LOS ANGELES, Calif., USA, July 15. ALTHOUGH Chris DeJong will not compete at this month’s World Championships, the Club Wolverine standout has been an ever-improving presence in the 200-meter backstroke. Soon, he could be a major player in the event on the international stage.
On the second night of action at the Janet Evans Invitational, DeJong had little trouble capturing first place in the distance dorsal. Posting a time of 1:58.76 at the McDonald’s Swim Stadium, DeJong easily defeated Stanford’s Hongzhe Sun (2:02.67). His time is the sixth-fastest in the world this year.
While Aaron Peirsol and Ryan Lochte will represent the United States in the 200 back at the World Champs, DeJong will compete in August at the World University Games in Turkey. Last spring, DeJong took third place in the 200 back at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis.
In the 100-meter freestyle finals, a pair of Olympians delivered victories. For the women, Rhi Jeffrey covered the two-lap distance in 56.84, quick enough to defeat Courtney Cashion (57.35). In Athens, Jeffrey earned gold in the 800 free relay by swimming in the morning preliminaries. As for Burnett, the British Olympian won his race in 50.27, ahead of the 51.17 registered by Chad Hankewich. Burnett left Athens with a seventh-place showing.
Coming off a Thursday night triumph in the 800 freestyle, Hayley Peirsol cruised to victory in the 400 free with a swim of 4:13.53, better than the 4:16.18 of Kalyn Keller. Blake Hayter picked up third place with a performance of 4:17.27. On the male side, Tyler DeBerry outdistanced Ryan Cochrane, 3:57.81-3:58.53. The outcome was a reversal of the 800 free final from Thursday night.
Other first-place finishes were notched by Dana Kirk in the women’s 200 butterfly (2:11.86), Tamas Kerekjarto in the men’s 200 butterfly (2:00.72) and Aya Terakawa in the women’s 200 back (2:12.70). Juan Veloz was a close second in the men’s 200 fly with a time of 2:00.79.