INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 28. BREEJA Larson of the Aggies won the head-to-head battle with Trojan's Jessica Hardy to settle just who the best female breaststroke of the meet is by winning the rubber match in the women's 100-meter breast at the U.S. Nationals and World Championship Trials.
While Hardy, the world-record holder and 50-meter breaststroke winner from earlier this week, had the lead at the turn, 30.91 to 30.94, Larson had enough speed down the stretch for the win. Larson, the 200-meter winner, threw down a 35.22 final split against Hardy's 35.58 to win the race 1:06.16 to 1:06.49.
Larson moved to third in the world behind Ruta Meilutyte (1:05.20) and Rikke Moeller Pedersen (1:06.05) with her time, but has more in the tank with a lifetime best of 1:05.92 from last summer's U.S. Trials.
Hardy remained fourth in the world with her swim, and definitely can improve in time for Barcelona with a non-techsuit best time of 1:05.90 to her credit from 2011. Her world-record of 1:04.45 from the 2009 U.S. Open came during the techsuit era, and may be out of reach for quite some time.
SwimMAC's Micah Lawrence, who took second in the 200 to Larson earlier this week, finished third in 1:07.27 with Tennessee's Molly Hannis earning fourth in 1:07.48.
Bluefish's Laura Sogar (1:07.88), Santa Barbara's Katy Freeman (1:08.00), Wisconsin's Ashley Wanland (1:09.02) and T2's Justine Mueller (1:09.22) wrapped up the rest of the national-title contenders.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Megan Jendrick took down the B final field with a late charge as she won in 1:08.80. Jendrick, who won two golds at the 2000 Sydney Games, is still returning to form after becoming a mother in 2011.
NBAC's Annie Zhu raced her way to the C final win in 1:09.84. She's been faster, however, as she posted a 1:08.84 lifetime best just last summer at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships.