ATHERTON, California, September 8. Josh Schneider bested a field of seven of the fastest sprinters in history to win $10,000 and defend his title at the second iteration of the RCP Tiburon Sprint Classic, while Rowdy Gaines got the edge on Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace to win a special Battle of the Sexes.
Schneider posted a 19.63 in the 50-yard freestyle final ahead of Bovell's 19.74. In 2010, Schneider won his prize with a 19.50, but said today the shorter time span between the heat and final swim affected his ability to swim faster.
“Two years ago, we had an hour,” Schneider said, “and this year we didn't know what to expect. But it's all about racing.”
Video of men's final:
In his heat, Bovell posted a 19.39, which stood as the fastest swim of the day.
Bovell and Schneider earned their spots in the final by posting the two fastest times of the heats (Schneider swam a 19.55 in his heat.) The other six men to compete today included Fred Bousquet, who took second behind Schneider in 2010, as well as Tom Shields, Nick Brunelli, Anthony Ervin, Jimmy Feigen and Javier Noriega.
Gaines posted a quick time for a man in his mid-50s, winning the inaugural Battle of the Sexes with a 21.98. Vanderpool-Wallace took second with a 22.33. She might have had a little bit of the edge taken off her in the race against Gaines, as she had to compete in an elimination-match style heat — similar to the men's race — to earn the right to race the three-time Olympic gold medalist. Gaines, on the other hand, had the luxury of watching the heats and preparing for only one swim.
For his victory, Gaines won $2,500, which he donated to the USA Swimming Foundation, of which he is an ambassador. Had Vanderpool-Wallace won the race, she would have been able to take home the $2,500.
“If she hadn't had that (preliminary) race earlier, she definitely would have beaten me,” Gaines said after the race.
Video of Battle of the Sexes final:
The five other women who competed in the event today were Lara Jackson, Liv Jensen, Emily Silver, Dana Vollmer and Kara Lynn Joyce.
The event was held in the backyard of swimming philanthropist Tod Spieker, whose name graces the pool at UCLA. Spieker built his two-lane 25-yard pool (varying from four to six feet deep) in his backyard to keep in shape, and now has seen 16 of the fastest swimmers in history walking on his deck. Spectators got up close and personal in some ways. Many in the front row were within five feet of the pool, and felt the splashes from the swimmers.
Also held today was a special event featuring two of the greatest men to grace the pool. Matt Biondi and Tom Jager raced a 50-yard freestyle, the first time they've raced each other since the 1992 Olympics, when Biondi won silver and Jager won bronze in the 50 free. Today, Jager got the better of Biondi, winning with a time of 23.11 to Biondi's 23.18. Though the two had not competed in 20 years, they said after the race they have been swimming regularly while holding full-time jobs. Jager is the head women's coach at Washington State University, while Biondi is a math teacher at Sierra Canyon High School.
The final scheduled race of the evening was a special mixed 200 freestyle relay. Schneider, Ervin, Jager and Jensen posted a 1:22.94 to win $500 each. The foursome of Vanderpool-Wallace, Bousquet, Bovell and Biondi finished with a 1:23.57.
In a surprise announcement, Placak had a special $250 available to the winner of a 25-yard freestyle race between Schneider and Bovell less than two minutes after the finish of the relay. Schneider won that race with a 9.42, with Bovell not far behind with a 9.47. That brought Schneider's total prize earnings today to $10,750.
The famous RCP Tiburon Mile takes place tomorrow in the San Francisco Bay. Ashley Twichell, Emily Brunnemann and Michael Klueh made appearances today in Atherton to watch the sprinters before setting to take to the chillier waters in the morning for their own chances to win $10,000 each. Chloe Sutton, a previous winner of the RCP Tiburon Mile, was also in attendance today and will be a spectator at the Mile tomorrow.
Our RCP Tiburon landing page will be updated soon with videos of all the races, as well as interview with athletes.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Christine Jennings as an attendee of the Sprint Classic.