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1999 Phillips 66 National Championships: Day 2 Finals -- August 8, 1999

KRAYZELBURG BREAKS AMERICAN RECORD!!

By Phillip Whitten

Minneapolis, MN - Lenny Krayzelburg lowered his own American record for the fifth time in two years, clocking the second fastest time in history and coming agonizingly close to the world record set by Martin Lopez-Zubero in 1991. What made Krayzelburg's swim at the USA Swimming National Championships last night even more impressive was that it was done unshaved, unrested and in a week of double workouts plus weights and dryland training.

Krayzelburg clocked 1:56.68 in the 200m backstroke, just 11-hundredths shy of Lopez-Zubero's world standard, and well under the 1:56.95 American mark he had set at Spring Nationals in March. The Trojan swimmer was ahead of world record pace at every turn, splitting 56.84 at the 100 and 1:26.70 at the the 150. "I saw the 150 split--1:26.7--and I knew [breaking the world record] would be a little tough," Krayzelburg said. "I kind overswam the last 50--I picked up my tempo to 45, not the 42 it was on the second and third lap, so I was spinning my wheels a little."

Krayzeburg said he was excited to be swimming at Pan Pacs in two weeks. "I know I can break the world record in Sydney. The only question is by how much." Overshadowed by Krayzelburg's record swim was the second-place performance by Santa Clara's Tate Blahnik, who clocked a lifetime best 1:59.21.

Krayzelburg's swim was one of several superb performances at the USA Swimming Nationals in Minneapolis. Five-time Olympic gold medalist Jenny Thompson got things going in the evening's first even, the women's 100m free, when she touched in 54.66, the world's fastest time this year and the fastest time by an American since 1992, when Thompson set the American record of 54.48. Finishing second was Amy Van Dyken in 55.99, showing her recovery from shoulder surgery is progressing nicely. Third went to 17-year-old newcomer, Samantha Arsenault, of Greenwood, Mass., in 56.33.

The men's 100m free matched the women's event for excitement. Irvine Nova's Jason Lezak repeated as national champion, lowering his personal best to 49.47 in prelims and 49.34 in finals. Lezak, 23, took a commanding lead from the start, splitting 23.15 at the 50. Texas Aquatics' Bryan Jones came on strong on the final lap to finish in 49.43, a personal best. A reinvigorated Neil Walker was third in 50.14, after going 49.80 in prelims. The comebacking Jon Olsen, 31, a three-time national champion, was fourth in 50.40.

The women's 200m backstroke was won by Krayzelburg's Trojan teammate, Lindsay Benko, who won in 2:12.26 after swimming a lifetime best 2:12.25 in prelims. Badgers Lea Maurer was second in 2:1.36, just ahead of B.J. Bedford (2:13.67).

Fourteen-year-old Kristen Caverly of the Irvine Aquazots became the latest teenage sprite to win the women's 200m breaststroke, recording a lifetime best of 2:30.11, just ahead of Foxcatcher's Maddy Crippen (2:31.15) and Spring Nationals 200 IM champ, Laura Davis (2:31.29). Fourth place (2:32.50) went to comebacking Anita Nall, 23, the oldest swimmer in the field. The American record holder, Amanda Beard, was seventh (2:33.59).

The men's 200m breast went to 17-year-old Brendan Hansen of Suburban (Penn.), who out-dueled an unshaved, untapered Tom Wilkens of Santa Clara, 2:16.07 to 2:16.80. Third went to Santa Clara's Rob Canales, 2:17.15.

The women's 200m fly went to Misty Hyman in 2:10.34, who took a commanding lead on the first 50 and never looked back. Second went to Kristine Quance in 2:12.75, who brought her nine-month old baby, Trenton, to the pool to cheer her on. China's Liu Limin, swimming for Tuscaloosa in the B-Final, clocked 2:09.43.

Hillenbrand's Ugur Taner won the men's 200m fly easily, touching in 1:58.82. Alamo's Matt Hooper was second in 2:00.37.