SANTA CLARA, Calif., USA, June 24. IF Friday night is any indication, the United States is in good shape heading into next month’s World Championships in Montreal. Why? Take a look at the results of the Santa Clara Invitational, annually one of the top domestic meets of the summer.
Big names came shining through at the George F. Haines International Swim Center, including Michael Phelps and Brendan Hansen. While Phelps prevailed in the 200-meter freestyle, Hansen blasted the opposition in the 100 breaststroke.
Like he achieved at last summer’s Athens Olympics, Phelps will try to win eight medals in Montreal, five individual and three in relay action. He’s scheduled to swim the 100, 200 and 400 freestyles, the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley.
En route to winning the 200 free in Santa Clara, Phelps clocked a meet-record time of 1:47.58. Representing Club Wolverine, Phelps easily bested the previous meet standard, a 1:50.18 by Canada’s Rick Say in 2002. Phelps was followed in second place by Wolverine teammate Peter Vanderkaay, who zipped 1:48.88. Vanderkaay is certainly a medal contender at the World Champs.
For Hansen, the University of Texas product coasted in the 100 breast, touching the wall in 1:01.86. The swim was just off Hansen’s meet record of 1:01.80, produced last year. Swimming for Longhorn Aquatics, Hansen holds the world records in the 100 breast (59.30) and 200 breast (2:09.04) and notched a three-medal haul at the Athens Olympics.
Mark Gangloff (Auburn Aquatics) finished second in 1:02.70 and Scott Usher (Wyoming Aquatics) was third in 1:03.22. Both men were Olympians in 2004 and will race in Montreal. Canada’s Scott Dickens was fourth (1:03.69) and Japan’s Takao Matsueda was fifth (1:03.76).
Preparing to contest the event against the likes of Australia’s Jodie Henry and Alice Mills at the World Champs, Natalie Coughlin (Cal Aquatics) turned in an impressive triumph in the 100 freestyle. The five-time Olympic medalist won the two-lap sprint in 54.98, significantly faster than the second-place time of Mary DeScenza (56.22).
DeScenza (Athens Bulldogs) came back later in the evening to outdistance the field in the 100 butterfly. Hitting the wall in 1:00.17, she held off Demerae Christianson (Auburn Aquatics), who checked in at 1:00.34. Christianson had the fastest time of the day, as she went 59.83 during the morning preliminaries.
Olympians Tara Kirk (Stanford Aquatics) and Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach Swimming) also secured victories. Kirk bested the competition in the 200 breaststroke, behind a swim of 2:30.04. As for Lochte, he prevailed in the 400 individual medley with a mark of 4:20.99, just ahead of the 4:21.22 of Bradley Ally (Pine Crest).
Other triumphs were snared by Kelsey Ditto (Longhorn Aquatics) and Davis Tarwater (Club Wolverine). Ditto sped 4:11.92 in the 400 freestyle and held off Kate Ziegler (The Fish), who was timed in 4:11.98. Tarwater had no problem winning the 200 butterfly in 1:59.47.