ATLANTA, Georgia, December 2. WITH a drastically improving backstroke leg, California's Caitlin Leverenz dominated the women's 400 IM championship final with a 4:37.68 at the USA Swimming Winter Nationals.
Leverenz, typically the best breaststroker in the field on any given night is usually in catch-up mode after backstroke. Tonight, however, she turned third and immediately took the lead in breaststroke before powering home for the win. That time finished a bit off her seventh-ranked season best of 4:36.78 clocked at Worlds. The win went along with her victory in the women's 200 IM last night to make her the first double winner.
Julia Smit finished second in the finale with a 4:40.47, while Katie Hoff took third in 4:41.46. Both are ranked among the top 25 in the world already this year with better times. Alexa Komarnycky (4:44.01), Celina Li (4:47.58), Andrea Kropp (4:47.69) and Hali Flickinger (4:48.48) placed fourth through seventh, while reigning world champion Elizabeth Beisel demonstrated the immense training she is under fading to eighth in 4:48.63. Stephanie Horner matched Beisel with a 4:48.63 of her own, while Hanna Pierse earned 10th in 4:49.81.
Kaitlyn Jones topped the B final with a 4:47.57, while Teresa Crippen touched second in 4:50.54. Stephanie Proud (4:51.10) and Tanja Kylliainen (4:51.98) finished third and fourth. Rebecca Soderholm (4:52.60), Lauren Driscoll (4:55.14), Abigail Chin (4:55.37), Annie Zhu (4:56.00) and Karie Haglund (4:56.50) placed fifth through ninth in the heat, while Emily Cameron drew a disqualification.
Brooke Zeiger won the C final in 4:53.46, while Rachael Burnett finished second in 4:54.07. Victoria Mitchell (4:54.20) and Kimberly Rashleigh (4:55.12) placed third and fourth. Samantha Harding (4:55.55), Amanda Carner (4:55.79), Kathryn Woolbright (4:56.12), Megan Rankin (5:00.29) and Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson (5:02.54) completed the legal swims in the bonus heat. Dorina Szekeres drew a disqualification.