SANTA CLARA, California, June 30. THE third night of long course meter competition at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix event provided some epic battles as well as several meet records. The meet, held in Santa Clara, Calif., from June 28-July 1, also showcased swimming superstar Michael Phelps.
Phelps doubled up with a pair of meet-record swims. First, he claimed the 400 freestyle title in 3:47.34 to surpass former Club Wolverine teammate Klete Keller's 3:49.74 set last year. To do so, he held off second-place finisher Michael Klueh of Longhorn, who clocked a 3:50.83 just in front of third-place Ryan Cochrane of Island Swimming's 3:50.89.
Phelps then tied Aaron Peirsol's meet standard in the 200 back set in 2004 with a time of 1:56.95, just two seconds off Ryan Lochte's global standard of 1:54.32 set in Melbourne at Worlds. Unfortunately, Lochte missed this meet due to an apparent shoulder injury. Wonder how fast the time might have been with those two going at it again? David Cromwell touched out Longhorn teammate Nick Thoman, 2:01.08 to 2:01.88, for second-place honors.
Australia's Eamon Sullivan touched out Stanford's Ben Wildman-Tobriner for a meet record in the 50 free. Sullivan clocked a 22.30 to squeeze by the 22.32 set by Bart Kizierowski in 2001. Meanwhile, Wildman-Tobriner hit the wall in 22.35 for second place, while Brent Hayden of Canada (22.73) and Lyndon Ferns of South Africa (22.77) battled for third.
The loaded championship heat also featured South Africa's Roland Schoeman (22.85), Arizona's Scott Goodrich (22.88) and South Africa's Ryk Neethling (23.00) taking fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.
In the men's 100 fly, Ferns posted a 53.71 to knock off Wildcat's Matt Grevers (54.01) for the title. Jason Dunford, swimming for Stanford Swimming, placed just behind in 54.05 for third.
The women also provided some fireworks as Stanford's Julia Smit claimed a three-second triumph in the women's 400 IM with a time of 4:40.33. She placed ahead of Caitlin Leverenz, 16, who clocked a second-place 4:43.06 while representing El Dorado Aquatics. Another 16-year-old, Jessica Rodriguez of Longhorn, rounded out the top three in 4:44.58.
In a head-to-head matchup of a women's breaststroke rivalry, world record holder Leisel Jones of Australia touched out Stanford's Tara Kirk, 1:07.09 to 1:07.35, for the 100-meter crown. Jones' teammate Sarah Katsoulis held off KING Aquatics' Megan Jendrick for third place, 1:09.70 to 1:09.79.
Another race came down to the touch in the women's 200 free as Australia's Kelly Stubbins beat Club Wolverine's Allison Schmitt by .03 seconds, 2:00.33 to 2:00.36. Stubbins' compatriot, Shayne Reese, closed out the podium with a third-place 2:01.14 in a tight race of her own, holding off Club Wolverin's Kaitlin Sandeno (2:01.22), California's Erin Reilly (2:01.52) and Auburn's Emily Kukors (2:01.90.
International youngsters ruled the women's 100 back as Japan's Shiho Sakai, 16, touched out Australia's Emily Seebohm, 15, 1:01.81 to 1:01.87 for the event title. Meanwhile, Australia's Meagen Nay placed third in 1:02.18 to beat narrowly Japan's Tomoyo Fukuda (1:02.51) and Athens Bulldog Mary DeScenza (1:02.73).