THE LENNY AND JENNY SHOW
By Phillip Whitten
Minneapolis, MN – Lenny Krayzelburg and Jenny Thompson each turned in awesome performances on the fourth night of the USA Swimming National Championships. Both came within scant hundredths of a second of the world record in their respective events.
Krayzelburg, who set an American record in the 200m backstroke two nights earlier with the second fastest time in history, fell just 14-hundredths shy in the 100m back, clocking 54.00. Only two men, world and American record-holder Jeff Rouse, and Canada’s Mark Tewksbury, have cracked the 54-second barrier. Said Jim Montrella, an assistant Trojan Swim Club coach: “Lenny will definitly get the mark in Australia.”
Krayzelbug turned in 26.23 at the 50-meter mark–15-hundredths under world record pace. On the second lap, he pulled inexorably ahead of Neil Walker, who wound up third (55.78), and Bobby Brewer, who eased into second (55.61).
An hour later, Thompson stroked to her 23rd national title when she won the women’s 100m fly in 58.15, the second fastest time in history, behind Mary T. Meagher’s mythic 1981 world mark of 57.93. Thompson, too, seems likely to erase the world record when she swims fully rested at the Pan Pacific meet.
Thompson jumped to an immediate lead at the start and turned at the half-way point in 27.10, well below Meagher’s pace. Misty Hyman, who usually takes an early lead, trailed at 27.91, followed by Karen Campbell, 27.92. Hyman swam a solid 59.63 to finish second, while Campbell, the Pan Am champ, swam a 59.91 to take third. In the B finals, China’s Liu Limin swam 59.15, only one-hundredth slower than her Olympic silver medal swim in Atlanta.
There were other fast swims at the University of Minnesota Natatorium. B.J. Bedford out-touched Lea Maurer to win the women’s 100m backstroke, 1:01.89 to 1:02.24. Denali Knapp was third in 1:02.22. Maurer led from the start, hitting the turn in 30.07 to Bedford’s 30.54. But Bedford timed her finish perfectly to record her third straight national title in the 100m back.
Trojan’s Lindsay Benko won her second event of the meet when she out-dueled Brooke Bennett, the silver medalist at the 1998 World Championships, in the 400m free. Benko bolted to the lead from the start, swimming the first 100 in 1:00 flat to Bennett’s 1:00.89. She hit the half-way mark at 2:03.25, one-and-a-half seconds ahead of Bennett, then maintained that margin on the third 100. Bennett’ rush in the final 25 meters was too little, too late, as Benko finished in 4:11.31 to Bennett’s 4:12.49. Reno’s Julie Hardt was a strong third, 4:13.03, with Becky Wilson fourth in 4:13.47.
The men’s 400m was also exciting, though the winner was never in doubt. Mission Viejo’s Chad Carvin did not set the American record he had promised, but his time of 3:49.68 was more than four seconds faster than runner-up Mark Warkentin, who won four gold medals at the World University Games last month.
Carvin led from start to finish, splitting 54.55, 1;52.82; 2:52.17; and 3:49.68. The American record, 3:48.06, was set by Matt Cetlinski eleven years ago.
Fifteen-year-old Megan Quann won the 100m breaststroke in a championship record 1:08.70, and earning a place on the Pan Pacific Team. The irrepressible Quann, who last year rejected a spot on the Pan Am team because she was “certain” she’d make the Pan Pac team, saw her gamble pay off when she touched home three-quarters of a second ahead of Staciana Stitts.
Like Carvin, Quann, who represents Puyallup Aquatics, led from start to finish, splitting 32.08 at the 50. Before the race her coach, Rick Benner, predicted she would swim 1:08.70, splitting 32.20-36.50.
The men’s 100m breast saw a similar race as Pan Am champ Ed Moses swam the third fastest time ever swum by an American to win in 1:01.21. Moses turned in 28.73. Second place went to Jarrod Marrs, 1:02.22, followed by 200m champ, Brendan Hansen, at 1:02.37.
The men’s 100m fly went to Texas Aquatics’ Bryan Jones in a swift 53.05. In prelims, Jones swam 52.90, the making him the third fastest American in history. Like all the other winners last night except Bedford, Jones led all the way, turning in 24.64. His Texas Aquatics teammate, Nate Dusing, was a distant second, 54.14, while 1996 Olympian John Hargis was third, 54.26.
Jones anchored the winning Texas Aquatics 800m free relay, easing to a 7:26.99 win. Triple Olympic gold medalist, Josh Davis, had the fastest split, 1:48.42. Trojan Swim Club took the women’s 800m free relay in 8:13.39.