SANTA CLARA, Calif., USA, June 26. THE field that lined up for the 50-meter freestyle championship at the Santa Clara Invitational on Saturday was loaded. Olympic champs. World-championship medalists. So, it wasn’t surprising that the final result was of the sizzling variety.
Covering the one-lap sprint in 22.36, Poland’s Bart Kizierowski bested some sterling competition and positioned himself well for the World Championships in Montreal next month. Kizierowski’s time easily topped the 22.74 mark of South Africa’s Roland Schoeman. Jason Lezak was third in the 22.78 and Croatia’s Duje Draganja claimed fourth place in 22.83.
Kizierowski is no stranger to big-time performances, as the 28-year-old has been a major player on the international scene for years. A three-time Olympian, Kizierowski has annually ranked in the top-10 in the world. He was ninth in the 50 free at the Athens Olympics, just missing a spot in the final.
Coming off victories from Friday night, Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin each posted first-place performances on Saturday. Phelps was the winner of the 100 butterfly in 52.74, more than a second faster than the 53.79 of Gabe Mangabeira. Schoeman secured third in 53.93. As for Coughlin, she won the 200 freestyle in 1:59.97, just off the meet record she set in the preliminaries (1:59.83).
Kirsty Coventry and Aaron Peirsol, both Olympic champions, claimed event victories. Coventry, the 200 back champ in Athens, won the 400 individual medley with a clocking of 4:43.29. Peirsol, meanwhile, toppled the competition in the 200 backstroke, as he touched the wall in 2:01.29. Bryce Hunt was second with a time of 2:02.50.
In other action, Jessica Hardy notched a meet record in the 100 breaststroke with a mark of 1:08.25. That time held off Tara Kirk, who was closing down the stretch and finished the race in 1:08.50. Both Hardy and Kirk are looking for medal finishes at the World Champs.
Coming off a second-place swim in the 200 freestyle from Friday, Peter Vanderkaay was the victor in the 400 freestyle. Vanderkaay negotiated the distance in 3:51.56 and defeated Klete Keller, his Club Wolverine teammate. Keller finished in 3:53.93. In the women’s 100 backstroke, Aya Terakawa was the winner in 1:02.09, better than the 1:02.43 of Margaret Hoelzer.