ANN ARBOR, Michigan, May 20. HERE’S her name again. In a meet headlined by several prime-time athletes, including the likes of Michael Phelps, Ian Crocker and Natalie Coughlin, none have measured up to the performances of Katie Hoff. As the second day of the Eric Namesnik Memorial Grand Prix came to a close, Hoff continued to be the standout performer.
Representing the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, Hoff turned in a stellar showing in the 400 individual medley, as she clocked 4:37.51 for a first-place finish. One night after winning the 200 I.M., Hoff claimed victory in the longer medley by nearly 13 seconds. Kirsten Groome was the second-place finisher with a swim of 4:50.45.
While Hoff again overwhelmed women’s action, her 13-year-old NBAC teammate, Felicia Lee, was spectacular in the 100 butterfly. After recording a time of 1:00.41 during the morning preliminaries, Lee negotiated the final in 1:00.68, fast enough to earn a win over Mary DeScenza, the University of Georgia product who went 1:01.31.
Coming off altitude training, along with his Club Wolverine teammate, Michael Phelps prevailed in the 400 I.M., an event in which he is the world-record holder. Phelps touched the wall in 4:21.19, good for a four-plus second triumph over Robert Margalis. Erik Vendt, fresh out of retirement, was the third-place finisher with a swim of 4:28.07. Phelps is the reigning Olympic champ in the event while Vendt has earned silver medals in the discipline in each of the past two Olympiads. Phelps was third in the 200 free (1:52.08), trailing Andy Hunter (Scotland) in 1:51.55 and Klete Keller (1:51.90).
There were a handful of surprises on the evening, namely in the men’s 10 butterfly and women’s 100 backstroke. In the fly, world-record holder Ian Crocker was upset by London Aquatics’ Joe Bartoch. Crocker clocked in at 54.54, just behind the 54.48 of Bartoch. Davis Tarwater was third in 54.58. As for the backstroke, world-record holder Natalie Coughlin (1:03.69) was second to Leila Vaziri, who took first in 1:03.61. Coughlin also touched second in the 200 free as her 2:02.68 was off the pace of the 2:01.12 by Erin Reilly.
One of the top swims of the night belonged to Jessica Hardy, the American-record holder in the 100 breaststroke. Hardy won her prime event in 1:09.12. Other winners included Mark Gangloff in the men’s 100 breast (1:05.00). Todd Patrick won the men’s 100 backstroke in 57.78.