Vlad Morozov Blazes 50 Free; Maya Dirado Has Career Night at Grand Challenge

IRVINE, California, May 25. THE Speedo Grand Challenge continued to produce some scintillating swims in Irvine as Vlad Morozov and Maya Dirado both had some special outings this evening.

After just recently turning pro, Southern California's Vlad Morozov blasted the meet record in the men's 50-meter free with a sizzling 21.78. That swim cleared the 22.23 set by Nathan Adrian back in 2011, and came up just short of Adrian's 2010 facility record of 21.55. Morozov nearly matched his fifth-ranked season best of 21.72 from the Russian Nationals, and is definitely on point heading into final preparations for the World Championships in Barcelona.

Trojan's Nikita Lobintsev (22.44) and Alex Sukhorukov (22.81) finished second and third to Morozov in the 50, while Golden West's Nick Soedel earned fourth with a 23.26.

Aquazot's Corey Okubo clocked an in-season best as he blasted the men's 400-meter IM finale with a 4:23.59. That swim bested his 4:24.40 from the 2012 Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions, and stands as his second best time ever. His 4:22.10 from the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships is his lifetime best from last August. CAST's Tommy Anderson (4:29.76), Golden West's Ryan Nelson (4:31.35) and NCA's Scott Clausen (4:31.85) wrapped up the rest of the top four.

Stanford's Andi Murez cruised to victory in the women's 200-meter freestyle with a winning time of 2:00.85, while USC's Stina Gardell took second in 2:02.27. Stanford's Julia Anderson (2:02.30) and Felicia Lee (2:02.48) rounded out the championship four in the finale.

Stanford's Maya Dirado gave the Cardinal another women's win with a 4:39.58 in the women's 400-meter IM. That swim shot her to 10th in the world this year, knocking Stefania Pirozzi (4:39.79) out of that spot as Dirado is now the fastest American in the world to this point of the season. That's Dirado's third time under the 4:40 barrier, and beats her 2011 Santa Clara time of 4:40.90 as her best in-season effort.

Her other top two times are championship meet swims with a 4:37.88 from the 2011 U.S. Summer Nationals and a 4:38.67 from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. That's a huge swim for Dirado heading into Trials next month. Stanford's Andie Taylor (4:43.85), USC's Andrea Kropp (4:48.22) and Trojan's Yana Martynova (4:49.47) also competed in the championship heat of the 400 IM tonight.

USC's Dimitri Colupaev touched out Chase Bloch, 54.66 to 54.81, for the men's 100-meter fly title. Alex Valente posted a third-place time of 55.09, while Dane Stassi claimed fourth in 55.80.

USC's Kendyl Stewart cleared 1:00 twice today in the women's 100-meter fly. After clocking a 59.51 in prelims, she raced to victory in the finale with a 59.37. While Stewart has been under 1:00 plenty of times in the past, her in-season best had been a 1:00.09 from the 2011 Los Angeles Invitational and the 2009 Swim Meet of Champions. Her 59.37 is the third-fastest swim in her career, behind her 59.06/59.17 swims at the 2011 U.S. Summer Nationals. Stanford's Felicia Lee posted her second finale of the night with a 1:00.13 for second, while Lindsey Engel (1:01.18) and Murez (1:02.72) finished third and fourth.

Chase Bloch captured the men's 200-meter backstroke title with a 2:03.12. That's his fifth-fastest swim in his career, and behind a 2:02.84 from the Armada April Senior Meet earlier this year as his best in-season swim in his career. Okubo placed second in 2:04.57, while Anderson earned third in 2:05.37. Aquazot's Thomas Smith picked up fourth in 2:06.30.

Dirado continued her remarkable night with a sterling 2:11.95 in the women's 200-meter backstroke. That swim is just her second time under 2:13 ever, behind her lifetime best of 2:11.14 from the 2011 U.S. Summer Nationals. It easily beat her previous in-season best of 2:13.35 from the 2011 Los Angeles Invitational. Henriette Stenkvist finished second in the finale with a 2:15.84, while Lolo Blair earned third in 2:19.38. Abby Richter snatched fourth in 2:20.05.

Nikita Lobintsev closed out the evening with a 3:55.22 to win the men's 400-meter free. Titus Knight finished second in 3:59.63, while Andrew Brady (4:00.63) and Jason O'Brien (4:00.94) also swam in the final championship heat.

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