English Sets U.S. Open Record in 50 LCM Back at Missouri Grand Prix

By Jason Marsteller

COLUMBIA, Missouri, February 16. IN a day that featured a ton of fast swims, Lauren English posted one of the best efforts of the Missouri Grand Prix long course meet held in Columbia, Mo., on Feb. 16-19. English clocked a U.S. Open record of 28.90 in the 50 back. The time eclipsed the 29.01 set by Natalie Coughlin in Concord, Calif., on Aug. 6, 1998.

Overall, the competition registered nine top-10 times in the world this year, with three of them topping the world swim rankings in Ous Mellouli (800 free – 7:54.85), Tara Kirk (50 breast – 31.16) and Kevin Swander (50 breast – 28.03).

Women's 50 butterfly
Rachel Komisarz of Lakeside Swimming dominated the field with a gold-winning time of 27.11 in the sprint fly – the seventh-fastest time in the world this year. With the best seat in the house, 14-year-old Lauren Harrington put her name on the map by picking up a surprising second place in 27.89. That time held off big names such as Mary DeScenza (27.92), Kim Vandenberg (27.93) and Margaret Hoelzer (27.96), who finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Men's 50 butterfly
In a small field, Peter Verhoef popped a 25.60 to easily grab gold in the event. 16-year-old Charley Wang continued the run of teenaged silver medalists with a time of 26.31, while Daniel Alcantara snagged third in 26.68.

Men's 800 freestyle
Ous Mellouli ripped off the fastest time in the world this year with a winning time of 7:54.85 as the first man under eight minutes this year. Chad La Tourette wound up in second with a time of 8:05.47, while Sergiy Fesenko pocketed bronze in 8:05.52. Both of those times stand third and fourth-fastest in the world.

Women's 50 backstroke
A whole host of big names battled in the 50 back, with a trio of 17-year-olds coming out on top. Lauren English clocked the second-fastest time in the world this year with a U.S. Open record 28.90 effort, while Ariana Kukors took silver in 29.84, the eight best in the world this year. Jenny Connolly closed out the podium with a third-place time of 30.06 to hold off Margaret Hoelzer (30.20).

Men's 50 backstroke
Marcelo Possato touched first in the sprint back for gold in 27.39, while Fabio Santi placed second in 27.85. Meanwhile, Miguel Robles took third in 28.29 to round out the top three.

Women's 1500 freestyle
Flavia Rigamonti hit the wall in the marathon free with a time of 16:24.31 – the second-quickest in the world this year. Sachiko Yamada took second in 16:45.58, the sixth-best time in the world this year. Kalyn Keller, competing under the Club Wolverine banner, finished third in 16:56.32.

Women's 50 breaststroke
Tara Kirk started off a blazing fast pair of breaststroke events as both winners turned in the fastest times of the year. Kirk held off Megan Jendrick (31.28) with a top time of 31.16. Jendrick, however, had nothing to mope about as her time is currently the second best in the year. Vipa Bernhardt closed out third place with a 32.58 time.

Men's 50 breaststroke
The months of February and March seem to be great for the fortunes of Kevin Swander. After taking Big Ten Swimmer of the Championships and placing runner-up at NCAAs in the 100 breast last year, Swander stormed out to the fastest time of the year with a 28.03. That effort knocked off Scott Usher's 28.88 and Giordan Pogioli's 28.90.