IRVINE, California, May 27. THE last night of racing at the Speedo Grand Challenge featured several close races as Andrea Kropp earned her second win of the meet.
The final session in Irvine got off to an exciting start as Trojan's Haley Anderson and The Fish's Kate Ziegler battled for bragging rights in the 800 free. Anderson led at all but one turn and held off a late charge from Ziegler to win, 8:33.65 to 8:33.97. Both swimmers dipped under the meet record of 8:36.87, held by Chloe Sutton. Golden West's Megan Rankin was in the mix for most of the race as well but dropped off the last 200, finishing third in 8:41.13.
Rattler's Andrea Kropp has thrown her name into the hat of swimmers to watch in the women's 200 breast in Omaha, as she posted another strong outing tonight with a 2:26.62. Australia's Sarah Katsoulis finished three seconds behind in 2:29.89, while Wisconsin's Ashley Wanland wound up third in 2:30.54. Longhorn's Christian Schurr made a statement in the men's 200 breast, pulling away to win in 2:12.81. Trojan's John Criste wound up second in 2:15.24 while New Zealand's Glenn Snyders was third in 2:16.06.
Following up a stellar collegiate season at Fresno Pacific, Cheyenne Coffman bested the field in the women's 100 back with a 1:02.91. Phoenix Swim Club's Keaton Blovad squeaked in for second at 1:03.49, while Carmen Robb of Team Rebel Aquatics took third in 1:04.11. Trojan's Yumi So actually posted the third-fastest time overall with a 1:03.96 in the consolation final. Vlad Morozov, perhaps better known for his sprint free capabilities, posted the fastest time in the men's 100 back at 54.67, holding off Australia's Ashley Delaney, who touched in 54.74. Joshua Beaver, also from Australia, finished third in 54.99. Morozov and Delaney both broke the meet record of 54.89 by David Russell.
Ellen Gandy took the women's 200 fly out quickly and had enough to hang on, winning in 2:09.83. Trojan's Lyndsay DePaul finished in 2:11.73. Yasi Jahanshahi of Irvine Novaquatics placed third in 2:12.25. Nick D'Arcy of Australia rebounded after missing the men's 100 fly final last night due to illness to capture the 200 in a new meet record of 1:57.16, well in front of Aquazot's Corey Okubo (2:01.69). Fresno Dolphins' Justin Wright picked up third in 2:02.92.
USC's Kasey Carlson took home the final event on the women's schedule, the 100 free. She posted a 57.24 to win the A-final, while Beckie Thompson of Wisconsin posted the fastest time overall of 57.05, which she swam in the consolation final. Olympic hero Jason Lezak dipped under 50-seconds to win the men's 100 free in 49.96. Shawn Clarke of Barbados took second in 50.46 and Australia's Travis Mahoney was third (51.05).