Flash! Elizabeth Pelton Lowers American Record in 200 Back

ATHENS, Georgia, December 2. CALIFORNIA's Elizabeth Pelton bettered her American record in the women's 200-yard back today at the Georgia Invitational.

Pelton blasted a time of 1:48.90 to win the race by more than four seconds, clearing her previous standard of 1:49.16 set in Annapolis in March 2011. She also joined Gemma Spofforth in the 1:48 club, falling a bit shy of Spofforth's NCAA and U.S. Open standard of 1:48.34 set for Florida in 2009.

Last night at the U.S. Winter Short Course Nationals, Missy Franklin nearly broke the American record with a strong 1:49.18, but Pelton had more than enough to finish the job today by taking the mark under 1:49.

While Pelton definitely earned top billing with her American record, Virginia's Courtney Bartholomew (1:53.03) and California's Cindy Tran (1:53.42) finished second and third in the distance dorsal. Bartholomew and Pelton both beat the NCAA A cut of 1:53.17. California's Jacob Pebley just missed the NCAA A cut in the men's 200 back with a 1:41.62. Auburn's Kyle Owens took second in 1:42.36, while Georgia's Ty Stewart earned third in 1:43.26.

Auburn's Katie Gardocky won the women's 1650 free in 16:18.77, while Virginia's Kelly Offutt took second in 16:21.56. Virginia's Carolina Kenney placed third in 16:27.10. Georgia's Matias Koski followed with a 14:53.32 to win the men's 1650 free. Teammates Martin Grodzki (14:57.07) and Andrew Gemmell (14:59.97) earned second and third.

Georgia's Megan Romano beat the NCAA A cut in the women's 100 free with a 47.99, while teammate Allison Schmitt took second in 48.42. Fellow Bulldog Shannon Vreeland rounded out the top three in 48.69. Auburn's Marcelo Chierighini lit up the men's 100 free in 42.73, while California's Fabio Gimondi took second in 43.29. Georgia's Matt Ellis wound up third in 43.60.

California's Caitlin Leverenz crushed the women's 200 breast field with a sterling 2:06.46, while Georgia's Annie Zhu placed second in 2:07.62. Additionally, Auburn's Micah Lawrence (2:08.23) and Georgia's Melanie Margalis (2:08.70) qualified for NCAAs as the top four swimmers bettered or equaled the 2:08.70. Harvard's Chuck Katis punched his ticket to NCAAs in the 200 after doing so in the 100 breast last night as he won today in 1:54.08. California's Trevor Hoyt (1:54.82) and California's Josh Prenot (1:55.06) placed second and third.

Leverenz doubled up with a 1:55.69 as she tied teammate Rachel Bootsma for the women's 200 fly title, while Harvard's Courtney Otto took home third in 1:56.24. California's Will Hamilton clipped the NCAA A cut in the men's 200 fly with a 1:42.75. Mark Dylla (1:44.35) and Georgia's Ty Stewart (1:45.97) touched second and third.

Georgia's Chantal Van Landeghem (49.35), Shannon Vreeland (47.90), Melanie Margalis (48.53) and Megan Romano (46.93) topped the women's 400 free relay in a sterling 3:12.71, while California's Rachael Acker (49.45), Rachel Bootsma (48.22), Elizabeth Pelton (47.94) and Cindy Tran (49.05) took second in 3:13.66. Auburn's Hannah Riordan (49.01), Emily Bos (48.75), Olivia Scott (48.82) and Aubrey Peacock (49.49) placed third in 3:16.07 as the top three all beat the NCAA A cut.

Auburn's Alexander Hancock (43.60), James Disney-May (43.18), Kyle Owens (42.21) and Marcelo Chierighini (42.47) was the only foursome to beat the men's 400 free relay NCAA A cut with a winning time of 2:51.46.