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Canada's Mark Johnston, USA's Jason Lezak Tear It Up on Day 3 of TYR Meet of Champions -- June 24, 2001

By Bill Bell

MISSION VIEJO, June 23 -- Canadian Olympian Mark Johnston won his second race of the TYR Swim Meet of Champions here this evening at the Marguerite
Recreation Center Pool, the 200 meter freestyle.

More importantly, he won an even bigger prize -- an all-expenses paid trip to Fukuoka, Japan and a spot on his country's World Championship team next month, in all likelihood in this event.

Johnston, who swims for Coach Tom Johnson's Canadian Pacific Dolphins out of Vancouver, BC, was one of two Canadian entries in the 200 free at Sydney, having swum a pr 1:49.57 at the in Edmonton Trials last May.

However at The Big O's he never made it out of the heats, going a disappointing 1:50.92.

To top things off, late last winter he contracted a severe case of viral meningitis, and for a while it was touch-and-go as to whether he would be going to that great 50 meter pool in the sky, let alone ever compete again.

However, a near-miraculous recovery has left him back in the swim of things. After winning the 400 free Friday evening, he went a seasonal-best 1:51.11 to win the four-lapper tonight. Runner-up was USC's Klete Keller, who will swim the 200 in Fukuoka and holds the American Record in the 400 free (3:47.00 from Sydney that won him the bronze medal).

Johnston swam at Canada's World Championship Trials in mid-March but was a shadow of his old self. He was named to the 800 free relay team and as a result of his strong showing tonight he likely has secured a spot in the 200 free too.

Second-place in the 200 at the Canadian Trials was a 1:51.18 (!!!) so Johnston's time -- done unshaved and unrested -- is almost a lock to get him on the team, according to Canadian sources.

To make sure Johnston stayed out of mischief during his California sojourn, Dolphins' coach Dave Johnson had him also swim the 50 free (where he was fifth in the consols) and also the 400 IM, where he finished eighth (4:43.77 after qualifying in 4:37.22).

Johnston was scheduled to swim the 800 free relay too but his coach relented and said his star pupil had put in enough work for one day!

A strapping 6-5, 22-year-old who had a pr of 1:50.70 going into the Olympic year, Johnston said he's looking forward to swimming in Japan and renewing
acquaintances with a certain Australian world record-holder who has size 18 feet.

"Heightwise we're about the same," he said in reference to 200 free WR-holder Ian Thorpe. "But talentwise nobody's in his league except maybe that Dutchman. He [Thorpe] is about four sizes bigger than me (Johnston weighs probably 180-185) and he just moves out so fast...amazing."

The women's 200 free went to SC's Lindsay Benko (2:01.34), a former NCAA champion who was on the U.S.' gold medal-winning 800 free relay at Sydney, swimming a strong third leg. Benko ranks fourth globally off her World Championship Trials win (1:59.81). She won the Olympic Trials 200 free last year but failed to get past the semis.

Benko's pr is 1:58.86 from the 1999 Pan-Pacs in Sydney (third globally), and if she can regain that form in Japan she'll be a definite medal contender.

Twenty-one years ago in a rather different context Trojan coach Mark Schubert, then Mission Viejo head man, said: "I'm gonna train that guy to beat the Russian." He was referring to Brazilian distance freestyler Djan Madruga, then training at Mission, who had just gone a 7:59+ 800 free to win the U.S. Nationals title in Austin in April of 1980. The Russian was none other than Vladimir Salnikov, who would go on to win the 400-1500 frees at Moscow.

Madruga unfortunately didn't beat Salnikov that year (although there is a rational explanation besides the Leningrad Locomotive's swimming superiority). When asked if he'll do the same with Benko against various
Czechs, Aussies, a Costa Rican, perhaps a German or two, a Russian and maybe even a Chinese woman, Schubert just smiled and nodded.

The 200 women's breast was a stirring race between Aquazot teammates Kristen Caverly (16) and former world sc meters record-holder Masami Tanaka (22). Both
train under Coach Brian Pajer, U Cal Irvine's most successful swimmer when he was active as a breaststroker more than a decade ago.

Caverly, who leads the high school rankings in both the 100 breast and 200 IM, won in 2:30.60 to Tanaka's 2:31.41. Caverly was fourth-fastest American last year with her 2:29.11 from the Olympic Trials, and she's got her senior year of high school at San Clemente ahead of her.

Tanaka ranked second globally last year off her national-record 2:24.12 from the Olympic Trials in April at the 1964 Olympic Pool in Tokyo, but bombed in
Sydney. She's not on her country's World Championship squad but she may swim at the World University Games in Beijing in August.

If she does and if she's on like she was at the Trials, China's Qi Hui's recent world record of 2:22.99 may be ripe for plucking.

The men's 200 breast went to Arizona Ford's 20-year-old Greg Owen (2:20.62). The Greg Rhodenbaugh-coached South African native has a pr of 2:17.69 that ranked him 68th globally last season, down from 2:18.93 in '99.

The oldest and youngest winners were showcased in the 50 free. Fifteen-year-old Courtney Cashion, another of Novaquatics' coach Dave Salo's budding
"superstars," won the women's one-lapper in a pr 26.85, with 16-year-old Cait Connealy of AFOX second (26.97).

Cashion won the CIF Division 1 100 free for Irvine High and anchored her school's national record-setting 200 medley relay, earning automatic All-America honors in both events.

Salo says -- not necessarily with a straight face, however -- that her goal for next season is Inge deBruijn's world-record 24.13 from Sydney and then
Russia's Alex Popov's wr 21.64 by the end of her senior year.

Worthy ambitions indeed but a more likely successor to Popov is Cashion's teammate, Jason Lezak, who won the men's 50 in a mind-boggling (are you ready for this?) 22.53.

Twenty-two point fifty three? Were it not for the fact that his pr is 22.30 from last year's Olympic Trials and he went 22.35 to win a spot on the World
Championship team in late March, 22.53 would rank him eighth in the world.

Lezak won the 100 free last evening with a meet record 49.75 (unshaved best by a mile) and his record tonight blasts the old Meet of Champions standard of 22.88 by Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin last year.

Lezak and Canada's Jake Steele tied for the No. 1 qualifying spot (24.04). In the race itself Lezak turned on the jets about 20 yards off the blocks,
took three breaths the rest of the way and that's all she wrote.

Lights out.

Afterwards, Lezak turned his attention to his possibilities at Fukuoka and said: "This (the two wins) give me an enormous amount of confidence. I won a couple of World Cup races this past winter but that's not the same thing as the World Championships. I saw how everybody went nuts at Sydney (where he was a member of the silver medal-winning 400 free relay) and that's what I'm looking forward to in Japan, the hype, the atmosphere.

"Do I expect to win? I wouldn't be going if I didn't. Seriously, I'm in the best shape of my career and I feel very confident, very sharp. It would have been nice if Anthony and Bart (Poland's Bart Kizierowski) had been here but the fact that they weren't doesn't diminish my times. Maybe I would
have gone faster with better competition...who knows? They'll have their meet next weekend [Santa Clara] and maybe somebody'll go 22.1. We'll see."

Lezak attributes his progress this season to working with former Auburn sprinter Scott Tucker (whose 100 pr of 48.95 is .20 better than Lezak's 49.15), Salo's training program and his hiring of a personal trainer, who's devised a fitness and weight-training program that has made the former U Cal Santa Barbara All-America a formidible competitor.

"I just feel so sharp, so 'on.' I can't wait for Fukuoka. I'm not making any predictions but if I can keep the form I have now I like my chances."

He notes that the 50 free is opening day, heats and semis, and that night is the final of the all-important 400 free relay.

"It'll be tough getting through those first two rounds and then going the relay but if I can go 49.7-22.5 back-to-back coming off a very heavy training load I'll be okay," Lezak continued.

Asked if he visualizes beating anybody in particular, he grins: "I visualize getting from the blocks to the wall faster than anybody."

Getting no rest for the wicked or the weary, Caverly came back after her breaststroke victory to take numero uno in the 400 IM (4:49.40) with Scottsdale's Emily Mason (4:51.62) second. Mason had previously won the 200 fly-400 free Friday night and was second in the 800 on Thursday.

Caverly's pr is 4:47.54 from last year's Janet Evans Invitational three weeks before the Trials, and she could make it three for three in the 100 breast tomorrow.

Winner of the consols was Nova's Haley Peirsol (4:59.33). Her brother Aaron was sixth in the 200 free and has been known to swim a bit of backstroke on
occasion.

The men's 400 IM went to St. Petersburg's Robert Margalis, who came from behind with a strong freestyle 100 to edge Canada's Keith Beavers, 4:26.16-4:27.63.

At one point after the backstroke segment Margalis was nearly two seconds in arrears and looked to be history.

Not quite. After the breaststroke leg Beavers held a 3:25.28-3:26.92 advantage. Margalis finally took the lead about 10 meters before the final turn and won going away.

The University of Georgia-sophomore to be will join Lezak on the plane to Fukuoka and swim the 200 IM-1500 free. He ranks eighth globally in this race (pr 4:19.21 from the Trials where he was fourth). Beavers, a promising 18-year-old who's following in the tradition of Olympic champ Alex Baumann and Atlanta-Sydney medalist Curtis Myden, has a pr of 4:22.55 from the Sydney International Youth Festival in the Olympic Pool last January. He's down from a 4:25.81 last year and a 4:31.09 in 1999.

Canada's Dolphins won the women's 800 free relay (8:29.30) with Schubert's Trojan ladies second (8:31.85) and Georgia's Dynamos (8:34.70) third.

One of the assistants for the Dynamos is Ed Spencer, former head coach at Industry Hills, who was instrumental in developing former Stanford All-Americas Stacy Shupe and Jeff Kostoff. Kostoff was the last male prepster to to set an American record, going 4:16.39 to win the CIF title 18 years ago. Ironically he never went faster.

Irvine won the men's 800 free relay (7:44.43) with Minnesota next (7:45.15) and the Pacific Dolphins third (7:45.52).

RESULTS


2001 TYR SWIM MEET OF CHAMPIONS
Hosted by the MISSION VIEJO NADADORES
JUNE 21-24, 2001
JUNE 23, 2001
WOMEN'S RESULTS
200 METERS FREESTYLE

PLACE NAME YEAR TEAM TRIALS

1) BENKO, LINDSAY 24 CA-TROJAN 2:06.17 2:01.34
2) DEGLAU, JESSICA 20 CANADA-PAC DOLPH 2:02.27 2:01.88
3) MASON, EMILY 18 AZ-SCOTTSDALE 2:05.90 2:02.42
4) HAYES, JESSICA 18 CA-IRVINE NOVA 2:03.87 2:03.76
5) DOODY, KELLY 21 CANADA-PAC DOLPH 2:04.99 2:03.92
6) KOMISARZ, RACHEL 24 KY-LAKESIDE 2:05.38 2:04.30
7) DIACONESCU, LORENA 21 CA-TEAM REBEL 2:06.04 2:05.66
8) TOLAR, SARAH 20 AZ-UNATTACHED 2:05.74 2:05.72


200 METERS BREASTSTROKE

PLACE NAME YEAR TEAM TRIALS

1) CAVERLY, KRISTEN 16 CA-AQUAZOTS 2:32.85 2:30.60
2) TANAKA, MASAMI 22 CA-AQUAZOTS 2:33.04 2:31.41
3) SIEPER, ERIN 17 CA-STOP 2:36.17 2:35.56
4) PETELSKI, CHRISTIN CANADA-ISLAND SW 2:35.77 2:36.41
5) MATHEWS, KRISTY 19 PC-TERRAPINS 2:37.59 2:36.80
6) WAGNER, TAMARA 16 CANADA-KWNSC 2:36.62 2:36.87
7) LIU, ERICA 14 PC-DEANZA CUPERT 2:40.02 2:37.25
8) SCHMIDT, HEIDI 18 PC-DEANZA CUPERT 2:39.78 2:39.85

50 METERS FREESTYLE


PLACE NAME YEAR TEAM TRIALS


1) CASHION, COURTNEY 15 CA-IRVINE NOVA :27.28 :26.85
2) CONNEALY, CAIT 16 AZ-AFOX :27.65 :26.97
3) SCHMIDT, HEIDI 18 PC-DEANZA CUPERT :27.85 :27.29
4) PARMENTER, JENNIFER 20 CA-TROJAN :27.78 :27.31
5) MEHDIZADEH, ROSHAN 18 PC-DEANZA CUPERT :27.70 :27.53
6) FALZONE, LISA 16 CA-SANTA BARBARA :27.87 :27.62
7) DANIELL, JULIANA 17 GA-DYNAMO :27.76 :27.68
8) BELL, KATHERINE 15 GA-DYNAMO :27.81 :27.73


400 METERS INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY


PLACE NAME YEAR TEAM TRIALS


1) CAVERLY, KRISTEN 16 CA-AQUAZOTS 4:58.61 4:49.40
2) MASON, EMILY 18 AZ-SCOTTSDALE 4:57.49 4:51.62
3) DAPHNIS, ARTEMIS 17 PC-DEANZA CUPERT 4:56.54 4:53.84
4) STEIN, ANNIE 16 CO-BOULDER 4:55.23 4:54.31
5) MACKEY, NICOLE 16 CA-AQUAZOTS 5:00.28 4:59.52
6) NG, AMY 17 PC-SRVLA 5:00.11 5:01.46
7) MURPHY, CORRIE 21 CA-TROJAN 5:00.24 5:03.24
8) KWASNY, MICHALA 20 CA-TROJAN 4:58.72 5:06.22

800 METERS FREESTYLE RELAY

RANK TEAM TIME

1) CANADA-PAC DOLPH 8:29.30
1) DOODY, KELLY 21 3) MACALPINE, ANGEL23
2) STANLEY, ANGELA 20 4) LAIDLOW, ALLISON16

2) CA-TROJAN 8:31.85
1) BENKO, LINDSAY 24 3) MURPHY, CORRIE 21
2) PARMENTER, JENNI20 4) KWASNY, MICHALA 20

3) GA-DYNAMO 8:34.70
1) BURNS, CAROLINE 18 3) HILL, ELIZABETH 15
2) DALY, ASHLEY 17 4) KLEIN, MELISSA 16

4) CA-IRVINE NOVA 8:36.10
1) HSIAO, STEPHANIE18 3) KONG, FLORA 16
2) PEIRSOL, HAYLEY 15 4) HAYES, JESSICA 18

5) PC-TERRAPINS 8:39.03
1) CAETANO, SAMANTH19 3) MATHEWS, KRISTY 19
2) WHITNEY, ASHLEY 21 4) COURTOIS, VALERI20

6) CA-AQUAZOTS 8:42.01
1) CAVERLY, KRISTEN16 3) BRESSLER, MARY 15
2) VOLCAN, ERIN 17 4) MACKEY, NICOLE 16

7) DYNAMO B 8:44.93
1) DUROT, ELIZABETH15 3) BELL, KATHERINE 15
2) BUTLER, KENDALL 17 4) MCCALLUM, KELLEY16

8) GU-WOODLANDS 8:47.32
1) ELLIS, JAIME 18 3) MCCARTHY, MEREDI13
2) STABLER, MICHELL14 4) EBERT, NICOLE 17

MEN'S EVENTS
200 METERS FREESTYLE


PLACE NAME YEAR TEAM TRIALS

1) JOHNSTON, MARK 21 CANADA-PAC DOLPH 1:53.84 1:51.11
2) KELLER, KLETE 19 CA-TROJAN 1:54.34 1:52.51
3) SCHRYVER, JAY 22 CO-LOVELAND 1:54.63 1:53.14
4) TISDELL, JUSTIN 19 CANADA-PAC DOLPH 1:55.39 1:54.15
5) CROOK, BRANDON 20 MN-MINNESOTA 1:55.13 1:54.29
6) PEIRSOL, AARON 17 CA-IRVINE NOVA 1:54.40 1:54.48
7) WARKENTIN, MARK 21 CA-TROJAN 1:54.59 1:55.21
8) MARGALIS, ROBERT 19 FL-ST PETERSBURG 1:55.34 1:57.98

200 METERS BREASTSTROKE

PLACE NAME YEAR TEAM TRIALS FINALS

1) OWEN, GREG 20 AZ-FORD 2:24.81 2:20.62
2) FORREST, CHRIS 21 MN-MINNESOTA 2:22.03 2:21.83
3) BEAVERS, KEITH 18 CANADA-STARS 2:24.42 2:23.10
4) HUANG, MATTHEW 17 CANADA-PAC DOLPH 2:24.38 2:23.28
5) STAMHUIS, JOHN CANADA-ISLAND SW 2:23.82 2:23.90
6) CHOI, JUNG HUN 16 CANADA-PAC DOLPH 2:25.42 2:25.56
7) LADAH, RAMZY 21 CA-SANDPIPERS 2:26.59 2:25.90
8) SHARPLIN, PAUL 21 NWZLND-HARLEQUIN 2:26.31 2:26.56

50 METERS FREESTYLE


PLACE NAME YEAR TEAM TRIALS FINALS

1) LEZAK, JASON 25 CA-IRVINE NOVA :24.04 :22.53 **
** POOL RECORD: MEET RECORD:
2) STEELE, JAKE 22 CANADA-PAC DOLPH :24.04 :23.65
3) SCHRYVER, JAY 22 CO-LOVELAND :24.28 :23.97
4) MASSURA, ALEX 26 MN-MINNESOTA :24.13 :23.99
5) JEFFERS, BYRON 18 AZ-FORD :24.44 :24.18
6) JOHNS, KEVIN 21 CANADA-PAC DOLPH :24.47 :24.23
7) JOHNSON, TYLER 19 AZ-FORD :24.38 :24.27

400 METERS INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY


PLACE NAME YEAR TEAM TRIALS FINALS

1) MARGALIS, ROBERT 19 FL-ST PETERSBURG 4:31.61 4:26.16
2) BEAVERS, KEITH 18 CANADA-STARS 4:32.98 4:27.63
3) WARKENTIN, MARK 21 CA-TROJAN 4:38.15 4:36.51
4) CREEL, DAVE CANADA-ISLAND SW 4:39.29 4:37.83
5) KELLER, KLETE 19 CA-TROJAN 4:38.57 4:38.39
6) NELSON, CHRIS 20 CANADA-UASC 4:39.25 4:38.62
7) NABORS, JOHN 18 GU-WOODLANDS 4:38.73 4:39.56
8) JOHNSTON, MARK 21 CANADA-PAC DOLPH 4:37.22 4:43.77

800 METERS FREESTYLE RELAY

RANK TEAM TIME

1) CA-IRVINE NOVA 7:44.43
1) TUCKER, SCOTT 26 3) DISALLE, ERIC 21
2) PEIRSOL, AARON 17 4) LEAN, RYAN 17

2) MN-MINNESOTA 7:45.15
1) CROOK, BRANDON 20 3) TAYLOR, MATTHEW 20
2) MASSURA, ALEX 26 4) SMOLINSKI, TODD 20

3) CANADA-PAC DOLPH 7:45.52
1) TISDELL, JUSTIN 19 3) JOHNS, KEVIN 21
2) STEELE, JAKE 22 4) BAUHART, ROLAND 21

4) CA-TROJAN 7:47.51
1) KELLER, KLETE 19 3) LEE, JEFF 20
2) WARKENTIN, MARK 21 4) EVERMAN, JOEL 21

5) NWZLND-HARLEQUIN 7:59.92
1) CLAYTON-GREENE, 18 3) THOMPSON, MARK 18
2) MACDONALD, THOMA18 4) BURMEISTER, MOSS20

6) GA-DYNAMO 8:01.66
1) RUDD, BOBBY 17 3) MILLEN, JOHN 16
2) EWALD, CHRIS 15 4) KAUFFMAN, MICHAE17

7) CA-MISSION VIEJO 8:02.39
1) ANGUIS, CHRISTIA19 3) HERLIHY, EDMUND 18
2) PINEYRO, MARKUS 18 4) SAEGER, RICHARD

8) TROJAN B 8:07.36
1) CURRERI, JOSEPH 20 3) TOLMACHOFF, ERIK20
2) PETERSON, MATTHE19 4) RINGE, DAVID 19