By M. Duncan Scott
PHOENIX, Ariz., July 5 – THE BEST Invitational stop on the 2004 SWIMMING WORLD Arizona Senior Circuit was held June 17-19 at the Brophy East Sports Campus
There was great swimming by great athletes but, unfortunately, no new Olympic Trials cuts. The 12 swims under the standards were all by either foreign athletes or swimmers who already had the standards.
Ryk Neethling, UofA (South Africa), swam well, picking up three wins and a second with solid swims. He took the 100 Meter freestyle in :50.19 over UofA (South Africa) compatriots Roland Schoeman (:50.23) and Lyndon Ferns (:50.62). All three of these athletes have swum under :49.00 in the last 7 months making South Africa a real contender for the 4 x 100 freestyle relay in Athens, and their mid-training performances here confirmed their medal threat status.
Neethling also won the 200 freestyle with possibly the meet's best performance at 1:49.70, ahead of fine efforts from Scott Von Schoff, Sun Devil Aquatics, at 1:51.54 and Mark Warkentin, Tucson Ford Aquatics, at 1:52.26. Neethling’s third win was a 2:08.07 200 meter individual medley most impressive for his :27.42 hand-to-hand freestyle leg.
Schoeman was victorious in the 50 meter freestyle, the event showing perhaps the most quality depth, as there were four swims under the :23.39 OT cut.
Roland Schoeman UofA :22.70
Ryk Neethling UofA :22.85
Nick Brunelli SDA :23.03
Bobby Zaabadick SDA :23.29
Lyndon Ferns UofA :23.40
Chad Zaabadick Ariz. Gauchos :23.58
Donald Scott Goodrich Ariz. Gauchos :23.82
Ferns won the 100 meter butterfly at :54.41, ahead of Shoeman and Luis Rojas (UofA) who tied for second at :54.91. Juan Veloz (UofA) was 4th with a solid :55.54.
Dave Rollins, UofA, won the 100 meter breaststroke at 1:04.46, just .17 outside the entry requirement for Long Beach. Happily, Rollins already has at least two other standards.
Other swims of note may speak more to the future than the present.
Two 13 year old female breastrokers picked up wins with swims just off the Trials standards but under the National standard. Caitlin Leverenz, Arizona Gold, won the 100 in 1:13.54 and the 200 was won by Christine Olson, SDA, at 2:37.83.
On the men’s side, 17 year old high school senior-to-be Alex Righi, Arizona Desert Fox, won the 100 meter backstroke at :58.08, just .29 off the Trials standard. The swim is all the more impressive in that Righi was not shaved and his preparation over the previous several weeks included a 10 day vacation in El Salvador. Watch out in 2008.