AUSTIN, Texas, February 22. DURING the first day of yardage competition at the American Short Course Championships held in Austin, Texas from Feb. 22-24, swimmers flirted with a trio of American records as Ian Crocker gave the 50 free and 100 fly standards a go and Kate Ziegler went after her 500 free record.
Women's 500 freestyle
An American record nearly fell in the 500 free as Kate Ziegler of The Fish raced to a time of 4:34.29 to fall a little under a second off her AR of 4:33.35 set on Feb. 25, 2006 almost a year ago.
Meanwhile, Longhorn teammates Kelsey Ditto, Nikki White and Jess Rodriquez grabbed second through fourth with Ditto clocking a 4:42.67, White touching in 4:42.85 and Rodriquez recording a 4:48.04.
Women's 100 butterfly
The pool cooled off a bit in the women's 100 fly as Natalie Coughlin's American record of 50.01 set on March 22, 2002 easily withstood all challengers.
17-year-old Tara Thomas of Novaquatics ripped off a 54-flat to win the event, while Tanica Jamison of Longhorn grabbed second in 54.21. Nan Liu of Northern Colorado tied with Angela San Juan Cisneros for third with matching 54.85s.
Men's 100 butterfly
Ian Crocker of Longhorn knocked on the door of his American record, falling just .18 seconds shy, with a time of 44.90 to crush the field in the event.
Meanwhile, teammate David Cromwell edged Mark Dylla of Aces for second with a time of 48.02, just ahead of Dylla's 48.08.
Men's 500 freestyle
Craig Chapman of Longhorn continued the hometown success with a 4:24.70 to win the middle distance event. He finished more than a second-and-a-half in front of second-place Jeff Smith of Auburn, who hit the wall in 4:26.22. Taylor Smith of Santa Clara rounded out the top three in 4:26.65.
Women's 200 IM
Now a member of Longhorn Aquatics after following Kim Brackin to Texas, Kirsty Coventry held off 15-year-old Mary Beck in the 200 IM for gold in 1:56.60.
Beck, meanwhile, continued her incredible past two weeks as she clocked a 1:57.28 for second place. That time lowered her best time from the previous 1:57.41 Beck turned in at the Texas 5A State Championships to set the national high school record in the event. Beck's 1:57.28 recorded under the Longhorn banner, however, does not count against the high school standard.
16-year-old Jess Rodriquez made it a clean sweep for Longhorn with a third-place showing of 1:59.86.
Men's 200 IM
Auburn Aquatics went 1-3 in the 200 IM when Mark Gangloff stopped the clock in 1:44.45 for the win, while teammate Doug Van Wie finished third in 1:46.75. Eric Shanteau of Longhorn split the difference in 1:44.81.
Women's 50 freestyle
17-year-old Tara Thomas of Novaquatics grabbed her second title of the day with a 23-flat (her second winning double aught time) in the women's splash and dash.
16-year-old Sarah Bateman of Patriot touched just behind in 23.10 for second, while Sun Devil's Jennifer VanAssen wound up third in 23.34.
Men's 50 freestyle
Jason Lezak conquered the men's one-lap event in 19.40 to beat out second-place finisher Cole Tedhams of Sun Devil (19.57) and third-place finisher Neil Walker of Longhorn (19.69).
Meanwhile, Nick Brunelli of Sun Devil grabbed fourth place with the fourth sub-20 time of 19.89.
Notable Relay Action
The Longhorn men's 200 freestyle relay quartet of Ian Crocker, Dale Rogers, David Cromwell and Neil Walker nearly posted a pair of American records. By stopping the clock in 1:16.74 for the win, the team came just .25 seconds shy of the AR of 1:16.49 set by Stanford's Randall Bal, Peter Marshall, Andrew Schnell and Bobby O'Bryan on March 28, 2002. Meanwhile, Crocker's leadoff 50 split of 19.11 came up just .06 seconds short of the AR of 19.05 held by both Tom Jager of Santa Clara and Anthony Ervin of California.