By Phillip Whitten
Photos by Peter Bick
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, April 5. THE women’s 200-meter breaststroke shaped up to be the evening’s closest and most exciting event, and it fully lived up to expectations.
A five-woman brawl was what was expected. What we got was a four-woman shoot-out as Stanford’s Caroline Bruce did not have quite enough left after winning both breaststroke events at the NCAA .Championships a fortnight ago.
Eighteen year-old Rebecca Soni, the top qualifier, took the race out hard, turning first at the 50 in 33.56, half a second ahead of Tara Kirk at 34.00. Kristen Caverly was next at 34.04 with Megan Jendrick fourth in 34.23, swimming well within herself.
Soni kept the pressure on, lengthening her advantage at the 100 with her 1:10.11 split, followed by Kirk (1:11.13), Caverly (1:11.50) and Jendrick (1:11.92).
The three veterans, Olympians all, made their move on the third lap with Kirk slipping into the lead at the turn in 1:48.61, six-hundredths ahead of Soni, who still led Caverly (1:49.14) and Jendrick (1:49.67).
Jendrick had the fastest final 50, but it was Kirk who touched first in 2:26.64, just off her PR. Caverly made it one-two for Stanford with a PR 2:27.31, Soni hung on for third with her PR, 2:27.83, while Jendrick touched fourth in 2:27.94.
Bruce was fifth in 2:31.38, giving Stanford three of the top five finishers.