By Phillip Whitten
CLOVIS, Calif., Aug. 14. THE younger siblings of two US Olympians emerged with their first national titles on the first day of competition at the USA Swimming National Championships in Clovis, California.
Sixteen year-old Kalyn Keller, the kid sister of national record-holder Klete Keller, a 2000 Olympic silver and bronze medalist, took advantage of the absence of Olympic champion Brooke Bennett to win the women's 800 meter freestyle in convincing fashion.
Fran Crippen, 17, the brother of Olympic finalist Maddy Crippen did the same in the men's 800. Both teenagers won by over four seconds.
Keller's Sun Devil (Arizona) teammate, Ashley Chandler, who won the 400 meters at the Spring Nationals last March, led through the first half of the race, with Keller on her shoulder, as both women reached the halfway mark in 4:15. That's when Keller kicked it in gear and took command.
At the end, Keller won with a lifetime best 8:37.14. Adrienne Binder was second in 8:41.55, just edging Magdale Dyszkewicz, 8:41.75. Chandler faded to eighth.
At 200 meters, Crippen found himself in third place, trailing Olympic medalists Chad Carvin and Chris Thompson. But gradually, the Germantown (Pennsylvania) Academy senior overtook his older and more experienced rivals, leaving them in his wake.
Crippen touched in 7:59.86, a lifetime best by seven seconds. Thompson, almost five seconds back, overtook Carvin to grab second.
Women's 800 meter freestyle
1. Kalyn Keller 8:37.14
2. Adrienne Binder 8:41.55
3. Magdale Dyszkewicz 8:41.75
Men's 800 meter freestyle
1. Fran Crippen 7:59.86
2. Chris Thompson 8:04.80
3. Chad Carvin 8:05.55