By Phillip Whitten
CHARLOTTE, NC, June 6. US National Team members Rhi Jeffrey, Tara Kirk, Maggie Bowen, Mary Descenza, Klete Keller, Ben Michaelson and Robert Margalis each notched impressive victories on the second day of competition at the Charlotte Ultraswim, hosted by the Mecklenburg A.C.
Jeffrey, 16, one of the fast-rising stars of US swimming, clocked an impressive 2:01.12 to take the 200 meter freestyle. But it was the way the Aqua Crest (FL) swimmer won her event that impressed the most.
Sixth at the 100 meter mark (1:00.14) and fourth at the final turn, Jeffrey came charging back on the final lap, splitting 28.72, to grab the win. Dynamo's Elizabeth Hill, second yesterday in the 800, was second again tonight in 2:02.88, while Mary Descenza, Academy Bullets, was third in 2:02.93.
Jeffrey negative-split her race: 1:01.14 – 59.98.
Coming from behind is not the way Stanford's Tara Kirk swims her races. Leading from the start, Kirk split 32.43, then held onto that margin to win the 100 breast in 1:09.88.
German double national champion, Sarah Poewe, swimming for the Athens Bulldogs, was second (1:10.22), while Kristy Kowal — another Bulldog — was third in 1:10.27.
Maggie Bowen, defending world champion in the 200m IM, won the 400 medley in a speedy 4:47.80, but it wasn't easy as Canadian Liz Warden battled her all the way.
Bowen, Auburn Aquatics, led Warden, Toronto All-Stars, by scant hundredths of a second through the halfway mark, as the two women battled stroke-for-stroke. But Bowen was the stronger breaststroker, gradually pulling ahead on the third leg of the race, then adding a bit to her lead on the final 100 meters.
Warden touched second in 4:50.86, while Bolles Shark Yi Ting Siow, 17, was third in 4:53.14.
Mary Descenza, Academy Bullets, swam under a minute to breeze to victory in the 100m fly. Descenza, who touched in 59.86, withstood an early challenge from 15 year-old Dana Vollmer, of Fort Worth, who fiollowed in 1:00.51.
Auburn Aquatics took the 400m free relay in 3:53.78.
Klete Keller, second yesterday in the 1500, had no trouble in winning the 200m free. Taking the lead shortly after the first lap, Keller pulled steadily away from Club Wolverine teammate Peter Vanderkaay, to win in 1:51.15. Vanderkaay followed in 1:52.68, with Davis Tarwater third in 1:53.25.
Ben Michaelson, the Southern Connecticut State University phenom, out-stroked Olympian Tom Malchow, to earn top honors in the 100m fly. Michaelson touched in 54.67, followed by Malchow (55.00) and Michael Raab (55.87).
In the men's 400m IM, St. Pete's Robert Margalis led from the very first stroke and recorded a three-second victory, clocking 4:26.60. Eric Shanteau was second in 4:29.50.
Just like their female counterparts, the men of Auburn Aquatics took the 400m free relay, clocking 3:26.77.