|INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, August 7. THE first night of competition at the US Open Championships kicked off in style, with meet records falling in the women's 100m free and 800m free to Megan Romano and Stephanie Peacock, respectively.
In the first event of the evening, the University of Tennessee's Kelsey Floyd made a late charge in the last 25m to out-touch Palo Alto Stanford's Jasmine Tosky, 2:08.74 to 2:08.91, in the women's 200m butterfly. Floyd out-split Tosky by more than a second to take over the lead on the last length. New York Athletic Club's Kim Vandenberg came in third in 2:10.93. Floyd jumped from 22nd to 19th in the world with that performance, while Tosky leaped from 35th to 21st.
In the men's 200m fly, Thomas Luchsinger of Three Village Swim Club and the University of North Carolina took control at the halfway point and cruised to a winning time of 1:57.51, lowering his personal best of 1:57.75 from the US Trials in June. Luchsinger looked poised to challenge Tom Malchow's 10-year-old meet record of 1:55.66, but just fell off the pace. Carolina Aquatics' Michael Flach, a finalist in this event at the 2012 Olympic Trials, came in second in 1:58.40, while Great Britain's Iain Macmillan rounded out the top three in 1:58.72.
In the women's 100m free, Megan Romano of the Athens Bulldogs broke the 54-second barrier for the first time in her career, taking down the meet record in the process to win in 53.92. She lowered Erika Erndl's 2009 meet record of 54.59 and slingshot to 14th in the world rankings with that swim. Her previous best had been a 54.16 from June. Romano's winning time also stands out, as it would have won the event at the Olympic Trials, where Jessica Hardy touched first with a 53.96. Erndl, who swims for T2 Aquatics, took second tonight in 54.79. Sandrine Mainville of Canada swam a 55.48 for third.
After flipping fourth at the 50m mark, France's Mehdy Metella came roaring back on the field to win the men's 100m free in 49.18, just .01 off his top time of the season from the French Trials in March. Australia swept the next two spots with Kenneth To (49.35) and Matt Abood (49.77) taking second and third. Abood came into the meet with the fastest time of the three swimmers, a 48.81 from the Australian Trials in March.
Lowering decade-old records seems to have become a theme for North Carolina's Stephanie Peacock. Just months after lowering Janet Evans' 22-year-old NCAA record in the 1650-yard free at the 2012 NCAA Championships, Peacock took down Evans' 24-year-old meet record of 8:24.71 in the 800m free tonight. She stopped the clock in 8:24.36 to demolish her seed time of 8:30.97 and the rest of the field. Peacock was sixth in the 800 free at the Olympic Trials with an 8:30.97. Her time today would have placed third in Omaha.
Minnesota's Ashley Steenvoorden placed second in the 800 in 8:33.41, while Ashley Twichell of Mission Viejo earned third place honors with an 8:34.56. Peacock's time is the 10th fastest in the world this year, including the Olympic Games.
A much closer race unfolded in the men's 1500m free, as Canada's Eric Hedlin and The Woodlands' Michael McBroom got into a heated battle as the race progressed. Hedlin led most of the way before McBroom charged ahead with a 27.59 split on the last 50m to win in 15:09.22. Hedlin was right behind in 15:09.45. Scenic City Aquatics' Sean Ryan touched a distant third in 15:20.79.
In the final event of the evening, Canada's foursome of Sandrine Mainville, Carolina Lapierre-Lemire, Samantha Corea and Michelle Williams just out-touched Australia's relay squad of Carla Buchanan, Shayna Jack, Megan Gianotti and Olivia Halicek to win the women's 400m freestyle relay, 3:45.31 to 3:45.42. Wisconsin Aquatics took third in 3:46.67, behind Ruby Martin, Aja Van Hout, Ivy Martin and Hannah Ross.
Through seven events, Canada leads the women's team standings with 62 points, ahead of Minnesota Aquatics (56) and Australia (50). On the men's side, Australia sits in first with 49 points, with Minnesota (37) and France (34) in second and third.
Results: US Open Championships
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Courtesy of: Peter H. Bick