From www.pacificocean.com/kmsc – Oklahoma City, OK – Ashley Tappin and Bill Pilczuk defeated a world-class field of Olympic, World, and National Champions in the “Jackie Cooper 50 Freestyle Shoot-Out” Saturday night during the 6th Annual Kerr-McGee Corporation Elite Pro-Am.
Tappin, on the comeback trail from arthroscopic rotator-cuff surgery, out-touched multiple Olympic Gold Medalist Jenny Thompson to win $6,000 in the Women’s Division of the Jackie Cooper 50 Freestyle Shoot-Out. Tappin’s 22.18 was .10 better that Thompson (22.28). Thompson picked up $1,000 for her efforts.
Tappin defeated 15-year old Neka Mabry (Little Rock Athletic Club) in the quarterfinals (23.03 to 23.31), and faced-off against Olympic champion Amy Van Dyken in the semifinals. Van Dyken’s best effort of the night (22.67) wasn’t enough though defeat a determined Tappin who’s 22.43 was .60 faster than her quarterfinals swim.
Thompson had defeated 1996 Olympic teammate Melanie Valerio in the quarterfinals, and B.J. Bedford in the semifinals to earn the finals berth.
In the 3rd Place Consolation race, B.J. Bedford claimed the $500 prize, defeating World Championship and Resident Team teammate Van Dyken with a lifetime best time of 22.63, which was just .04 better than Van Dyken’s 22.67.
On the Men’s side of the bracket, Pilczuk defeated U.S Open 50-meter freestyle champion Raimundas Mazuolis (19.39 to 19.71) to claim the $6,000 first prize.
Pilczuk had defeated Jarod Schroeder (19.96 to 20.39) and 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun Jordan (19.57 to 20.06) to reach the finals. Mazuolis had the difficult task of drawing Gustavo Borges in the quarterfinals and Gary Hall, Jr. in the semi’s. Mazoulis took Borges by .30 seconds (19.91 to 20.21) setting the stage for the one-on-one with Hall. In one of the most exciting races of the evening, Mazoulis reached the wall just .03 seconds ahead of Hall (19.77 to 19.80), setting up the finals race between the United States’ top entry in next month’s World Championships against the U.S. Open title holder.
Pilczuk had a great start beating Mazoulis off the blocks and never looked back taking the $6,000 first prize 19.39 to 19.71.
Gary Hall and Shaun Jordan had the race of the meet in the 3rd place consolation race, and had the crowd roaring. Hall and Jordan were stroke-for-stroke the whole race, and tied for 3rd with a 20.11. Given the option of, 1) having a swim-off, 2) splitting the $500 third place prize, or 3) flipping a coin, with little hesitation they decided on the coin toss, much to the approval of the crowd of over 2,000. Hall, the faster of the two in semifinals, was given the call of the toss, choose “heads”, and won the coin toss.
For the weekend in the 6th Annual Kerr-McGee Corporation Elite Pro-Am, Tappin collected $6,700, followed by Thompson with $2,800, B. J. Bedford with $1,700, and South Africa’s double Olympic Gold Medalist Penny Heyns winning $1,200. Pilczuk took home $6,000 for the meet, with Josh Davis pocketing $1,500 and Tripp Schwenk receiving $1,200.
The Kerr-McGee Corporation Elite Pro-Am is the nation’s only professional swim competition, with over $46,000 in cash and prizes available for this year’s competition.