Ervin Sizzles on Final Day of Speedo Grand Challenge

By Phillip Whitten

LOS ANGELES, May 25. UP until now, sprint phenom Anthony Ervin has had just a so-so year…for him. Maybe that's because he took several months off and didn't begin training until January. At NCAAs he swam well, but was hardly Ervinesque, falling to Auburn's Fred Bousquet in the 50 and teammate Duje Draganja in the 100.

Two days ago here at the Speedo Grand Challenge, he showed little of the lightning speed for which he is famous in the 50. So not much was expected of him today in the 100.

Wrong! Anthony is in a class all by himself. He doesn't follow the same rules as other swimmers, and he's not predictable. Today Anthony showed up ready to swim fast. And that's precisely what he did.

Splitting 23.58 at the 50, the Cal Aquatics ace smoked a strong international field to win in 49.81. Russia's Dennis Pimankov was almost a second in arrears (50.72) with Igor Martchenko and Ryk Neethling following.

Ervin was by no means the entire story today, as four meet records were washed into the gutters. Most impressive was South Africa's Roland Schoeman who destroyed the meet mark of 25.09 in the 50 fly with a hot 23.88. Also under the old record was his Springbok teammate, Ryk Neethling (24.52) and Martchenko (24.53).

Cal Aquatics' and Thailand's Alex Lim set another meet record when he clocked 26.51 to win the 50 back and edge teammate Gordan Kozulj (26.730, who had beaten him in the 100 and 200.

Two women smashed Kristine Quance-Julian's 2000 record of 2:14.03 in the women's 200m fly. Britain's Margie Pedder trailed Trojan teammate Kaitlin Sandeno at every turn, but her 33.97-second final 50 was 44-hundredths faster than Sandeno's, and it was just enough to give her the victory, 2:12.70 to 2:12.72.

Tamas Kerekjarto set a meet record of 2:00.95 in the men's 200 fly, earning his fifth victory here. The old mark was 2:01.55 by Juan Veloz in 2000.

Lindsay Benko and Adrienne Binder waged a furious battle in the 800 free, with Binder ahead at every turn except the 400, where Benko led by 7-hundredths at 4:20.97. But the veteran uncorked a final 100 of 1:02.35 to Binder's 1:03.13 to win by half a second, 8:39.50 to 8:40.09.

Benko's splits: 4:20.97 – 4:18.53.
Binder's splits: 4:21.04 – 4:19.05.

In contrast, Larsen Jensen had it all his way in the men's 1500, as his 15:39.29 was the only sub-16 minute effort in the event.

In other women's events:
* Haley Cope upset Cal Aquatics teammate Natalie Coughlin to take the 50 back, 29.37 to 29.68.

* Bethany Goodwin, NOVA, defeated Cope in the 50 fly, 27.72 to 28.05.

* Stacianna Stitts took the 200 breast in 2:35.14.

* Natalie Coughlin squeaked by Colleen Lanne to take the 100 free, 56.28 to 56.41. Benko was third in 57.36.

In the other men's event:
* Nuk Sirisanont overtook Dave Denniston to win the 200 breast in 2:20.95.

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