THOMPSON, TANER WIN SECOND GOLD
By Phillip Whitten
Minneapolis, MN – The unstoppable Jenny Thompson rolled to her second gold medal on Day Three at the USA Swimming National Championships yesterday. Thompson, who earlier had won the 100m freestyle in a world-leading time of 54.66, took the 200m in 2:00.19, edging Trojan’s Lindsay Benko (2:00.70). Greenwood’s Samantha Arsenault was third in 2:01.60, just ahead of Nova’s Carly Geehr (2:01.79).
Thompson took the lead from the start and opened up a margin of eight-tenths of a second at the 50, then fought off a determined challenge from Benko on the back half of the race.
Hillenbrand’s Ugur Taner chalked up his second win, taking the men’s 200m free in a bit of an upset over top qualifier, Chad Carvin. Taner, who earlier had won the 200m fly, took the 200m free in 1:49.19, half a second ahead of Texas Aquatics’ Josh Davis (1:49.72) and Carvin (1:49.78). Carvin had swum an easy 1:48.74 in prelims.
In the finals, Davis blazed to the lead at the 100, touching in 52.40, followed by Carvin (53.72) and Taner (53.73). Davis held on to his lead on the third lap, but could not hold off Taner’s determined push on the final lap. Said an elated Taner: “I’ve won the 200 fly and 200 free at Nationals before, but never in the same meet. This is a confidence-builder for me. I’m confident I’ll be able to swim a 1:47 at Pan Pacs.”
Double Pan Am gold medalist Kaitlin Sandeno survived a 7-hour, all night bus ride from Winnipeg to win the 400m individual medley in 4:42.92. Trojans’ amazing Kristine Quance-Julian, back competing at a world-class level only nine months after giving birth, was second in 4:45.39 as husband, Jeff, and son, Trenton, looked on. Quance-Julian’s Trojan teammate, Michala Kwasny, was a strong third in 4:46.31, just ahead of Katie Yevak (KC Blazers), in 4:46.49.
St. Petersburg’s Robert Margalis, 17, won the men’s 400m IM in a lifetime best 4:19.70, fending off a determined challenge by Pan Am silver medalist, Eric Donnelly, another survivor of the all-night ride from Winnipeg. Donnelly touched in 4:20.42, followed by Kevin Clements, 4:20.89.
Margalis, the upset winner of this event at the 1997 US Open, had been hard-pressed to crack 4:30 ever since, but he finally showed why he is a force to be reckoned with in the long medley when he recorded his first-ever national title.
Texas Aquatics blazed to an American club record in the men’s 400m free relay with a time of 3:17.65. The old record, set by Curle-Burke four years ago, was 3:20.39. Nate Dusing led off in 50.54, and was followed by Josh Davis (49.75), Neil Walker (48.68) and Bryan Jones (48.68). The fastest split of the evening belonged to Nova’s Jason Lezak, winner of the 100m free, who split 48.56.
The relay splits seem to indicate that the U.S. is poised to challenge the world mark of 3:15.11, set by the American Pan Pac team in 1995.
Hillenbrand won the women’s 400m free relay in 3:47.53, two seconds ahead of Trojan (3:49.46).
The two best individual performances of the day came in mid-afternoon, during time trials, before a mere handful of spectators. South Africa’s Roland Schoeman, who represents Hillenbrand, clocked 22.27 in the 50 free, despite a poor finish. David Marsh, the Auburn head coach who knows a thing or two about sprinting, said: “Schoeman would have clocked a 21.8 or 21.9 in the 50 if he’d had a better finish.” The world record stands at 21.81.
Ed Moses, arriving after the seven-hour trek from Canada, time trialed the 200m breast in 2:13.41, which would easily have won the event. He split 1:03.40 for the first 100.