Lia Neal Among Handful of Stars to Shine on Final Night of Speedo Grand Challenge

IRVINE, California, May 25. THE Speedo Grand Challenge came to a close tonight in Irvine with a handful of strong in-season swims from those in attendance, including some powerful sprints from Stanford-located swimmers. This meet features a four-person A final format, which leads to some heightened focus on the top four in the water.

With Missy Franklin having just clocked a 55.71 in the women’s 100-meter free at the Mel Zajac minutes before the finale, some Stanford-based swimmers had an answer here in Irvine as Lia Neal (55.12) and Karlee Bispo (55.48) went 1-2 in the finale. Fresno’s Cheyenne Coffman, who had already won the 100 back earlier in the night, clocked a lifetime best 55.81 in the 100 free for third. Stanford’s Andi Murez snatched fourth in 55.99. Notably, high school sprint queen Abbey Weitzeil won the consolation heat in 56.10.

Open water champion Haley Anderson earned the women’s 800-meter freestyle title in a time of 8:44.12, while Katy Campbell finished second in the finale with an 8:47.79. Valerie Slowing of Guam placed third in 8:51.18, while Lynette Lim posted the other sub-9:00 time of the day with a fourth place time of 8:53.70.

Golden West’s Nora Deleske, 15, lowered her lifetime best in the women’s 200-meter breast by more than a second with a 2:35.12 for the win tonight. That cleared the 2:36.34 she posted at the Mesa stop of the Arena Grand Prix just a month ago. Ashley Tse (2:35.91), Kim Williams (2:36.14) and Jessica Khojasteh (2:40.38) finished 2-3-4 in the four-person finale.

PASA’s BJ Johnson had a sizzling swim in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke as he raced to a 2:12.11 for the win. That’s just a second outside the world top 20, and four seconds ahead of the rest of the pack. Trojan’s Mike Alexandrov touched second with a 2:16.34, while Carlos Almeida (2:16.44) and Stanford’s Max Williamson (2:16.89) also battled in the final four.

Fresno’s Cheyenne Coffman, already a winner in the women’s 50-meter free earlier this week, blitzed the women’s 100-meter back for a win in 1:01.60. That’s an in-season best, clearing her 1:02.00 from the 2012 Fran Crippen Memorial Meet. It’s actually her third-fastest swim of all time in the event, even better than the 1:01.78 from the 2013 U.S. Open. She could be up for a special summer. Kendyl Stewart (1:02.05), Felicia Lee (1:02.19) and Madison White (1:03.09) rounded out the top four.

Trojan’s Jacob Toumarkin followed Coffman’s win with a 56.48 to top the men’s 100-meter backstroke finale. A fitting tie occurred for second with the similarly named Brock Bonetti and Chase Bloch both posting 57.67s. Danny Tran rounded out the top four with a 58.11.

The men’s 1500-meter free followed, giving the sprinters a bit of a break, as Stanford’s Danny Thomson tracked down the men’s metric mile crown in 15:48.26. Brendan Casey finished second in 15:49.57 with Daniel O’Connor (16:04.87) and Scott Simmer (16:08.79) placing third and fourth in the finale.

One of the best names in the sport, Remedy Rule of the Shenandoah Marlins, took the women’s 200-meter fly with a 2:12.38. That’s the third-fastest time of her career, as she has a pair of 2:11s to her credit including a 2:11.24 lifetime best from the Austin stop of the Arena Grand Prix earlier this year. Noelle Tarazona (2:13.44), Jasmine Tosky (2:13.72) and Tara Halsted (2:18.79) put up the rest of the top times in the finale.

Stanford’s Bobby Bollier cracked into the win column this weekend with a 1:58.49 in the men’s 200-meter fly. Meanwhile, Aquazot Corey Okubo checked in with a second-place time of 1:59.68 as the only other sub-2:00 of the night. Cary Wright of Trojan (2:01.14) and Mickey Mowry of UCSB (2:03.43) finished third and fourth in the finale.

Cristian Quintero of Trojan posted his first in-season sub-50 with a winning time of 49.99 to win the men’s 100-meter free. He also wasn’t far off his lifetime best of 49.50 posted at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona. Utah’s Nick Soedel finished second in 50.47 with Stanford’s Alex Coville claiming third in 50.87. Trojan’s Santos Condorelli wound up fouth in 50.98.

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Author: Jason Marsteller

Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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