MISSION VIEJO, California, June 25. THE Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions heated up during the third day of long course meter action.
Trojan's Yuliya Efimova must be enjoying time training alongside Rebecca Soni, as evidenced by a scorching time of 2:23.66 in the women's 200 breast. That effort smashed Soni's 2008 meet and pool record of 2:25.33, and moved Efimova to second in the world this year behind Soni's top-ranked 2:23.27 from February. Kanako Watanabe (2:23.90) is the only other swimmer under 2:24 this year. Efimova gave Anastasia Chaun's Russian record of 2:23.50 a run with her time today as well. Chaun clocked her national record in August 2010. Minnesota's Jillian Tyler finished a distant second tonight in 2:28.65, while training partner Haley Spencer finished third in 2:29.30.
The men's 200 breast proved to be chock full of storylines. First off, Japan's Kosuke Kitajima demolished the meet record in the event with a 2:11.02. That time beat Genki Imamura's 2005 meet and pool standard of 2:13.12, but came up short of Kitajima's third-ranked season best of 2:09.26. Mike Brown finished second in 2:15.75, while Trojan's Andrew Bree picked up third in 2:17.90.
Bree, 30, cleared Ed Moses' FINA Masters world record in the men's 30-34 200 breast with his third-place 2:17.90. The question remains if Bree is registered as a Masters swimmer. If not, then Moses will maintain possession of the record. Moses downed Nick Gillingham's FINA Masters world record in the men's 30-34 200 breast with a 2:19.67 to qualify fourth out of prelims. That performance wiped out the 2:20.43 set by Gillingham back in 1999. Moses wound up fifth this evening in 2:20.35.
Another newsworthy performance occurred during prelims of the men's 200 breast. Steve West, 39, qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials this morning with a fifth-seeded 2:20.65, , and just missed the men's 35-39 200 breast FINA Masters world record of 2:20.29 set by Gillingham in 2004. The Trials cut is 2:20.79.
At 39 years of age, West broke the record for the oldest male American to qualify for an Olympic Trials. The record was previously held by Wally Dicks, who was 37 when he qualified for and swam at Trials in 2000 in the 100 breast. West, an All-American at Michigan, has swum at Trials before, previously competing in 1992, 1996 and 2000. West previously swam as an age grouper for Dave Salo at Irvine Novaquatics.
FAST's Katie Hoff whipped up a meet and pool record in the women's 200 free with a 1:58.08 for the win. That performance clipped the 1:58.80 set by Kate Ziegler back in 2007, but was short of Hoff's 18th-ranked season best of 1:57.97 from March. Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton snatched second place with a 2:00.42, while FAST's Whitney Myers earned third in 2:00.56.
Snow's Matt McLean edged FAST's Tyler Clary, 1:49.68 to 1:49.98, for the men's 200 free victory. Canada's Blake Worsley wound up third in 1:50.47. Clary responded in the men's 400 IM with a meet-record time of 4:16.45. That time crushed his previous mark of 4:19.46 set in 2010, but was short of Clary's 15th-ranked season best of 4:14.80 from March. FAST's Robert Margalis took second in 4:22.96, while Delaware's Andrew Gemmell touched third in 4:26.45.
Erica Morningstar touched out New Zealand's Hayley Palmer, 26.07 to 26.11, in the women's 50 free. Trojan's Jan Kolukanova-Haitz completed the top three in 26.37. Club Wolverine's Barry Murphy turned in a 23.06 to win the men's 50 free. Redlands' Joey Hale finished second in 23.27, while Trojan's Octavio Alesi posted a third-place 23.38.
Trojan's Haley Anderson touched in 4:45.61 to win the women's 400 IM, while Pacific Sea Wolf Katie Caldwell finished second in 4:49.98. FAST's Emily Brunemann wound up third in 4:50.50.