PHOENIX, Arizona, December 3. I'M Jeff Commings back in the Phoenix studio after three days in Austin, Texas, the site of the 2012 USA Swimming winter nationals. What a great meet it was. We got to see three American records fall and a few others threatened as Olympians and rising stars put up some great short course yards times. And then there were three other college invitational meets taking place around the country, where another American record fell, an NCAA record was broken and plenty of swimmers made their automatic qualifications for the NCAA championships.
Kevin Cordes, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, had a great meet in Austin, breaking the American records in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. He swam a 51.10 to break his own record by two tenths, then came back the next day to become the first swimmer under 1:51 in the 200 breast with an amazing 1:50.73. He pulled teammate Clark Burckle with him to the second-fastest performance in the event with a 1:51.20. Burckle was initially disqualified in the event for an apparent illegal flutter kick, but that DQ was later overturned.
Olympic champion Matt Grevers set the other American record at nationals with a 44.55 in the 100 backstroke to take down Ryan Lochte's six-year-old American record. Grevers won the Performance of the Meet award from USA Swimming for that record-breaking performance.
I could go on about all the other top swims from the meet, including Ryan Murphy's 1:38.15 in the 200 back, Missy Franklin's three wins in the backstrokes and 200 free, Laura Sogar's American record chase in the 200 breast and Tom Shields' dominance in the butterfly events. You can read our complete race recaps from the nationals on our USA channel at swimmingworld.com.
Elizabeth Pelton was part of the dominant California backstroke contingent at the Georgia Invitational, breaking her own American record in the 200 back with a 1:48.90, breaking the record by two tenths of a second.
Stephanie Peacock swam the fourth-fastest 1650-yard freestyle yesterday at Ohio State, breaking her NCAA record by more than a second with a 15:37.06. Peacock is the top collegiate swimmer in the event, but is about nine seconds behind the quick swim posted by Katie Ledecky at the US nationals that stands second all time.
Lots of automatic NCAA qualifying times took place at the Georgia Invite, the Ohio State Invite and the Hawkeye Invite. Olympians Allison Schmitt, Shannon Vreeland, Elizabeth Beisel, Connor Jaeger and Sebastien Rousseau were just a few of the people to earn their places at the NCAA championships, with dozens of others also securing a place at the big meet in March. You can read about all of them on our college channel at swimmingworld.com.
Last night the University of Southern California Trojans won an unprecedented fifth consecutive NCAA title in their home pool, beating crosstown rival UCLA with a score of 11-10. UCLA had the lead throughout 95 percent of the final match, leading 10-9 with three minutes to go. Michael Rosenthal managed to tie up the score with about two minutes remaining, then Kostas Genidounias made the game-winning play in the final minute to give USC the tournament win. UCLA was going for its first national title since 2007.