USA Swimming Grand Prix, Santa Clara: Nathan Adrian, Yolane Kukla Scorch Sprints on Final Night

By David Rieder, Swimming World high school intern

SANTA CLARA, California, June 20. THE 43rd annual Santa Clara Grand Prix came to a close with many more top-25 swims in long course meters. Cal's Nathan Adrian and Australia's Yolane Kukla posted the most impressive swims of the night with wins in the men's 100 free and women's 50 free, respectively.

Adrian built a huge lead on the field in the first half of the race and held off Tucson Ford's Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or to win. Adrian's time of 48.83 ranked him ninth in the world, between Russians Andrey Grechin and Danila Izotov. Shapira Bar-Or, meanwhile, clocked a strong 49.40 for second, tying him for 25th in the world with another Russian, Sergey Fesikov. Tucson Ford's Nicolas Oliveira finished third in 50.29, ahead of American record-holder Dave Walters of Longhorn (50.47).

Kukla, meanwhile, led an Australian 1-2 in the 50 free. She checked in at 25.13, just off her sixth-ranked 25.08 from Australian Trials in March. Marieke Guehrer, meanwhile, came in second at 25.31, moving up to 17th in the world, while Asphalt Green's Lia Neal placed third at 25.51. Neal just missed lowering Christina Swindle's 15-16 national age group record of 25.50 set in 2000. Neal just beat out a strong chase group for third, including Cal's Madison Kennedy (25.56), Stanford's Julia Smit (25.66), Tucson Ford's Christine Magnuson (25.71), Stanford's Sam Woodward (25.84), Tucson Ford's Lara Jackson (25.84), and Palo Alto's Madeline Schaefer (25.98).

World championships bronze medalist Elizabeth Beisel dominated the 200 back, winning by more than a second over Crow Canyon's Madison White. Beisel clocked 2:10.80, clipping two one-hundredths off her 20th-ranked time this year. White, 15, posted a strong time of 2:11.94, ahead of Pacific Sea Wolves' Hilary Caldwell, who clocked 2:14.83.

Minnetonka's David Plummer emerged victorious from a highly competitive men's 100 back final. Plummer swam a time of 55.25, just ahead of Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers (55.40), Ryan Lochte (55.44), and Cal's David Russell (55.46). All four have been much faster this year, as Plummer ranked 16th at 54.50, Grevers second at 53.05, Lochte 28th at 54.81, and Russell 29th at 54.89.

Stanford's Julia Smit posted a strong win in the 200 IM. The two-time NCAA champion in the event, Smit checked in at 2:12.82, just off her 14th-ranked 2:12.57 from last month. Cal's Caitlin Leverenz came in second at 2:13.64, improving on her 20th-ranked time in the world, while Island's Julia Wilkinson held off Palo Alto's Jasmine Tosky for third, 2:14.80 to 2:14.85.

Auburn's Henrique Barbosa overtook Terrapins's Sean Mahoney on the third 50 of the men's 200 breast and held on to a strong lead in the last 50. Barbosa checked in at 2:15.88, while UBC Dolphins' Scott Dickens touched out Auburn's Adam Klein for second, 2:16.65 to 2:16.69. Tucson Ford's Mike Alexandrov and Clark Burckle finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with respective times of 2:17.96 and 2:18.16, while Mahoney faded to third, clocking 2:18.29.

A.S.K.'s Dagny Knutson held off Tosky to take the women's 200 fly, 2:11.33 to 2:11.41, while Olympic finalist Kathleen Hersey clocked a third place time of 2:12.09. UBC Dolphins' Brian Johns clocked 2:02.06 in the 200 IM to beat Florida's Conor Dwyer, who posted a 2:03.04, while Athens Bulldogs' Billy Cregar overtook NCAA Champion Austin Surhoff in the final 50 to take third, 2:05.29 to 2:05.77.

Island's Alexa Komarnycky edged Stanford's Kelsey Ditto by four-tenths to take the women's 800 free, with respective times of 8:38.31 and 8:38.71. Both times are just outside the world top-25. Mexico's Charetzeni Escobar Torres claimed third in 8:44.25. Australia's Robert Hurley, meanwhile, followed up with a win in the men's 1500 free, clocking 15:36.07, well off his third-ranked time of 15:00.96 from March. Mexico's Daniel Delgadillo Faisal (15:41.75) and David Mosko (15:42.54) rounded out the top three.

Terrapins' team of Presley Bard, Allison Gargalikis, Kate Dwelley, and Chelsea Chenault claimed the women's 400 medley relay in 4:12.31, while Tucson Ford's international squad of Matt Grevers, Mike Alexandrov, Masayuki Kishida, and Nicholas Oliveira clocked a time of 3:44.19 for the win in the men's equivalent.

Swimming World high school intern David "The Swim Geek" Rieder is a high school swimmer in Charleston, S.C. He swims for the Southern Marlins Racing Team and often negative splits his races. He can be found on the web at swimdr549.blogspot.com and twitter.com/david2swim.

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