Janet Evans Invitational: Natalie Coughlin Just Misses World Record in 100 Back; Ryan Cochrane Breaks Canadian Record

LOS ANGELES, California, June 8. THE world may not be ready for what Natalie Coughlin has coming at the U.S. Olympic Trials or in Beijing this summer. For the second time, Coughlin ripped off a 59.2 in the women's 100 back, this time at the Janet Evans Invitational. Ryan Cochrane also broke his Canadian record in the men's 1500 free.

Coughlin blew up the JEI crowd with the second-fastest time ever of 59.27, behind only her world record time of 59.21. The way Coughlin is going, after setting the world record during prelims of the Missouri Grand Prix and clocking the 59.27 just three weeks out from Trials, 58 might not be out of the realm of possibility soon. Coughlin went out in 28.94, slower than her world-record pace of 28.77, but she brought it back faster than her 30.44 during the world record with a 30.33. Putting the two top halves together would give Coughlin a 59.10.

Lauren Rogers (1:02.45) and Sherry Tsai (1:03.72) were the second and third-place finishers in the race.

Rebecca Soni opened the evening with a solid time of 2:25.80 to win the women's 200 breast. Canadian breaststroke star Annamay Pierse placed second in 2:26.28, while Keri Hehn took third in 2:27.08.

In the men's 200 breast, John Criste won going away with a time of 2:14.29. Miguel Molina finished second in 2:16.62, while Vanni Mangoni placed third in 2:17.93.

After Coughlin's blistering swim, Peter Marshall picked up the men's 100 back title in 54.62. Derya Buyukuncu grabbed second in 55.67, while David Russell touched third in 56.29.

The 200 butterflies were next with Elaine Breeden clinching a convincing win in 2:09.70. Courtney Eads placed second in 2:12.82, while Tanya Hunks touched just behind in third with a 2:12.86.

Eddie Erazo claimed the men's title in 1:58.75, ahead of Tamas Kerekjarto's second-place 1:59.22. Patrick Cary wound up third in 2:00.10.

Jessica Hardy continued her emergence as a threat in the 100 free with a quick time of 54.87, while Emily Silver took second in 54.94. Julia Smit concluded a strong meet with a third-place time of 55.13.

Jason Lezak, a veteran of the 100 free, topped the event in 48.84, while Dominik Meichtry placed second in 49.03. Brent Hayden of Canada rounded out the podium in 49.09.

The distance events closed down the individual events for the meet. Savannah King, 16, won another distance event with a time of 8:36.33 in the women's 800 free. Lynette Lim, 16, placed second in 8:53.08, while Julie Imagane took third in 8:56.76.

The men's 1500 free proved to be one of the most exciting swims across the world this weekend. Cochrane emerged with the Canadian record with a time of 14:50.65. He knocked four seconds off his own standard of 14:54.66 set at the Canadian Olympic Trials. Meanwhile, Ous Mellouli dropped a strong time of 14:56.22, while Larsen Jensen took third in 14:58.80. Those were the second through fourth best times in the world this weekend behind only Federico Colbertaldo's 14:50.59 from the Sette Colli meet in Rome. All four times were among the top 10 in the world this year as well.

Jason Lezak at Janet Evans Invitational

Natalie Coughlin at Janet Evans Invitational