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Santa Clara Day 3: Dara and B.J. Post Big Wins -- June 24, 2000

SANTA CLARA, June 24. COMEBACK queen Dara Torres and ebullient B.J. Bedford posted big wins on the third day of competition at the Cadillac Challenge Swim Series in Santa Clara.

Torres vaulted to more than a second's lead on the first 50 of the 200 free and never looked back, finishing in 2:00.54, a second ahead of Canada's Marianne Limpert (2:01.50). Angie Wester-Krieg, 35, was 14th in 2:05.31.

Bedford used a similar strategy and had no trouble in taking the 100 back, clocking 1:01.57. Fast-improving Haley Cope was second in 1:03.13, beating out a field that included Catherine Fox (1:03.33), Denali Knapp and Shelly Ripple.

Amy Balcerzak, who yesterday won consols in the 200 breast with the second-fastest swim of the day, made sure she was in the A final of the 100 breast today, then proceeded to win in 1:10.17. Tara Kirk was a distant second (1:11.60).

Maggie Bowen won the 400 IM (4:50.98) while the Pacific Dolphins (Canada) took the 800 free relay.

Sabir Muhammad took a big step toward becoming the first African-American to make the US Olympic swim team, as he won the 50 free in 22.84, well ahead of Greg Busse (23.07).

Canada's Mike Mintenko was the easy winner in the 100 fly, touching in 53.48. Jayme Cramer was second (54.81) followed by Bryan Jones (55.15) and Dod Wales (55.22). Comebacker Byron Davis, 29, was seventh in 55.74, after posting a solid 54.81 in prelims.

Bryan Walters took the lead early in the 200 back and never relinquished it, finishing in 2:00.93, almost a second ahead of Tate Blahnik (2:01.71).

Robert Margalis had no trouble in winning the 400 free, his 3:55.60 more than three seconds ahead of the rest of the field. In the 800 free relay, the Venezuelan Swim Federation took home the gold.