Speedo Grand Challenge: Jessica Hardy Sizzles

IRVINE, California, May 23. THE Speedo Grand Challenge began today with the top-four shootout championship format at the Woollett Aquatic Center. Jessica Hardy was on point with a pair of wins including one of the best 100 breaststrokes of the year.

Lyndsay DePaul claimed the women's 200 IM with a time of 2:17.53, while Rebecca Soni finished second in 2:19.33. Andrea Kropp took third in 2:21.65, while Liv Jensen touched fourth in 2:26.06.

Tamas Kerekjarto posted a meet record in the men's 200 IM with a time of 2:01.44. He cleared the 2:01.95 set by Ous Mellouli in 2005. Vanni Mangoni finished second in 2:02.90, while Miguel Molina (2:04.96) and Meir Hasbani (2:06.04) took third and fourth.

Hardy uncorked the third-fastest time in the world this year with a winning time of 1:06.39 in the women's 100 breast, destroying the meet record of 1:07.89 set by Tara Kirk in 2006. Only Leisel Jones (1:05.75) and Tarnee White (1:06.04) have been faster this year. Rebecca Soni finished second in 1:07.69, while Keri Hehn (1:08.85) and Jaclyn Pangilinan (1:13.00) comprised the rest of the championship heat.

In the men's 100 breast, Cheyne Bloch (1:03.16) surfaced triumphant from a battle with Matt Smith (1:03.19) and John Dorr (1:03.23), while Chris Rosales took fourth in 1:05.96.

Hardy continued her strong day with a season-best time of 24.85 in the women's 50 free. She bettered her previous best this year of 24.88 from last month. Brooke Bishop placed second in 25.90, while Liv Jensen (26.40) and Yamile Bahamonde (26.53) rounded out the top four.

In the men's 50 free, Gabe Woodward touched first in 22.80 with Dominik Meichtry finishing second in 22.96. Karl Krug (23.05) and Kicker Vencill (23.23) placed third and fourth.

With the Beijing Open Water Test Event around the corner on May 31, Chloe Sutton turned her attention to the pool with a victorious time of 4:16.39 in the women's 400 free. Lynette Lim settled for second behind her in 4:18.67. DePaul picked up third in 4:22.83 after winning the 200 IM earlier in the night. Kelsey Cummings snagged fourth in 4:23.91.