By Kevin Noth, SwimInfo Special Correspondent
Photos by Tim Morse
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 25. SIMON Burnett swam away from the field inthe final 50 yards of the 200 freestyle, reclaiming the individual title he won in 2003. The Arizona junior closed with a 23.60 final 50 split, outdistancing himself from Michigan’s Peter Vanderkaay and holding off a hard-charging Andy Grant of Stanford.
Burnett touched in 1:33.23, .43 ahead of Vanderkaay who took second (1:33.71) and .69 ahead of Grant in third-place (1:33.97). The victory was a bit of redemption for Burnett who finished fourth in last year’s event after claiming the NCAA title in 2003.
“I was confident going into the race but I didn’t want to be cocky,” Burnett said. “I knew going in that it was going to be a tough race because anything can happen. Everyone in the race is excellent. Vanderkaay and Grant are great swimmers and I knew that I just had to go out and race how I normally do and hope for the best.”
Three months ago, Burnett popped a 1:32.22 mark at the Texas Invitational, proof that he would be in the mix for another NCAA title. Obviously, the British Olympian delivered.
George Bovell (Auburn) placed fourth and Matt McGinnis (Texas) took fifth. Tyler DeBerry (Arizona), Shaun Phillips (Stanford) and Adam Sioui (Florida) round out the championship field placing sixth through eighth, respectively.