USA Swimming Grand Prix, Santa Clara: Samantha Vanden Berge, Ryan Cochrane Win Distance Events on Opening Night

By David Rieder, Swimming World high school intern

SANTA CLARA, California, June 17. THE first night of long course meter racing at the 43rd annual Santa Clara International Grand Prix featured just the women's 1500 free and men's 800 free.

Island's Ryan Cochrane claimed the men's 800 in 7:58.00, off his third-ranked time 7:53.90 from April. Cochrane, the Canadian who took bronze in this event at the 2009 Worlds, finished about four and a half seconds off Chad La Tourette's meet record of 7:53.82 set last year.

In the race, Cochrane distanced himself from a pair of Aussies, Robert Hurley and Thomas Fraser-Holmes, who clocked times of 8:01.73 and 8:03.00. Hurley has been much faster this year, with a fifth-ranked time of 7:55.36 from March. Fraser-Holmes, meanwhile, snuck into the world top 30, at 29th. Notably, Stanford's Scott Korotkin claimed the top American finish in the race, clocking a seventh-place time of 8:22.86.

Meanwhile, Team Bruin's Samantha Vanden Berge beat Clovis' Tristen Baxter to win the women's 1500. Vanden Berge, a rising sophomore at UCLA, used a strong middle section of the race to build a slight lead on Baxter, and then held off Baxter in the final 500. The pair clocked times of 16:51.63 and 16:52.91, respectively. Asphalt Green's Lauren Morford claimed third in 17:00.54.

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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