ERIK VENDT PULLS OFF SURPRISE WIN, AMERICAN RECORD IN 1500
In one of the biggest upsets of the meet, Southern Cal freshman Erik Vendt won the 1500m free, beating Arizona senior Ryk Neethling, from South Africa, who had won the mile for the past three years as well as winning the 200 and 400 free earlier in the meet. Vendt also smashed the American record with his 14:31.02, breaking Chad Carvin’s 14:43.69 mark from February of this year. Neethling was third in 14:39.04, behind Michigan junior Chris Thompson, who was also under the old American record with a 14:35.95. Vendt was second to Neethling in the 400 free and also second in the 400 I.M.
Thompson, Vendt and Neethling were ahead of the pack by the first 100, with Thompson taking the lead right away and Neethling and Vendt hanging in second and third. Vendt surged at 800, dropping from 58 second 100s to 57s and quickly seizing the lead and pulling ahead. Neethling slowed to 1:00 hundreds by the 1100 mark, dropping solidly behind Thompson, though he did manage to log the fastest last 100 of the heat with a 57.48.
“Going into it I honestly didn’t think I could beat Ryk so I was just swimming my own race,” said Vendt, 19. “Chris Thompson doesn’t usually go out that fast so I was expecting him to make a move in the middle. I wasn’t planning to switch to a six beat kick until the 1,000, but I saw my teammates cheering and got caught up in the moment.”
Michigan sophomore Tim Siciliano was fourth in a 14:48.59, swimming from lane one. Arizona senior Nat Lewis, swimming in an earlier heat, was fifth in 14:57.01, and Virginia junior James Grimes was sixth in 14:57.22. Texas senior Jon Younghouse was seventh in 14:59.23, and Purdue junior Matthew Martin was eighth in 14:59.97; both swam in an earlier heat. Texas junior Scot Goldblatt was ninth in 15:02.10, and Auburn sophomore Kevin Clements was tenth in 15:07.13.