Sandeno Sizzles at So. Cal. Speedo Challenge

BELMONT SHORES, CA., March 11. IT'S too bad Kaitlin Sandeno isn't in college right now — because she'd be almost a "lock" to win the 500-1650 frees and 400 IM at this week's NCAA Division 1 Championships on Long Island.

However (thankfully?) Sandeno won't attend college until this fall, which no doubt keeps such personages as Richard Quick (Stnford), Mark Schubert (USC), Jack Bauerle (Georgia) and Frank Busch (Arizona) — to name just four — on their edge of their collective seats, awaiting her educational decision.

If there was any doubt Sandeno's going to be the next great American woman distance specialist, they were quickly erased last weekend when the Sydney bronze medalist in the 800 free went nation-leading 500 and mile times and came close to being No. 1 in the 400 IM and 200 fly too.

At Southern California Swimming's Speedo Challenge in the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool Sandeno went 4:39.09 in the 500 free (and lost!), 15:49.27 in the mile, 4:09.54 in the 400 IM and 1:57.52 in the 200 fly — all unshaved and unrested in anticipation of the U.S. World Championship Trials starting March 27 in Austin.

All times save her 200 fly clocking, where she's been 1:56+ earlier in the season, are prs.

However, Sandeno wasn't the only star performer. NOVA's Michael Cavic, a rapidly improving 16-year-old, set a boys' 15-16 NAG record in the 100 fly, splashing to a 47.10 clocking to break the old mark of 48.13 by Rainer Kendrick by over a second.

How good is 47.10? Faster than this year's winning Pac-10 time (47.13 by Stanford's Bobby O'Bryan) and faster than what SC great Joe Bottom (first guy to ever break Mark Spitz's world record from Munich) ever swam for the Trojans (47.77). And ex-Cal great Par Arvidsson, who won the Moscow Olympic 100 fly title, had a pr of 47.36 while at Berkeley.

In case you're wondering, you read that right. Sandeno swam a 4:39.09 for the 500 free — and LOST. Her "conquerer" was Japanese Olympian Sachiko Yamada, training these days at Mission Viejo with Bill Rose, who went a 4:39.07. These two swims are the two fastest nationally this year (Stanford's Jessica Foschi won the Pac-10s in 4:39+ for the fastest DI clocking).

Janet Evans' American-NCAA record is 4:34.39 from the 1990 NCAAs and Evans' AR-NCAA standard in the mile is 15:39.14 — also from the collegiate championships 11 years ago at Texas. Those times are also the girls' 17-18 NAG records but Sandeno has well over a year to go faster and as a college freshman next fall…who knows?

Sandeno's mile effort ranks her sixth on the all-time performances list (fourth performer) but is far and away the fastest time ever swum in a non-nationals competition.

Yamada swam quite well herself, winning the 200 free in a fast 1:46.78, the 500 (4:39.07), the 1000 (9:43.49, a race Sandeno didn't swim) and was runner-up in the mile (16:00.83).

Other top swims included a 1:58.75 200 back by NOVA's 14 year-old Diana MacManus; a 2:14.76p 200 breast by Longfish's Katie Smallwood, and Olympian Jason Lezak's 19.96-43.66 50-100 free wins.

— Bill Bell

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