MELBOURNE, Australia, January 6. WHILE the sprinters have been getting most of the spotlight the first two days of the Victorian Championships held in Melbourne, distance stars Grant Hackett and Kate Ziegler had the chance to show some of their strength during the third day of swimming.
400 free finals
Joining Nick Brunelli as a mentor for the U.S. National Junior Team on the trip, Kate Ziegler cruised to victory in the middle distance event with a swift time of 4:06.17. She posted the following splits along the way:
28.68, 59.33 (30.65), 1:30.71 (31.38), 2:02.01 (31.30), 2:33.58 (31.57), 3:04.91 (31.33), 3:36.90 (31.99), 4:06.17 (29.27)
She led a U.S. trio top-three sweep as Katie Gardocki, 16, placed second in 4:14.25 and Natalie Adams, 16, took third in 4:15.04.
200 fly finals
Felicity Galvez continued her strong meet thus far with another win, this time in the 200 fly, when she it the wall in 2:07.88. That performance surpassed the previous Victorian record of Samantha Hammill (2:11.81) set in April of 2006.
Meanwhile, Great Britain's Ellen Gandy, 16, settled for silver with a time of 2:09.85, while the U.S. claimed the next two spots with Natalie Adams, 16, and Kaia Simmons, 16, touching third and fourth, respectively.
50 back finals
Lauren Rogers, representing California, surfaced with the win in 28.78 in the sprint back event. Belinda Hocking, 17, finished just behind with a time of 28.87, while Grace Loh, 16, touched third in 29.61.
100 free finals
Alice Mills grabbed the 100 free crown with a time of 55.61, while Sally Foster placed second in 55.93. Shayne Reese rounded out the top three with a time of 56.06.
50 free semis
Natalie Coughlin, in town training with the rest of the University of California, posted the quickest time of semis with a 25.45, just beating out Alice Mills' 25.48. Sally Foster (25.65) and Jodie Henry, who is battling an illness, (25.67) qualified third and fourth.
A trio of Golden Bears join Coughlin in finals as Emily Silver (26.06), Madison Kennedy (26.09) and Hannah Wilson (26.19) placed fifth through seventh.
100 breast semis
Right in the middle of some heavy training, Lethal Leisel Jones looks to have all she can handle from Tarnee White. After White upended Jones in the 50 breast, the pair battled during semis with Jones winding up on top, 1:07.24 to 1:07.32.
Sarah Katsoulis (1:09.08) and Mary Olsen , 15, of the United States (1:01.32) touched third and fourth, respectively, to move on to finals.
50 fly finals
Papua New Guinea's Ryan Pini touched out Garth Kates for the sprint fly crown in an exciting finish. Pini clocked a winning time of 24.30, while Kates wound up second in 24.39. Adam Pine rounded out the top three with a bronze-winning readout of 24.83, just ahead of the U.S. duo of Bobby Bollier (24.84) and Tim Phillips (24.86).
100 free finals
Matt Targett emerged victorious from the men's sprint free event. He clocked a winning readout of 49.44, while Ashley Callus took second in 49.63. Patrick Murphy finished third in 49.88, just beating out SwimmingWorldMagazine.com special correspondent Nick Brunelli (49.95) to complete sub-50 times.
200 breast finals
Craig Calder cruised to victory by a large margin in the men's 200 breaststroke. He stopped the clock in 2:16.54, while James Stacey wound up second in 2:18.15. U.S. teenager Curtis Lovelace, 18, finished third in 2:18.98.
800 free finals
Grant Hackett crushed the competition in one of his specialties as he clocked a swift time of 7:53.74. A Chinese duo comprised the rest of the podium as Zhang Zhong Chao finished second in 8:10.19 and Dai Jun, 15, earned bronze in 8:12.62. Andrew Gemmell, 16, provided the top U.S. time with a fourth-place 8:14.96.
100 back semis
Daniel Arnamnart led qualifying with a top time of 55.88, while Ethan Rolff placed well behind with a second-place time of 56.90. Max Murphy (57.30) and Tim Johnson (57.39) of the U.S. qualified third and fourth.
50 free semis
Nick Brunelli paced qualifying with a top time of 23.09, just beating out U.S. teammate Jimmy Feigen, who qualified second in 23.14. Ashley Callus (23.21) and Jono Newton (23.24) made up the rest of the top four qualifiers for finals.
The team of Jeremy Saunders, Matthew Dinsmore, Ben Geard and Jeremy Meyer won the unorthodox men's 400 breaststroke relay in 4:29.23, while the U.S. contingent of Dagny Knutson, Ashley Evans, Lauren Perdue and Kate Ziegler scored victory in the women's 800 free relay with a time of 8:09.17. Ziegler's anchor split of 2:00.60 obviously did not hurt the effort.