IRVINE, California, May 24. THE Speedo Grand Challenge is quickly becoming the favorite meet for Stanford’s Maya DiRado. She broke into world-class levels of speed last year at the meet, and has returned on fire this year. The meet is known for its unique four-person final setup, where only four swimmers compete in the A final each night.
A day after winning the women’s 200-meter IM, DiRado charged her way to victory in the women’s 400-meter IM by a large margin. DiRado, Stanford’s breakout star in the past year since her career meet here at the Grand Challenge a year ago, turned in a 4:43.98 for the win. Kim Williams (4:51.72), Trojan’s Haley Anderson (4:55.22) and Stanford’s Tara Halsted (4:57.98) also competed in the final four.
DiRado then captured her third title of the meet and second of the evening as she raced to a 2:12.97 in the women’s 200-meter back as she continued to own this meet. Kendyl Stewart of North Coast placed second in 2:14.48 with Madison White (2:17.30) and Tara Halsted (2:21.49) placing third and fourth.
The men’s splash-and-dash kicked off the night with Stanford’s Alex Coville earning the victory in 23.04 in what proved to be an exciting finish. Trojan’s Cristian Quintero (23.07) and Utah’s Nick Soedel (23.08) finished just behind the winner to take second and third. Trojan’s Santos Condorelli rounded out the championship four with a 23.45.
Karlee Bispo, currently training at Palo Alto after a successful career at Texas, edged Stanford’s Andi Murez in the women’s 200-meter free, 2:00.35 to 2:00.58. Meanwhile, Trojan’s Jasmine Tosky checked in with a third-place 2:01.87, while Stanford’s Julia Anderson claimed the fourth spot in the finale with a 2:02.78.
Aquazot’s Corey Okubo broke 4:19 for the first time ever with a sizzling time of 4:18.90 to win the men’s 400-meter IM. That effort cleared his previous lifetime best of 4:19.06 set at the 2013 Speedo Junior Nationals. Stanford’s Max Williamson also posted a personal record with a second-place 4:19.06. That surpassed his 4:20.74 from the 2013 U.S. Open. Aquazot’s Ken Takahashi (4:31.06) and Alex Peterson (4:31.29) finished third and fourth in the four-person finale.
Alex Valente, 17, took down a couple of veterans in the men’s 100-meter fly with a 53.43. That’s his first time under 54 seconds, lowering his personal best of 54.20 from 2013 Juniors. Stanford’s Jason Dunford (53.85) and Bobby Bollier (54.08) placed second and third with Rose’s Sascha Subarsky claiming fourth in 54.95. In the consolation heat, Trojan’s Maclin Davis surged to a 54.04.
In an exciting battle, North Coast’s Kendyl Stewart powered her way to victory in the women’s 100-meter fly against Stanford’s Felicia Lee, 59.39 to 59.48. Stewart split the race 27.90, 31.49 against Lee’s 28.25, 31.23. Lee nearly made up the distance on the backhalf, but ran out of room. UCLA’s Katie Kinnear (1:01.44) and Trojan’s Jasmine Tosky (1:01.59) also competed in the championship heat.
Trojan’s Jacob Toumarkin earned the men’s 200-meter backstroke title in 2:02.30 with Aquazots Thomas Smith (2:02.97), Corey Okubo (2:03.22) and Danny Tran (2:03.70) comprising the rest of the finale field. Trojan’s Cristian Quintero closed the curtains on the finale with a 3:56.75 to win the men’s 400-meter free. Stanford’s Tom Kremer (3:59.06), AGUA’s John Nunez (4:00.76) and Armada’s Ryan Kao (4:02.47) also competed in the four-person finale.