representing the Coca Cola swim club and Trojan, set a new meet record, breaking Longhorn's Brendan Hansen's meet mark of 1:53.78 set in 2007. National champion Mike Alexandrov, representing Tucson Ford, came in at 1:56.33 for second, more than three seconds slower than his winning time from Nationals (1:52.81), while former NCAA Champion Paul Kornfeld claimed third in 1:58.35.

Women's 50 Free

Cal Aquatics' Madison Kennedy got the better of her teammate to win the 50 free on the touch, 22.41 to 22.50, while meet record-holder Kara Lynn Joyce of FAST finished just behind in 22.72. Times were slower than perhaps expected since all of the top three had already swum the 200 free. Tying for fourth were North Baltimore's Elizabeth Pelton, also coming out of the 200 free, and West Coast's Cynthia Fascella, in 23.49.

Men's 50 Free

Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers beat out a strong field in which the top six were within a half second, with five under 20 seconds. Grevers touched in 19.58 to claim his second victory tonight and fourth of the weekend. He finished about two tenths ahead of his teammate Masayuki Kishida (19.77) and Rose Bowl's Jason Lezak (19.80), who received a huge ovation as he was introduced. Top qualifier Vladimir Morozov of Swim Torrance finished fourth in 19.81 after clocking a personal best time 19.68 in prelims, the second fastest time of the meet. Cal Aquatics temmates Will Copeland (19.98) and Bennett Clark (20.06) took fifth and sixth.

Women's 400 IM

FAST's Katie Hoff took gold in her best event, breaking Club Wolverine's Kaitlin Sandeno's meet record of 4:05.86 set in 2008. Hoff clocked a time of 4:04.39. Ariana Kukors, also of FAST, challenged Hoff in the front half and was a hundredth under American record-pace at the 100, before settling into second, and finished at 4:06.04. North Baltimore's Felicia Lee claimed third in 4:12.53.

Men's 400 IM

It was a tight race between Trojan's Hidemasa Sano and North Baltimore's Michael Phelps, but Phelps pulled away in the last 50 to claim victory in 3:38.42, just off his meet record from 2007 of 3:38.28. That mark was only two months before Phelps' seven gold performance, including a 4:06.22 400 IM at the world champs in Melbourne. Sano touched in a personal best 3:39.63 to claim second, almost six seconds ahead of North Baltimore's Todd Patrick, who clocked a 3:45.54 to take third. These three were the only swimmers under 3:50.

800 Free Relays

Magnus Aquatic Group's team of Rachel Moore, Margaret D'Innocenzo, Meaghan Grimes, and Erica Belcher took the women's relay in 7:31.44. Claiming second was Cal Poly's team of Karin Schleicher, Katrina Anderson, Chrissy Thomas, and Camille Duckett (7:33.32), and Tucson Ford Dealers (Sarah Denninghoff, Karima Chuk, LeighAnne Oliver, and Lauren Baker) took third (7:33.46).

For the men, Cal Poly's team of Chase Nick, Aaron McKinnon, David LaFlamme, and Peter Kline swam a 6:44.16 to win the event, while Santa Clara Swim Club's team of Samuel Shimomura, Ian Burns, Jackson Partin, and Michael London claimed second (6:49.09). KING's D'Voreaux Cann, Thane Maudslien, Stephen McFarlane, and Bart Wanot finished third (6:52.19).

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