By Kari Lydersen
Photos by Michael Collins
The 800 free promises to be an exciting race, with 400 IM champion Kaitlin Sandeno, 400 free champion Diana Munz and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Brooke Bennett battling it out. All three won their prelim heats in smooth, controlled, easy victories.
Bennett, 20, representing Brandon Blue Wave (FL), qualified first with an 8:32.84. Munz, 18, representing Lake Erie Silver Dolphins, qualified second in 8:33.47. Sandeno, 17, representing Nellie Gail Gators, qualified fifth with an 8:42.75, but her masterful negative-splitting shows she is capable of going much faster.
Sandeno was in seventh for most of the first half of the race, taking it out in a 4:24.9. After the halfway point she began picking it up each 50. She finally passed leader Kalyn Keller on the last 100 to win by a second. Sandeno negative split the race by a full seven seconds, going 4:17.8 in the second half.
In comparison, Munz took out the first 100 in 1:00.68 and ended up with 4:13.47/ 4:20.00 400 splits.
Julie Varozza, 23, swimming for Santa Clara, qualified third in 8:36.50, and Cristina Teuscher, who battled it out with Varozza in their prelim heat, was fourth in 8:39.45. 15-year-old Keller qualified sixth behind Sandeno at 8:43.55, and Rachel Komisarz was seventh at 8:43.86. Magda Dyszkiewicz qualified eighth in 8:45.12.
For live results feeds check the OMEGA TIMING site.
Full results and schedule of events are available from US Swimming