Coughlin Sets U.S. Open Record in 200 LCM Free During Day Three of Missouri Grand Prix

By Jason Marsteller

COLUMBIA, Missouri, February 18. DURING the third day of competition at the Missouri Grand Prix in Columbia, Mo., Natalie Coughlin took down a seven-year-old U.S. Open record in the 200 freestyle with a 1:58-flat in long course swimming.

Overall, swimmers clocked three top-ranked times in the world this year and 12 other top-10 efforts.

Women's 200 freestyle
Natalie Coughlin nipped the U.S. Open record in the 200 free with a time of 1:58.00. That time shaved .02 seconds off the 1:58.02 set by Claudia Poll on July 15, 2000 in Los Angeles, Calif. The effort also stands a bit behind Annika Liebs' 1:57.48, the standing top time in the world this year. Additionally, Coughlin's time came just more than a half-a-second off Lindsay Mintenko's American record of 1:57.41 set July 24, 2003, when she was known as Lindsay Benko.

Katie Hoff finished in second behind Coughlin with a time of 1:58.49 – the fourth-best in the world in this young year, while Margaret Hoelzer grabbed bronze in 2:00.11.

Men's 200 freestyle
A day after claiming the 200 fly world record, Michael Phelps led a Club Wolverine trio to the podium with a 1:46.47, just more than a second off his American record and easily the fastest time of the year so far.

Club Wolverine teammates Peter Vanderkaay (1:48.93) and Davis Tarwater (1:50.05) rounded out the top three. Notably, Vanderkaay's time is the third-quickest in the world this year.

Women's 200 breaststroke
Tara Kirk dropped three seconds from her prelim time to clock the second-fastest time in the world this year with a 2:27.42 in the four-lap breaststroke. Keri Hehn finished a bit behind in 2:30.49 for second, while Vipa Bernhardt took third in 2:31.00.

Megan Jendrick topped the rest of the non-top three in 2:33.13 for fourth place.

Men's 200 breaststroke
In a two-man race, Eric Shanteau picked up a rare win over world record holder Brendan Hansen with a time of 2:13.03 over Hansen's 2:13.60. Shanteau's time pipped the previous best time in the world this year of 2:13.04 set by Grigori Falko this month. Hansen's time is the fifth-best this year, but he has plenty of time to drop another earth-shattering time at Worlds next month.

Mark Gangloff picked up third-place honors in 2:16.63, while Giordan Pogioli (2:18.03) and Kevin Swander (2:18.14) completed the rest of the top five.

Women's 50 freestyle
In the women's splash-and-dash, Natalie Coughlin doubled up on the day with a 25.22. She easily knocked off second-place Amanda Weir's 25.79, while Rachel Komisarz grabbed third in 25.83.

Men's 50 freestyle
In the men's sprint, Cullen Jones continued his dominance of the event in America since Nationals this past summer with a time of 22.40. Ian Crocker finished second in 22.74, while Jakob Andkjaer snared third place in 22.81.

Women's 400 IM
17-year-old Ariana Kukors stood victorious after claiming a nearly eight-second triumph in 4:47.60 ahead of Vipa Bernhardt's second-place time of 4:55.26. Kukors' performance put her sixth in the world this year thus far. Meanwhile, Lauren Thies placed third in 4:56.25.

Men's 400 IM
Michael Phelps held off a hard-charging Ous Mellouli to get his hand to the wall first in the 400 IM in 4:11.30, while Mellouli came in right behind in 4:11.64. Both times knocked four seconds off the previous top time in the world this year of 4:15.43 recorded by Ioannis Drymonakos in January.

Meanwhile, Thiago Pereira placed third in 4:20.33 – the fifth-quickest time of the young year.