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Lyndon Ferns (Who?) Swims Blazing 50 to Highlight Day One of Texas Invite -- December 5, 2003 Lyndon Ferns, Arizona, 2003-2004

AUSTIN, Texas, December 4. UNIVERSITY of Arizona sophomore Lyndon Ferns -- a virtual unknown -- shocked the field to win the 50 free on the first day of the three-day University of Texas Invitational.

The meet is using an unusual format: qualifying is swum in short course yards, while the finals are swum long course meters. Ferns took advantage of the dual-venue format to record the fastest times -- by far -- this year in both. In the prelims, he swam a blistering 19.22 for 50 yards; in the finals, he stroked 22.32 for 50 meters. Cal's Duje Draganja was second in both sessions, clocking 22.77 at night after going 19.68 in the morning.

Shelly Ripple made her debut in her comeback effort here and the ex-Stanford star was impressive, winning the 100m fly in 1:00.13 (52.43y in prelims. Texas' Sarah Wanazek was second in 1:00.87 (52.83y in prelims).

The men's 100 fly went to world record-holder Ian Crocker in 52.94, after he qualified fourth (48.20y).

ASU's Agnes Kovacs, Olympic gold medalist for Hungary in the 200m breast in Sydney, took the 200 IM in 2:15.96 (2:00.93y in prelims). Tanica Jamison, who qualified first in 1:59.73, could only manage fifth in the long course final, 2:20.31. Olympian Tommy Hannan took the men's 200 medley in 2:04.64 after posting the #1 prelim time, 1:48.81.

The 400 free was owned by the USC Trojans. Teammates Kaitlin Sandeno (4:13.03) and Kalyn Keller (4:14.43) went one-two in the women's event, with Keller posting a 4:42.09 for 500 yards in prelims. Arizona's Emily Mason had the top qualifying time in prelims with a nation-leading 4:42.07, but opted to scratch the final. The Trojans took the top three spots in the men's race, with Erik Vendt (3:52.49) leading the way, followed by Ous Mellouli (3:53.51) and Larsen Jensen (3:54.93).

Texas took three of the four relays: women's 200 free (1:44.35) and 400 medley (4:13.78) and men's 400 medley (3:48.40). Cal prevented a Longhorn relay sweep by winning the men's 200 free (1:31.23).