LOS ANGELES, July 12. IT'S official title is the Janet Evans Invitational, but at the rate she's going, USC junior Kaitlin Sandeno may have this meet named after her.
The Trojan Olympian won her third gold of the meet here this evening with a solid 4:44.16 400 individual medley swim, defeating former U.S.Nationals 200 breast champ Kristen Caverly (4:45.40) and Trojan teammate Michala Kwasny, a former Pac-10 champ, who clocked 4:51.90 for the bronze.
Sandeno won the 200 fly and 400 free golds Friday evening here at her home McDonald's Olympic Pool on the campus of USC, and opening night (Thursday) finished runner-up to Kalyn Keller in the 800 free.
In men's highlights, Stanford junior Jayme Cramer — more noted as a backstroker-butterfly specialist — set a meet record and also swam a pr en route to the top spot in the 200 free (1:49.37) The old meet-record was a 1:49.87 by Australia's Michael Klim from 1997. Klim, a former world champion in the 200 free in the years B.T. (Before Thorpe) and who also holds the world record in the 100 fly (51.81), will not compete in Barcelona as he recovers from his third surgery in two years.
Sandeno, a USC All-America and whose pr is 4:40.80 from Sydney (eighth-fastest all-time U.S.), came from behind to defeat Caverly, who 's swimming for Met West.
Sandeno ranks third globally this year in the 400 IM off her 4:41.88 from the Duel in the Pool last April in Indianapolis. She led after 200 meters of fly and back, but Caverly put together a strong 100 meters of breaststroke to take a slight lead. She still led by .05 with 50 meters to go, but Sandeno tracked her down for the win.
Sandeno didn't make the team to Barcelona this year and she's focusing her efforts on regaining her form after a series of injuries. She said she hopes to make a big splash at Nationals next month in College Park and perhaps give Summer Sanders' 400 IM American record (4:37.58 that won her the silver at the Barcelona Olympics 11 years ago) a shot.
Cramer led for the entire race as he broke the first meet record of the weekend in a swim that Stanford coach Skip Kenney termed "outstanding." Auburn's Ben Jones took second (pr 1:50.75) while Club Wolverine's Peter Vanderkaay — runner-up in the 800 free — was third in 1:51.50.
In the women's 50 free, Club Wolverine's Kara-Lynn Joyce, national prep record-holder in the 50 yard freestyle and also 17-18 NAG recoird-holder over 50 meters off her 25.14 from the Duel (fifth globally), won in a quick 25.39. She defeated FAST's Dana Vollmer (25.90) and NOVA's Colleen Lanne (26.00). Lanne won the 50-100 frees at NCAAs two years ago for Texas.
Former Trojan Gabe Woodward, now training in Irvine with NOVA, won the men's 50 free in 23.25, turning in his second-fastest time ever. Former Stanford All-America Sabir Muhammad was second (23.32) while Evan Lane (California Aquatics) was third (23.52). American record-holder Gary Hall, Jr., in the early stages of his comeback, qualified third in 23.43 and finished seventh in 23.70.
For Woodward, a USC All-America in the late 1990s, it was a solid step toward his goal of making the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.
In one of the more hotly contested races, Stanford junior Eric Diiulio won the men's 400 IM in 4:29.71, followed by FAST's fast-improving Louis Vayo (4:30.85) and Cardinal Dan Trupin (4:31.58). Trupin won the Pac-10 200 IM as a freshman a couple of years ago and set a 17-18 National Age Group record in the process.
John Dorr (Unat.) actually led heading into the final 100 meters of freestyle with six swimmers less than two seconds behind him, but he fell to fourth.
Fort Worth's Vollmer, 15, won the women's 200 free in 2:01.01, despite trailing by a hair after 100 meters. She passed Lanne just after the 150 turn and stretched her lead in the final 50. Keller, 800 free champ, also passed Lanne for second (2:01.99) as the former finished third (2:02.71).
Former University of Georgia All-America Ashley Roby (Athens Bulldog) won the 200 breast gold with her 2:30.95. Minnestoa's Keri Hehn, a Big 10 All-America for the Golden Gophers, was second (2:32.10) while Caverly was third (2:32.58).
Greg Owen (Tucson Ford) fought off three Stanford swimmers to win the men's 200 breast in 2:20.01. The Cardinal's Gary Marshall was second (2:20.92) while Stanford teammate Michael Bruce was third (2:21.06). Marshall is a former Atlantic Coast Champion from the University of Virginia who'll make his Pac-10 debut on The Farm this fall.
Teammate Bruce, Pac-10 200 breast titleist the past two seasons, is also the Cardinal and conference record-holder with his 1:54.81 from NCAAs last year. Marshall's pr is 1:54.79 from the ACC Championships in 2002 and both hope to give Texas' Brendan Hansen — triple defending NCAA champ — a run for the gold next season.