ATLANTA, Georgia, December 1. THE final night was just like the first night of the USA Short Course National Championships. First, Ryan Lochte sets an American record, then Natalie Coughlin follows. That ran the AR tally to five for the meet.
Women's 1650 freestyle
Alyssa Anderson of Sierra Marlins used some strategy as she utilized a slower heat surge to win the timed final event in 15:58.73. Meanwhile, swimming at night, Ashley Evans of Brophy East grabbed second place in 16:01.28, while Auburn's Maggie Bird snared third place in 16:07.93 from finals.
Anderson dropped significant time off her personal best on her way to gold this evening.
"I stood on the side [of the pool] – I was nervous! My coach told me that I was ahead of the pace midway through."
Meanwhile, Evans, sporting pink bands on her orthodontic braces, smiled through a candid recap of her race.
"I just tried to keep up with [Chloe Sutton]. Almost breaking 16 minutes – that's amazing, I didn't even know I was going that fast!"
As Evans implied, Chloe Sutton of Mission Viejo took out the race almost like a sprint throughout the initial half of the race, but could not hold the pace with a fourth-place effort of 16:10.47. Auburn's Caitlin Geary finished fifth in 16:13.41, while Sierra Marlin Haley Anderson took sixth in 16:18.20.
Men's 1650 freestyle
Club Wolverine's Erik Vendt dominated the men's distance event with a time of 14:34.85 – the 10th-fastest readout of all time. Surprisingly, the event looked to be a much more hotly-contested race, but Vendt blew out the field.
Vendt noted that his splits were essentially even – approximately 4:23, 4:25, 4:25.
"I would've liked to come back a little faster, but this is my lifetime best unshaved by about 10 seconds," said Vendt. Next up for him is altitude training, which proved to be a health challenge for him last year; Vendt feels more optimistic about this year's prospects.
Athens Bulldog Robert Margalis wound up taking second place with a time of 14:49.86, while Mission Viejo's Chad La Tourette completed the top three in 14:50.62.
Trojan Larsen Jensen finished fourth in 14:55.52, while Florida's Kyle Young (14:55.87) and Mission Viejo's Fran Crippen (15:01.70) rounded out the top six.
Women's 200 backstroke
Margaret Hoelzer ripped off a time of 1:51.68 to clip her personal-best time of 1:51.71, while Athens Bulldog Mary DeScenza finished second in 1:53.70. Youngster Mary Beck put together a strong swim of her own for third place in 1:54.47.
"I got a little tired at the end," said Hoelzer, "but overall I'm happy with it."
In the B Final, Florida's Gemma Spofforth snared the consolation title in 1:56.57, while ATAC's Kristen Shickora took second in 1:56.98.
In the C Final, Auburn's Emile Ewing touched out North Carolina's Ashley Howard, 1:57.83 to 1:57.84 to win the heat.
Men's 200 backstroke
Ryan Lochte became the first man under 1:37 as he nearly cut a second off his American record time of 1:37.68 when he touched in a lightning fast time of 1:36.81. He was actually over his American-record pace throughout the initial portion of the race, but dipped under at the 150 and kept his momentum rolling into the wall.
"For the most part, I accomplished my goal," said Lochte, in reference to his performance over the entire meet. "After this, I'm off, but then I'm going to get pounded [in training] over Christmas."
Randall Bal, meanwhile, finished second in 1:41.75, while Hongzhe Sun placed third in 1:41.82. Bal provided some perspective on his silver-medal finish in the spectre of his recent $100,000 World Cup win.
"I made a vow to myself after World Championships to put money aside and just get out there and race."
In the B Final, Peter Marshall snatched the heat win in 1:42.84, while Dallas Mustang Matt Thompson provided some competition with a 1:42.99 for second-place personal-best by more than three seconds.
In the C Final, Florida's Roland Rudolf touched first in 1:45.46, while Swim Atlanta's Adrejs Duda took second in 1:46.63.
Women's 100 freestyle
Natalie Coughlin added to the American-record bonanza occurring at the meet as she clipped her 47.00 American standard with a blazing fast time of 46.85. She opened up with a blistering 22.44 first 50 before bringing it home quick.
"The first day of this meet, I felt fresh and strong, but I was incredibly [pleasantly] shocked with my [50 free] time … tonight I took the 'fly and die' approach – I felt like it was important to go out hard but not be forceful, if that makes sense."
Kara Lynn Joyce grabbed second place with a fast time of her own with a 47.74, while Ava Ohlgren took third place in 48.59.
In the B Final, Swim Atlanta's Amanda Weir backhalfed her win with a time of 48.71, overtaking Kim Vandenberg's second-place effort of 48.91.
In the C Final, SMU's Jennifer Blackman won in 49.48, while teammate Petra Klosova placed second in 49.79.
Men's 100 freestyle
Michael Phelps overtook Jason Lezak, who turned under 20 from lane eight, as Phelps hit the wall first in 42.14 for a lifetime-best performance. Lezak, meanwhile, claimed second place with a time of 42.46, while Nathan Adrian completed the top three with a readout of 42.85.
Phelps just became the second person to win the World Swimmer of the Year award four times. As of yet, no one has won it five. He was pleased with tonight's results.
"I didn't think I'd be this close to my best times. I'm happy, and Bob [Bowman] is happy."
In the B Final, U.S. Open record holder Cesar Cielo, after being relegated to the consolation heat, won in 42.11. Fred Bousquet placed second in the race in 42.73.
In the C Final, Noah Copeland touched first in 43.87, while Josh Baseheart finished second in 44.53.
Women's 200 breaststroke
El Dorado's Caitlin Leverenz gave her lifetime best a run with a first-place time of 2:08.22, falling just off her best readout of a 2:08.11. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Tinnon started charging towards the end but did not have time to make up the difference as she wound up second in 2:08.90. Elle Weberg rounded out the top three in 2:10.47.
In the B Final, Alia Atkinson cruised to a win in 2:10.87, while Vipa Bernhardt took second in 2:13.48.
In the C Final, Tualatin Hills' MacKenzie Luick touched out Connecticut's Courtney Haney by the slimmest of margins, 2:15.15 to 2:15.16, for the win.
Men's 200 breaststroke
Eric Shanteau posted the second-fastest time of the men's 200 breast tonight with a first-place effort of 1:54.94 – behind Vlad Polyakov's time in the B Final. Meanwhile, Mark Gangloff took second in 1:56.26, while Ryan Hurley completed the top three in 1:57.59.
Shanteau cites his continued training alongside Brendan Hansen at Longhorn Aquatics as a major contributing factor to his 2007 success. His medal case now includes gold, silver and bronze over the last 12 months; tonight's gold added to his 2007 Long Course U.S. National haul of two silver medals (200 breast and 200 IM) and two bronze (100 breast and 400 IM).
In the B Final, Polyakov knocked out a strong swim of 1:54.52 after being relegated due to his international status. Neil Versfeld placed second in 1:57.25.
In the C Final, Leo Martins placed first in 2:00.58, while Davis Zarins took second in 2:01.18 from lane eight. Curtis Lovelace finished just behind in 2:01.19.
Women's 200 butterfly
The final in the women's 200 butterfly proved to be an incredible finish as Kim Vandenberg overtook the field with a win in personal-best 1:53.18. Kathleen Hersey picked up second place in 1:53.28 for a lifetime best, while Mary DeScenza just missed her personal best with a third-place 1:53.78.
In the B Final, Cammile Adams finished first in 1:56.68, while Ava Ohlgren touched right behind in 1:56.85.
In the C Final, Emily Kukors topped the heat with a time of 1:57.08, while Alyssa Anderson picked up second in 1:58.42 after earning the slow heat win in the 1650 free.
Men's 200 butterfly
Davis Tarwater dominated the heat with a winning effort of 1:41.94 to finish just off his personal-best effort of 1:41.84. Jayme Cramer placed second in 1:43.09, while Randall Tom completed the top three in 1:43.36.
Tarwater, minimally tapered and sporting an almost-full beard, can take heart in his bookended 2007 wins in the 200 fly: he's now the national champion in both the long course and short course formats.
"I'm going to hit Long Beach next," said Tarwater, "and I'll also swim in the Long Course Invitational tomorrow."
In the B Final, Stefan Ghergel placed first in 1:43.50, while Jeremy Knowles finished second in 1:45.44.
In the C Final, Bobby Bollier cruised into the wall with a time of 1:45.76, while AJ Tipton took second in 1:47.41.
Women's 400 freestyle relay
California's contingent of Madi Kennedy, Hannah Wilson, Dana Vollmer and Emily Silver touched out Auburn's Ava Ohlgren, Emily Ewing, Melissa Marik and Kara Denby, 3:16.02 to 3:16.03.
Men's 400 freestyle relay
Mecklenburg's team of Dong Van Wie, Tim Liebhold, Caleb Courage and Michael Smit won another close race. This time with a 2:56.36 to 2:56.50 triumph over Auburn's Alexei Puninski, Scott Goodrich, Luke Weniger and Michael Silva.