By David Rieder
IRVINE, California, May 27. THE first night of long course meters racing is in the books at the Speedo Grand Challenge at the William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine. The meet is unique in that only the top four swimmers from prelims qualify for the A Finals, although full heats of eight swim in the consolation final heats. Swimmers from the Trojan Swim Club dominated the night's action, taking first in six out of seven events contested.
Trojan's Katinka Hosszu edged Stanford's Julia Smit in a fast women's 200 IM. Smit led at the 150 mark but Hosszu passed her down the stretch and clocked 2:11.67, to Smit's 2:11.79. The times moved the pair into eight and ninth in the world, respectively, just behind Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry. Smit sits behind just Ariana Kukors (2:11.24) as the second-fastest American this year. Palo Alto's Jasmine Tosky grabbed third in 2:13.80, just off her 24th-ranked time of 2:13.70, while Stanford's Maya Dirado finished fourth in 2:15.00. Notably, Trojan's Yuliya Efimova won the B Final in 2:13.42 to move to 20th in the world.
Efimova returned to win the women's 100 breast in 1:06.77 to move to fourth in the world. She overtook teammate Jessica Hardy, who finished second in 1:07.72, well off her second-ranked season best of 1:05.90 from the Charlotte UltraSwim two weeks ago. Stanford's Elizabeth Smith (1:10.81) and Tosky (1:11.37) completed the final. Hardy later won the 50 free in 25.18, falling short of her fifth-ranked season best from the Maria Lenk Trophy meet earlier this month. Smit (25.49), LSU's Jane Trepp (25.82), and Megophias' Marie-Pier Ratelle (25.87) also competed in the A-final.
Trojan's Eric Shanteau pulled away from his competition to win the 100 breast. Shanteau, who married former U.S. National Team backstroker Jeri Moss on Saturday, clocked 1:01.66 to come up just shy of his season-best 1:01.49 from Charlotte two weeks ago. Cal's Damir Dugonjic finished second in 1:02.25, while Trojan's Andrew Bree and Mike Alexandrov took third and fourth, respectively, with respective times of 1:02.54 and 1:02.87. Another Trojan won the 200 IM as Markus Rogan touched first at 2:01.12, well off his 12th-ranked 1:59.49 from February's Missouri Grand Prix. Cal's Martin Liivamagi wound up second in 2:03.67, followed by Stanford's Matt Thompson (2:05.58) and Santa Maria's Josh Prenot (2:05.63).
Trojan swept the top four spots in the men's 200 free. Dominik Meichtry edged teammate Clement Lefert at the final touch, 1:49.42 to 1:49.57. Meichtry has been much faster with a 15th-ranked 1:47.93 season best. Mads Glaesner (1:49.56) and Stefan de Die (1:50.75) also swam in the final, while Cal's Tom Shields won the B-final in 1:50.57. Notably, Shields split 53.04 at the 100, more than a second better than Meichtry's 54.13 halfway split, but Shields faded down the last few laps. Additionally, American Olympian Dave Walters finished first in the C-final at 1:51.92.
Stanford's Andie Taylor concluded the night's competition with the only non-Trojan win of the meet thus far. She took the 400 free in 4:14.79. Azot's Megan Rankin finished second in 4:16.33, well ahead of The Armada's Nicole Chang (4:18.30) and Palo Alto's Kathryn Campbell (4:22.90).