Santa Clara International Invitational: Ariana Kukors Posts Second-Fastest Textile Effort

SANTA CLARA, California, June 19. THE 2011 edition of the Santa Clara International Invitational came to a close with some blistering times going into the books during the long course meter event.

FAST's Ariana Kukors cracked her meet record in the women's 200 IM with a 2:09.53. That swim eclipsed her previous standard of 2:10.88 set in 2009, and moved her to the top of the world rankings this year ahead of Alicia Coutts' 2:09.68 from the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrum. Kukors' effort tonight fell short of Ye Shiwen's textile best of 2:09.37 posted in 2010, but is the second fastest time done outside of the techsuit era. Kukors owns the world record with a 2:06.15 that occurred at the end of the techsuit era during the 2009 World Championships. Australia's Stephanie Rice clocked a 2:11.39 for second, shy of her fifth-ranked season best of 2:10.41 from April. California's Caitlin Leverenz posted a third-place 2:13.24 to round out the top three.

Longhorn's Kathleen Hersey beat Rice, 2:06.89 to 2:07.54, in an international showdown in the women's 200 fly. Both swimmers cleared the previous meet record of 2:07.77 set by Mary DeScenza back in 2008. Hershey moved to seventh in the world rankings with her swim, while Rice jumped into 10th by improving on her previous best of 2:07.87 from April. Stanford's Elaine Breeden claimed third tonight in 2:08.14 to better her season best of 2:08.60.

Australia's Nick D'Arcy upset NBAC's Michael Phelps by the slimmest of margins in the men's 200 fly, 1:55.39 to 1:55.40. D'Arcy moved to fifth in the world rankings, while Phelps remained fourth with a season best 1:55.34 from March. Stanford's Bobby Bollier claimed third in 1:57.92.

Trojan's Rebecca Soni threw down a meet record 1:05.83 during prelims to break training partner Jessica Hardy's 2006 mark of 1:06.97. The 1:05 is Soni's fourth of the year (1:05.57, 1:05.79, 1:05.83, 1:05.89) as she owns the top four times thus far. Soni elected to scratch the finale, and Hardy won the event in her absence with a 1:07.45 Hardy is the only other swimmer under 1:06 this year with a season best 1:05.90 to her credit from May. Wisconsin's Ashley Wanland finished second in 1:09.25, while Tucson Ford's Amanda Beard completed the podium with a third-place 1:09.46.

After leading prelims with a top time of 1:01.37, Longhorn's Brendan Hansen fell to second in the men's 100 breast finale with a 1:01.66. Trojan's Eric Shanteau snagged the gold medal with a 1:01.54 at night. Trojan's Mike Alexandrov touched third in 1:02.05.

Australia's Emily Seebohm cracked the 1:00 barrier for the first time this year in the women's 100 back with a victorious 59.77. That performance moved her to fifth in the world rankings with only Aya Terakawa (59.17), Anastasia Zueva (59.35), Belinda Hocking (59.55) and Missy Franklin (59.56) ahead of her. Colorado Stars' Franklin joined her this evening under 1:00 with a second-place 59.98, while Australia's Meagan Nay followed up a scorching 200 back last night with a third-place 1:00.96 tonight.

Trojan's Thiago Pereira captured the men's 200 IM title in 1:57.63, short of his second-ranked season best of 1:57.35 set in May. Daytona Beach's Ryan Lochte finished second with a 1:58.99 to move to seventh in the world rankings. Lake Forest's Conor Dwyer earned third tonight in 2:01.08.

New Zealand's Daniel Bell picked off Lochte, 54.70 to 55.22, in the men's 100 back. SwimMAC's Eugene Godsoe finished third overall in 55.63. Athens Bulldog Wendy Trott won the women's 800 free in 8:32.27. NBAC's Camryne Morris finished second in 8:35.14, while Canada's Alexa Komarnycky earned third in 8:35.27. Michael McBroom won the men's 1500 free in 15:23.43, while Jackson Wilcox took second in 15:32.11. Mark Randall wound up third in 15:33.07.