T2’s Justine Bowker Cracks Top 10 in World to Close U.S. Open

IRVINE, California, August 3. THE U.S. Open came to a close tonight in Irvine with T2’s Justine Bowker moving into the top 10 in the world in the women’s 200-meter IM. Meanwhile, Gator’s Sebastien Rousseau snagged his third title of the meet.

If you don’t recognize the name, Justine Mueller married T2 coach Chris Bowker on May 11 of this year and prefers to go by her new last name. She’s even sporting “Bowker” on the side of her cap recently. The official results just haven’t caught up to the name change yet.

Bowker roared to the finish with a 2:11.06 to capture the women’s 200-meter IM title. That swim vaulted her to 10th in the world this year, bumping Elizabeth Beisel out of the top 10. Beisel previously anchored the rankings with a 2:11.16 from Worlds. That’s a lifetime best for the T2 veteran, clipping her 2:11.46 from the 2009 U.S. Open during the techsuit era, that also had stood as the meet record.

Bowker has had a career resurgence lately under Paul Yetter at T2 Aquatics as the club continues to nurture and develop some of the talent that could make a run at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Back in 2008, Bowker graduated from the University of Michigan and has still stuck with the sport. Throwing down a top 10 time is definitely a good indication that she’s in the right place.

Pleasanton’s Celina Li raced to second in 2:12.72, edging her personal best of 2:12.73 from U.S. Nationals earlier this year. SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker, 16, finished third in 2:13.35. That’s her first time under 2:14 beating her PB of 2:14.46 from her hometown event of the Charlotte UltraSwim.

Baker’s life is about to get really interesting as SwimMAC enjoys a serious influx of talent with the likes of Kirsty Coventry and Lauren Perdue both heading to Charlotte shortly. Not to mention Ryan Lochte, who is planning on having a bit of a nomadic life the next few years with scheduled stays in Charlotte and Australia booked so far.

Rousseau took home his third individual title of the meet as he powered down the stretch to win the men’s 200-meter IM in 1:59.58. He came up just half-a-second shy of Michael Phelps’ meet record of 1:59.26 from 2006, but has had a tremendous meet thus far.

Indiana’s Stephen Schmuhl broke 2:00 for the first time as he touched out NBAC’s Austin Surhoff for second, 1:59.90 to 1:59.92. That’s a huge personal best for the Hoosier, having previously posted a 2:01.72 this morning as his lifetime best. Coming into the meet, Schmuhl’s best had been a 2:02.08 from Indiana Senior States just a few weeks ago. That’s a huge progression for Schmuhl, and is the first time an IU swimmer has cleared the 2:00 barrier.

Australia’s Laura Crockart opened the final night of the U.S. Open with a 16:08.36 to capture the women’s 1500-meter freestyle finale. NBAC’s Gillian Ryan, part of a youth movement in the distance freestyle for the U.S. helmed by world-record holder Katie Ledecky, took second in 16:15.65. She just missed her personal best of 16:14.67 set a year ago at the 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships. SoNoCo’s Alicia Mathieu rounded out the podium with a third-place time of 16:16.75.

Auburn’s Zane Grothe raced his way to victory in the men’s 800-meter freestyle with a 7:56.16. He demolished his previous personal best, cutting under 8:00 for the first time ever. He came into tonight with an 8:02.06 as his best time from the U.S. Nationals earlier this summer. Island’s Eric Hedlin picked up second in the distance event with a 7:59.68, while Dynamo’s Kevin Litherland placed third in 8:01.17.

The sprint 50s closed out the night and the meet. Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin clipped her lifetime best in the women’s 50-meter free with a 25.11 for the win. That swim beat the 25.15 she set at sectionals just a few weeks ago. Stanford’s Maddy Schaefer placed second overall in 25.27, cutting her previous best of 25.37 from the 2010 Junior Nationals, while SwimMAC’s Madison Kennedy, and also of the recently-released Swimmers Calendar, wound up third in 25.34.

SwimAtlanta’s Karl Krug completed the night with a lifetime best 22.15 to win the men’s 50-meter free. That swim cleared the 22.38 he set earlier today, which also surpassed his 22.54 from the 2011 U.S. Nationals. California’s Seth Stubblefield turned in a 22.19 for second just behind Krug, besting his personal record of 22.26 from U.S. Nationals earlier this summer. NYAC’s Tyler McGill checked in with a 22.25 for third, while SwimMAC’s Cullen Jones placed fourth in 22.32.

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