LOS ANGELES, CA – Two-time backstroke world champion Lenny Krayzelburg, the reigning king in the specialty, easily defeated a strong field to win the 200m backstroke to highlight the second day of the sixth annual Janet Evans Invitational on Friday (July 16) at the USC McDonald’s Swim Stadium in the meet hosted by USC and presented by Speedo.
Krayzelburg, the American record-holder in the event, swam a fast 1:57.68, less than a second off of his U.S. mark (1:56.95) and just more than a second off the world record (Martin Zubero, Spain, 1:56.57). As it was, he topped his own meet record (1:59.82) set in 1997.
Among those he beat were second-place and 15-year old Aaron Peirsol (Irvine Novaquatics, 2:01.90), the youngest person ever to swim under 2:00.00. Brazilian national champion and current USC swimmer Leonardo Costa (Trojan, 2:01.91) was third and Brad Bridgewater (Trojan, 2:02.54), the 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the event, was fourth.
“This was my best in-the-middle-of-the-season swim,” Krayzelburg said. “My goal was to swim under 1:58. I usually try to improve each meet of the season and I did it by six tenths. I’m excited because I have been training really hard and I’m looking forward to the next two meets coming up (U.S. Summer Nationals on Aug. 6-10 and the Pan Pacific Championship on Aug. 22-29).
“Pretty much over the last year, I’ve been in the last 50 (meters) by myself, so I’ve gotten used to it. My goal is to break the world record. If I do that, it’s pretty much going to be me, so I have to race against the time more than anyone else.”
U.S. Olympic gold medalist Jenny Thompson (Stanford) cruised to victory in a meet-record time of 55.51 in the 100m freestyle, easily beating second-place Ashley Tappin (Irvine Novaquatics, 57.04) and third-place Joscelin Yeo (California, 57.05).
“I feel pretty good about the race,” Thompson said. “I was working on my stroke, which went well. My turn was a little slow. I’ve been swimming pretty consistently and feel good about this summer. I’m excited about nationals and Pan Pacs. I think I’ll drop a considerable amount of time. I like this meet. It’s an important meet because it’s the last before nationals and it’s a good opportunity to race hard.”
Jason Lezak (Irvine Novaquatics) won the men’s 100m free in 50.75, edging former Olympic finalist Francisco Sanchez (Sun Devil, 51.07) and Roland Schoeman (Hillenbrand, 51.23).
“I expected Francisco to take it out fast,” Lezak said. “I felt very good today. This is my best unrested time. I’m pretty ecstatic about that speed.” Lindsay Benko (Trojan), a two-time U.S. national champion, won the women’s 400m free in an impressive 4:14.02, edging 16-year old Kaitlin Sandeno (Nellie Gail Gators, 4:14.18).
“It felt awesome,” Benko said. “I was going to hang back and see what happened. But I felt great and took it out and Kaitlin almost came back on me. But it was fun. I’m well ahead of where I was last year. It’s very encouraging.”
Ryk Neethling (Hillenbrand) won his second event of the meet and broke his second meet record, taking the men’s 400m free in 3:52.62. He touched just ahead of close friend Chad Carvin (Mission Viejo, 3:52.69).
Misty Hyman (Arizona Desert Fox), the 1998 World Championship bronze medalist in the 200m butterfly, won the same event here in 2:10.42. Jessica Deglau (Pacific Dolphins, 2:11.66) took second.
Shamek Pietucha (University of Calgary) won the men’s 200m fly in 1:58.98 with ease, well ahead of second-place Steven Brown (Santa Clara, 2:01.87) and third-place Ugur Taner (Hillenbrand, 2:02.00), a World Championship finalist in the event.
Kelly Stefanyshyn (Pacific Dolphins, 2:14.66) won the women’s 200m back with Hyman taking second (2:15.56).