By Phillip Whitten
December 2. TEEN phenom Katie Hoff and Ryan Lochte each ended the second day of the US Open, being held at Auburn University, with three gold medals, but it was The Flying Dutchman, Pieter van den Hoogenband, who stole the show.
Hoogie, who missed the 2005 World Championships due to a hernia operation, wasted no time in announcing to the world that he is back. The Dutch icon zoomed to a 1:47.87 in the prelims of the 200-meter freestyle this morning, as no other swimmer cracked 1:50.
But that was just a prelude to his evening performance. Hoogie exploded off the blocks, immediately taking charge of the race. At the 100, he had over a two-second lead on US Olympian Klete Keller, 51.15 to 53.20. Keller was stronger on the back half, 54.36 to 55.08, but there was never any doubt about the outcome.
Hoogie touched in 1:46.23, a ridiculous early season time, while Keller’s 1:47.56 is easily his early season best.
Once again, North Baltimore’s Katie Hoff provided ample evidence that she is ready to take her game to a new level. After winning the 200 IM last night in 2:11.91, Katie took back-to-back events tonight.
She began with a 1:59.47 (58.74 – 1:00.73) in the 200 free – less than two-tenths off her lifetime best – and followed scant minutes later with a 1:00.18 for the 100 fly.
Both events showcased the next generation of American women. In the 200, Katie was chased by Auburn’s Emily Kukors in a pr 2:00.49 with SwimAtlanta’s Amanda Weir third in 2:00.72. Finishing fourth was St. Pete’s fast-rising Megan Romano, 14, in a pr 2:01.96. Romano is definitely a young woman to watch for the future – the very near future.
In the 100 fly, 13 year-old Felicia Lee of (where else?) North Baltimore touched second in 1:01.05, giving NBAC a 1-2 finish. Scotland’s Stephanie Hill was third in 1:01.74, just ahead of 14 year-old Samantha Woodward of Kerr-McGee, 1:01.79. In all, five of the six Americans in the final were 16 or under.
In the women’s 100m back, six of the eight finalists were 16 or younger, and there were two 13 year-olds in the B final. Auburn’s Margaret Hoelzer led all the way to win in 1:02.26. Second went to 16 year-old Lauren English, Cougar Aquatics, in 1:03.81, while 15 year-old Kristen Shickora, Atlantis, took third in 1:04.02.
North Baltimore’s Courtney Kalisz, 15, ran away with the 400 IM, recording a pr 4:45.64. After building a seven second lead at the end of the breaststroke, she eased up on the final leg as Auburn’s Adrienne Binder stroked home in 4:50.64 for second.
King Aquatics took the 400 medley relay in 4:15.92 on the strength of Megan Jendricks’ 1:09.09 breaststroke split. North Baltimore was second in 4:17,.84 followed by Auburn in 4:18.73.
Florida’s Ryan Lochte, winner of the 200 IM and 200 back on the opening night, added the 100 back. Lochte held a lead of only .05 seconds at the turn, as five men flipped with less than a tenth of a second separating them. That’s when Lochte pulled away to win as he pleased in 55.38. Adam Mania was a second back at 56.36.
Lochte's bid for a fourth gold medal was thwarted, however, when Scotland’s Todd Cooper took the 100 fly in 53.66. Ben Michaelson was third, 54.14, while 16 year-old Dan Madwed followed in 54.31. Lochte was fifth, 54.34.
Robert Margalis and Eric Shanteau renewed their rivalry in the 400 IM, but it was Margalis all the way this time. Swimming for St. Petersburg, the Georgia grad touched in 4:23.94, comfortably ahead of Shanteau at 4:26.52.
The 400 medley relay witnessed an upset, as the University of Alabama used Vlad Polyakov’s 1:01.12 breaststroke split to win in 3:49.26. Scotland and Florida followed in 3:50.61 and 3;50.84.