By Phillip Whitten
SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 21. NATALIE Coughlin, Brendan Hansen and Michael Phelps all set meet records to highlight the action on the second day of the 37th Santa Clara International Swim Meet at the George Haines Aquatic Center.
In the very first event, the 100 meter freestyle, Natalie took the lead at the start, split 26.44 at the 50 and came storming home in 54.77. The time broke her own meet mark of 54.93, set in 2002, the year in which she tore up the competition and the record book.
Veteran Colleen Lanne was a strong second in 55.90, followed by Stefanie Williams, 56.45.
Masters swimmer Trina Radke, 33, a 1988 Olympian, placed 12th in 57.47.
Brendan Hansen duplicated Natalie’s feat in the next event, breaking his own meet record in the 100 meter breaststroke. The Texas Aquatics ace took the race out hard, splitting 29.04 at the 50, then brought it home in 1:01.80. His old record was 1:02.13 set last year. Second place went to Canadian Scott Dickens in 1:02.66.
Michael Phelps accounted for the third individual meet record and, surprisingly, though he set a world record in the 200 IM at this meet last year, he did not own the meet mark in the 400 IM. He does now.
Taking a lead of more than two seconds over Erik Vendt and a star-studded field on the fly, Michael was never headed, though the gritty Vendt – the 2000 Olympic silver medalist in this event — cut the lead to 1.43 seconds at the end of the breaststroke leg
At the wall, it was Phelps, 4:14.98; Vendt, 4:17.23. The previous meet record, 4:18.74, was set nine years ago, by Sergei Mariniuk.
The Athens Buldogs’ women’s free relay accounted for the fourth meet record set today, as the University of Georgia grads clocked 3:47.03 to erase the old standard of 3:48.52 by Texas Aquatics in 2001. The UBC Dolphins were a distant second today in 3:52.94.
In other results today:
• 2000 Olympic champ Tom Malchow breezed to an easy win in the 200 fly, clocking 1:58.66.
• Tara Kirk fought off a determined Stacianna stiits to win the 200 breast in 2:28.26 to Stitts’ 2:29.79.
• Canada’s Brent Hayden used a fast final 50 meter sprint to win the men’s 200 free in 1:50.26. Compatriot Mark Johnston was second in 1:50.39 while Neil Walker, who led through 150 meters, faded to third in 1:50.57.
• Diana Munz even-split the 400 free to win in 4:12.90. Close behind were Adrienne Binder, Kate Ziegler and Sara McLarty – all at 4:13. Seventh place went to 1988 Olympian Erika Hansen, 34, who clocked 4:18.58.
• Mary Descenza took the 100 fly in 1:00.06, ahead of Dana Kirk and Tanica Jamison.
• Club Wolverine battled the UBC Dolphins stroke-for-stroke in the men’s 400 free relay before out-touching the Canucks, 3:23.87 to 3:23.92.
The Dolphins, however, hold a commanding lead in the team race with 268 points. Club Wolverine is second with 210, followed by the Athens Bulldogs (208) and the Trojans (190).