By Kevin Noth, SwimInfo Special Correspondent
Photo by Tim Morse
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 26. THE finals of the 1650 freestyle set up as a three-man race between the defending champion, Peter Vanderkaay of Michigan, Sebastian Rouault of Georgia, who recorded the fastest qualifying time during the season, and Larsen Jensen of USC who was the Olympic silver medalist in the 1500 meter freestyle last year.
But it was Jensen who seized control of the race early on and consistently paced himself throughout to capture the event title in a winning time of 14:32.01. Jensen went out quickly, recording sub-53 times on seven of his first eight 100-yard splits.
Jensen maintained his brisk pace through the 1,100 mark, where he was still 1.5 seconds ahead of record pace, but dropped below the record split with 300 yards remaining. Jensen held on to defeat the field by 4.5 seconds.
Michigan junior Peter Vanderkaay clocked 14:36.54, taking second while Georgia’s Robert Margalis captured third in a time of 14:38.58. Shaun Phillips of Stanford took fourth (14:44.13) and Rouault faded to fifth (14:44.63).
John Millen (Virginia), Ous Mellouli (USC) and Justin Mortimer (Minnesota) rounded out the field of eight.