IRVINE, California, May 25. TROJAN Swim Club captured wins in four of seven events to open the first night of competition at the Speedo Grand Challenge at the Woollett Aquatic Center, highlighted by another close finish between Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy in the women's 100 breast.
Chinese teenager Zhou Min, 14, earned a narrow victory in the first event of the night, the women's 200 IM. Zhou held off Rattler's Andrea Kropp, 2:14.62 to 2:14.84, for the win. Trojan's Lyndsay DePaul picked up third in 2:15.83.
Australian Olympian Ashley Delaney, who is better known for his backstroke abilities, held off a hard-charging Brian Moore to win the men's 200 free, 1:51.07 to 1:51.61. Michael Weiss of Wisconsin Aquatics finished just behind in 1:52.12. Another Aussie, Nick D'Arcy, actually posted the third-fastest time overall with a 1:52.11 in the B-final. Olympic gold medalist Ricky Berens took the race out hard in 50.13 but faded to fourth in 1:55.69. Berens' top time this year is a 1:47.32 from the Charlotte UltraSwim two weeks ago.
Trojan teammates Rebecca Soni, the reigning world champion, and Jessica Hardy, the world record-holder, faced off for bragging rights in the women's 100 breast. After turning second at the halfway point, Soni powered her way to the win in 1:06.57. Hardy touched second in 1:06.81, while Australia's Sarah Katsoulis finished a distant third in 1:09.28.
The Trojan breaststroke group continued to make a statement in the men's 100 breast, as Eric Shanteau pulled away from the field to win in 1:01.16. Teammate John Criste squeezed into second at 1:01.66, followed by Longhorn's Christian Schurr (1:01.95).
Jessica Hardy rebounded from her second-place swim in the 100 breast with a win in the 50 free, finishing well ahead of the field in 25.11. Wisconsin Aquatics' Ivy Martin grabbed second in 25.76, with USC's Kasey Carlson in third (25.93).
Trojan's Tyler Harris ran away with the men's 200 IM victory, posting a 2:03.07 for the win. Australian Travis Mahoney surged into second on the breaststroke leg and held on to finish in 2:05.01, just in front of Trojan's Alex Lendrum (2:05.78).
The Fish's Kate Ziegler, a 2008 Olympian in the 400 free, pulled away from the field over the final 200 to win the same event tonight in 4:10.36. Golden West's Megan Rankin hung with Ziegler for the first half but fell to second in 4:13.89. Trojan's Katya Bachrouche placed third in 4:17.07. Olympic legend Janet Evans also competed, finishing eighth overall in 4:19.29.