LONG ISLAND, NY, July 19. IF U.S.A. Swimming's Grand Prix Series is viewed as a stepping-stone to this summer's Phillips 66 Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale
next month, then Badger's Kim Kelly is making some giant steps.
Kelly, who on opening night stroked to an impressive 400 free victory, made it two-for-two tonight with a 4:19.21 triumph in the 400 free at the Long Island Grand Prix here.
The meet is underway and continues through Sunday at the Nassau Aquatics Complex, site of the 1998 Goodwill Games swimming competition.
"I’m really excited with the way I’ve been swimming," Kelly said. "I’ve been training hard all week, so I’m pretty happy to be able to come out and swim some pretty solid times today."
Coming into the meet, Kelly wasn’t sure what to expect. She and her teammates rested a few days for a meet in Montreal last weekend, then returned home for some tough training this week.
Her performance here has helped build her confidence going into Nationals, which are slated for Aug. 12-17 and willserve as the selection meet for the Pan-Pac Championships in Yokohama.
"I knew there would be a lot of competition here, and I’m very happy with the way I’ve been swimming," Kelly added. "I’m really looking forward to Nationals."
Kelly wasn’t the only swimmer to take away a little more confidence after her swim Friday. Tampa's Carlie Dykehouse, 19, won the 200 butterfly with a 2:16.92.
"That’s what I went at Nationals last year," Dykehouse said. "Our coach wanted us to come here and swim fast, so he gave us a few days of rest to prepare."
Dykehouse’s goal for Nationals is to make an international traveling team and she thinks her swim tonight shows she’s on the right track.
"I just have to drop a few seconds to do that, and I felt really good tonight," she said. "I felt like I could go faster."
Dykehouse’s teammate, Katie Gordon, felt the same way, taking first in the 200 back with a 2:20.11, then finished third in the 400 free with a 4:22.55.
"I’ve been training pretty hard lately, so I came into this meet intending to use it as a training meet, and wasn’t too worried about my times," Gordon said.
"I’ll take a little bit of confidence going into Nationals, because I’m more sure of my training after swimming here."
In the men’s 200 fly, Auburn All-America Andrew Mahaney, training in Atlanta, won in 2:01.05. His pr is 1:58.25 from last summer's World University Games in Beijing.
"It’s all about race rehearsal – knowing how it’s going to feel and getting ready to race," Mahaney said. "I was a little slower tonight than last year,
but I split really well, and I hope that gets me ready for what I want to do."
In other races, Casmera Wick of Rutgers surprised the field with a win from Lane 10 in the 100 free, clocking 58.42.
Two meet records also fell. Brazilian Olympian Gustavo Borges set the first with his win in the 100 (50.82). Another Brazilian, Gabriel Mangaberra of Gator Swim Club and the University of Florida, won the 200 back in 2:05.26.
Interestingly, Borges almost holds Grand Prix meet records on both coasts, as until this evening he held the standard in the 100 free (50 flat) at the Janet Evans Invitational in Los Angeles. However, that time was swept beneath the waves of the McDonald's Olympic Pool by NOVA's Jason Lezak, who clocked 49.84 en route to the win there tonight.
Gator's Ricardo Montesterio, who set a meet record here opening night with his 8:02+ 800 free triumph, made it two-for-two this evening with his 3:54.31 400 free win — a pr and Venezuelan national-record. His old pr and NR was a 3:54.37 from the South American Championships two years ago.
And for the second-straight night he defeated Germantown's U.S. Nationals champ Fran Crippen. The race was a rematch from Thursday's 800 free, in which Montesterio just edged Crippen for the win.
Montesterio won a bit more handily in the 400, with Crippen finishing in 3:58.25. The latter's pr is 3:52.79 from last summer's Nationals at Clovis.
– Bill Bell