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SANTA CLARA, California, June 12. THE second night of long course meter swimming featured a title trifecta by California's Dana Vollmer to open the first full evening of action at the Santa Clara Invitational.
Meanwhile, North Baltimore's Michael Phelps and Australia's Leisel Jones ripped off impressive meet-record performances.
The meet is part of the USA Swimming Grand Prix series.
Women's 100 free
California's Dana Vollmer cruised in the women's sprint event to a personal-best time of 54.23 for the win. She took it out in 26.09 and came back in 28.14. SwimAtlanta's Amanda Weir finished second in 55.19, while Australia's Meagen Nay placed third in 55.65.
Men's 100 breast
Australia's Brenton Rickard rolled through his signature event with a winning time of 1:01.44. He put together a 29.13, 32.31 split swim for the triumph. Canada's Scott Dickens claimed second in 1:01.90, while Longhorn's Scott Spann placed third in 1:02.36 after redshirting last year at the University of Texas.
"Obviously, it's been a few good weeks for us," Rickard said about his U.S. training camp. "It's great to swim against some different people. We have a fair few young guys on this team, and it is good for some old hags like me to help them out.
Women's 200 breast
If the event were a 1500, Lethal Leisel Jones might have lapped some finalists. That's just how dominant her meet-record swim of 2:23.92 proved to be. Her performance cleared Jones' meet mark of 2:24.46 set back in 2007.
Santa Barbara's Katy Freeman split a pair of Aussies with a second-place time of 2:27.32 as she overtook Australia's Sarah Katsoulis. Katsoulis finished third in 2:27.92.
"At the moment, I am just training," Jones said. "I am not going to the World Championships, so I have no pressure. When you swim really relaxed, that's when times like this happen. Every year, it gets harder and harder. I think that is why I am taking this year off."
Women's 200 free
Longhorn's Ricky Berens came all the way from behind after being the last off the blocks as he used several strong turns to make up the difference. Berens completed the comeback bid with a triumphant time of 1:47.18. Canada's Brent Hayden finished second in 1:47.79 with Australia's Patrick Murphy snatching third in 1:47.88.
"I slipped off the towel covering the starting block this morning, so I took the towel off tonight," Berens said. "I didn't draft on purpose until the end of the race."
Women's 400 free
With Katie Hoff scratching from finals, Australia's Meagen Nay left no doubt of who was best prepared this evening with a body-length triumph in the middle distance event. The winning readout of 4:08.74 cleared Nay's lifetime-best by nearly five seconds.
"Coming into this meet, I knew I could try and work the speed in the first half," Nay said. "I felt really good tonight. This is my fourth time back to American, and the accents are still a little bit funny. But, I can't complain."
Longhorn's Kirsty Coventry wound up pulling into second with a time of 4:09.99, while teammate Kelsey Ditto clinched third in 4:10.23. Minot's Dagny Knutson took fourth with a 4:12.59 after dominating the last stop of the Grand Prix series with several gold medals.
Men's 400 IM
Ryan Lochte proved that he didn't require a technical suit to capture victory in the distance medley event. Wearing just a brief, Lochte held onto his early lead to finish in 4:18.62 for the win.
"I am definitely getting some rest now," Lochte said. "After this meet, I'm resting up for Trials. It feels really good getting the win in just the speedo. I knew this was going to hurt at the end, so I went out smooth and in control. I just hold on for dear life in the breaststroke."
Lochte had to withstand a hard-charging Robert Margalis of Athens Bulldog. Margalis touched in 4:18.84 for second place. Australian youngster Thomas Fraser-Holmes, 17, completed the podium in 4:19.94.
Women's 100 fly
California's Dana Vollmer doubled up on the evening with a victorious time of 58.40. She just missed the meet record of 58.22 set by Natalie Coughlin back in 2006.
"I feel really good," Vollmer said. "We have been working on a lot of technical changes. This is the first meet I've swum the 100 fly not breathing to the side. It's been hard to change, but [coach Teri McKeever] has been pretty convincing."
Athens Bulldog Mary DeScenza, who already clinched the overall USA Swimming Grand Prix individual title and the $20,000 cash prize, placed second in 59.42. Stanford's Elaine Breeden claimed third in 59.51.
Texas' Kathleen Hersey (59.58) and Australia's Stephanie Rice (59.82) also cleared 1:00 to take fourth and fifth.
Men's 200 fly
Everyone in attendance for the Santa Clara Invitational gave the pool their undivided attention as superstar Michael Phelps finally made his impact on the evening. The scene played out similar to a prize fight where the main event comes at the end of the night.
After the first 50 meters, Phelps had the pool to himself before winning by nearly five body lengths in his signature event with a meet-record 1:54.37. Phelps' time smashed Davis Tarwater's 2008 mark of 1:55.93.
"I haven't been training much of the 200 fly lately," Phelps said. "I just wanted to see what I could go here. 53-high would have been really good. Going 54 here definitely is good. [The large crowd] is good for the younger kids coming up in the sport, they are going to get to experience a much better way coming up than I did."
Cincinnati Marlin David Mosko broke 2:00 to be the closest finisher to Phelps with a 1:59.98 for second. Australia's' Sam Ashby claimed third in 2:00.67.
Dana Vollmer captured her third title of the evening during the women's 400 free relay. The California squad of Hannah Wilson, Madison Kennedy, Sara Isakovic and Vollmer clocked a meet-record 3:42.69 for the win. Vollmer split a 54.12 on the anchor leg, as the foursome beat Australia's 2008 mark of 3:43.08.
Dominik Meichtry, Nathan Adrian, William Copeland and Bennett Clark won the men's 400 free relay in 3:17.38 with Adrian's strong leg of 48.37 sparking them to victory giving California a relay sweep.