ATHENS, Georgia, July 13. IF the first night of action at the Speedo Southern Zone Sectionals is any indication as to what awaits at Summer Nationals, fans are in for a treat when action gets rolling in Southern California. Fast swimming was the theme Thursday night with Club Wolverine and the Athens Bulldogs leading the way.
Continuing his superb tuneup performances, Michael Phelps (Club Wolverine) was spectacular en route to victory in the 200-meter butterfly. The eight-time Olympic medalist and world-record holder in the event, Phelps obliterated the competition by clocking a mark of 1:55.65, well ahead of the 2:02.57 effort turned in by A.J. Tipton. Third place went to Gil Stovall in 2:02.66.
Also taking down victories for Club Wolverine were Erik Vendt and Kaitlin Sandeno. Contesting the 800 freestyle, Vendt dipped under the eight-minute mark with a showing of 7:59.77. The swim was further proof that Vendt’s comeback is progressing nicely. He was followed by Wolverine teammates Klete Keller (8:03.39) and Matt Patton (8:05.89).
One of the newest additions to the mix at Club Wolverine, Sandeno prevailed in the 200 individual medley when she touched the wall in 2:16.27. She was followed by Emily Kukors (2:16.97) and 17-year-old Elaine Breeden (2:17.90). In the 200 fly, Breeden came out on top in 2:11.55, which just edged the 2:11.78 of Mary DeScenza.
The 50 freestyle events provided stellar times as Kara Lynn Joyce won among the women and Cullen Jones defeated the field on the men’s side. Joyce sizzled to a time of 25.13 and was followed by Amanda Weir in 25.41 and Maritza Correia in 25.71. As for Jones, the NCAA champ in the 50-yard free for North Carolina State, he won in a strong effort of 22.09. Cameron Hollinger was second in 22.77.
The men’s version of the 200 I.M. was won by Eric Shanteau in 2:02.61, an outing that bettered the 2:03.68 of Robert Margalis. On the women’s side, Rachel Komisarz took top honors in the 800 free behind a swim of 8:41.42. She finished nearly 14 seconds ahead of Laura Conway (8:55.23).