By Phillip Whitten
ORLANDO, Florida, February 10. THERE'S nothing like home cooking.
Just ask Larsen Jensen, of the Mission Viejo Nadadores. Reportedly struggling in his freshman year at USC, Jensen took a leave just one month ago to train with Bill Rose, his club coach, under whom he developed his American record-breaking form less than two years ago.
With Jensen in the early stages of readjustment to his old training program, no one expected anything spectacular from the 18 year-old. But that homestyle cooking must have made a difference as he confounded the experts and surprised both Coach Rose and himself, stroking to a solid win in the 800, clocking 7:53.29.
Jensen led at every turn except the halfway mark, when his Mission teammate Justin Mortimer briefly grabbed the lead, 3:57.98 to 3:58.58. But Jensen quickly regained the lead and began stretching it out to win by almost five seconds at the end. Mortimer touched in 7:58.04 followed by Chris Thompson at 8:02.47, Korean Mo Cho Sung at 8:03.14 and Eric Vendt at 8:03.56.
Jensen split 3:58.58 – 3:54.71.
On the women's side, the race was for second place right from the start. Japan's Sachiko Yamada, exorcising the demon that had prevented her from swimming well outside Japan, followed up her New York World Cup victories with a decisive win in the women's 800 tonight.
Leading from the first stroke, Yamada kept lengthening her lead, finally lighting up the scoreboard at 8:25.62 — 11 seconds ahead of 16 year-old Alyssa Kiel, who won the battle for silver at 8:36.77.
Twenty-seven year-old Rachel Komisarz was third in 8:38.05 with pre-race favorite Diana Munz fourth in 8:38.14.
Defending double Olympic champ Brooke Bennett faded to seventh in 8:45.33. Other notable finishers: Maddy Crippen, 9th, and Mary Hill, tenth.
Yamada split 4:11.25 – 4:14.37.