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Phelps, DeScenza Star on First Night of Stanford Invitational -- May 20, 2005

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 20. TWO months before the start of the World Championships in Montreal, Michael Phelps uncorked a pair of strong mid-training swims during the Stanford Invitational, a stop on the United States Grand Prix circuit.

Scheduled to swim five individual events at the World Champs, Phelps won the 100 freestyle and 200 butterfly Friday at the Stanford Invite. Phelps opened the meet by winning the 100 freestyle in 49.82 and closed the night by outdistancing the field in the 200 fly with an effort of 1:57.31. Davis Tarwater, Phelps’ Club Wolverine teammate, was second in the 200 fly in 2:01.67.

Phelps’ victory in the 100 freestyle served as a quality indicator for the summer. In bettering a superb field, Phelps was the only swimmer to crack the 50-second barrier. Rolandas Gimbutis touched second in the event in 50.62 and Salim Iles was third with a swim of 50.67. Nick Brunelli finished fourth (50.68) and Duje Draganja secured a sixth-place showing (51.00).

On the female side, Mary DeScenza continued her torrid swimming with triumphs in the 100 freestyle and 200 fly. One of the top performers at last month’s United States World Champs Trials, DeScenza topped the competition in the 100 free with a time of 56.18. For good measure, DeScenza won the distance fly in 2:11.15 and was followed to the wall by Dana Kirk (2:12.88).

In the women’s 200 breast, up-and-comer Rebecca Soni claimed victory from a pair of Olympians, Megan Jendrick and Tara Kirk. Soni stopped the clock in 2:29.32, finishing just ahead of Jendrick (2:29.70). Kirk checked in at 2:30.46. As for the women’s 800 free, Kate Ziegler easily earned first place, as she covered the distance in 8:30.68.

Other winners on the first night of action included Chris Thompson in the 1,500 free (15:33.45) and Miguel Molina in the 200 breaststroke (2:21.36). Thompson was followed by Robert Margalis and Peter Vanderkaay.