MONTE CARLO, Monaco, June 17. THE comeback of Dara Torres continued Sunday as the Mare Nostrum Series came to an end for the 2007 season in Monte Carlo. Competing in the Shootout Duels that are signature events of the Monaco stop of the tour, the 40-year-old Torres clocked 25.00 in the 50 freestyle to defeat Aussie Alice Mills (25.09).
Torres has been on a roll the past few weeks, having performed splendidly at a meet in Rome last week, where she was second in the 50 free and claimed victory in the 100 free. Next year, Torres will try to qualify for her fifth Olympic Games when she competes in the United States Trials in Omaha. Torres was an Olympian in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 2000.
In the men's 400 individual medley, American Erik Vendt uncorked a superb effort, going 4:15.69 for the gold medal. A two-time Olympic silver medalist in the event, Vendt finished ahead of Greece's Ioannis Drymonakos (4:17.64) and is expected to challenge for another Olympic berth in the event. Behind Michael Phelps, Vendt is likely to battle with Ryan Lochte for the second American bid.
While Vendt won the 400 I.M., his Club Wolverine teammate, Peter Vanderkaay, turned in a quality showing in the 200 freestyle. Vanderkaay checked in with a winning time of 1:47.35, well ahead of the 1:49.29 of Aussie Kirk Palmer and the 1:49.73 of Grant Hackett. The Australian duo of Bronte Barratt (4:08.56) and Linda Mackenzie (4:08.89) battled in the 400 freestyle while Japan's Reiko Nakamura (1:01.07) and Hanae Ito (1:01.28) had a one-two finish in the 100 backstroke.
The women's 100 freestyle produced a showdown between Natalie Coughlin and Jodie Henry with Coughlin getting to the wall first in 54.13. Henry, the defending Olympic champ, went 54.37. The Ukraine's Yana Klochkova complemented her win in the 400 I.M. with a decision in the 200 medley, thanks to a mark of 2:13.08.
Sweden's Stefan Nystrand prevailed in the 50 freestyle (22.04) and South Africa's Cameron Van Der Burgh had a stellar swim in the 50 breaststroke, posting a time of 27.77 to defeat Japan's Kosuke Kitajima (28.09). In the 100 breaststroke, Kitajima took top honors in 1:00.89. For the women, Tara Kirk went a quick 30.83 to win the 50 breast. Over the 200 breast, Australian Sally Foster beat the field in 2:27.75.
Other winners were Papua New Guinea's Ryan Pini in the 100 fly (52.84), Aussie Felicity Galvez in the 200 fly (2:08.42), Japan's Tomomi Morita in the 200 backstroke (1:59.87), Denmark's Jakob Andkjaer (23.67) and American Dana Vollmer (26.92) in the 50 fly and Australia's Ashley Delaney (25.40) and Aussie Sophie Edington (28.42) in the 50 back.