Lezak, Coughlin Post Big Wins in 100 Free
July 14, 2006
Jason Lezak won the men's 100-meter freestyle in the fastest time posted by an American swimmer in the event this year, and 2004 US Olympic medallist Natalie Coughlin captured the women's 100-meter freestyle Friday at the Janet Evans Invitational at the USC McDonald's Swim Stadium.
Other highlights from the second day of competition included the second wins of the meet by USC's Larsen Jensen and Santa Barbara Swim Club's Adrienne Binder in the men's and women's 400-meter freestyle and victories by Trojan graduates Jo Fargus and Tamas Kerekjarto.
Irvine Novaquatics' Lezak, the American record holder in the 100-meter freestyle, stopped the clock in 49.04 seconds, which bettered the Janet Evans Invitational meet record of 49.20 seconds he set when winning the race in 2004. Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics' Roland Schoeman, who captured gold at the 2004 Olympics as a member of South Africa's world record 400-meter freestyle relay team, came in second in 49.87 seconds. Sun Devil Aquatics' Nick Brunelli finished third in 49.94 seconds. Lezak's time ranks fourth fastest in the world this year for the event.
"When I pushed off the wall, I knew it was going to be a fast swim because I can usually tell how much speed I have, and I was able to pull it to the wall. So I was real happy with that time," Lezak said. "It's going real well. This is now my fourth time under 50 [seconds this year]."
California Aquatics' Natalie Coughlin, whose five medals at the 2004 Olympics tied her for the most medals won by a US female athlete at one Olympics, led from the start of her race and pulled clear to win by nearly two seconds in 54.28 seconds. Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics' Lacey Nymeyer finished second in 56.13 seconds, and California Aquatics' Allison Wagner was third in 57.19 seconds.
"All I was trying to focus on was to have a good race, work my start and work my turn, and I thought if I did that I would have a great race," Coughlin said. "Right now my preparation is nationals in two weeks."
Although he was uncontested in Thursday's men's 800-meter freestyle, USC senior Jensen had to work harder for his victory in the men's 400-meter freestyle on Friday. With 100 meters left to race, he and Mark Randall, the South African national champion in the event, were tied with the same 2:54.76 split for 300 meters. Yet Jensen, whose strength is his endurance, found another gear, swimming the final 50 meters faster than any of his other 50-meter splits. He stopped the clock in 3:51.18, 0.69 seconds ahead of Randall's 3:51.87. Nashville Aquatic Club's Shaun Phillips was third in 3:56.26.
"It was a lot more fun," Jensen said about the closer finish in Friday's race. "You push yourself a lot harder when someone's there. It makes it a little easier to do. When you're by yourself it's sometimes a little harder to get every last drop out."
Binder was never threatened while capturing the women's 400-meter freestyle in wire-to-wire fashion in 4:13.75 one day after she won the women's 800-meter freestyle using similar tactics. Coralie Balmy of the French national team took second in 4:14.89. Chanelle Watson of Laval University in Quebec, third in Thursday's 800-meter freestyle, was third in the 400 meters in 4:15.66. USC senior Kalyn Keller, second in the 800 meters, followed up with an eighth-place finish in the 400 meters.
"I've always considered the 800 free more of my event, but the 400 free is kind of an event I've just been working on for a few years, but it's definitely something out there," said Binder, a senior at Auburn. "I definitely feel really good about this [time]."
In the women's 200-meter backstroke, Fargus, who won gold in the event for Australia at this year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, led from the start to win in 2:13.67. Kathryn Thompson of Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics closed in the final half of the race to get up for second in 2:16.72 with Kristen Caverly of Irvine Aquazot Swim Club and Melanie Bouchard of Laval University in Quebec dead?heating for third 2:16.79.
Fargus, who was wearing the same green and yellow Australian swimsuit she wore in the Commonwealth Games finals, suffered a severe ankle injury in 2003 but has returned to form this year.
"I'm definitely back to where I was and, in fact, better," former Trojan Fargus said. "I'm in heavy training right now, and so I just wanted a good swim before I go to [the Pan Pacific Championships] next month. So it was pretty good."
In the men's 200-meter butterfly, Kerekjarto, a 2003 USC graduate and 2004 Hungarian Olympian, closed in the 50 meters to edge Santa Barbara Swim Club's Pat Cary in a time of 2:00.15. Cary was 0.71 seconds back in second in 2:00.86, and Tom Zaferes of Cabrillo Threshers finished third in 2:01.18.
"It's always exciting," Kerekjarto said about the late-closing style he also used in winning this event at last year's Janet Evan Invitational. "Also I do it because I can't go out that fast with that much speed and really have to save the juice for the last 50."
While a former Trojan won the men's 200-meter butterfly, a former Bruin captured the women's 200-meter butterfly with Kim Vandenberg finishing first in 2:12.18. Santa Rosa Neptunes' Amanda Sims, who led for the first 50 meters of the race, held on for second in 2:13.17. Stephanie Cota of Sierra Marlins Swim Team was third in 2:14.14.
"It was my last 200 fly before nationals," Vandenberg said. "So I was trying to get everything ready for that."
The men's 200-meter backstroke was won by Stanford Swimming's Hongzhe Sun in 2:00.53. Benjamin Stasiulis of the French national team was a close second in 2:00.70, and it was a long way back to Tyler Clary of Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team in third in 2:04.60.
"I've just been trying to find my stroke this whole season," said Sun, a senior at Stanford. "Luckily I was able to find it early tonight. The last 100 felt really good."
The Janet Evans Invitational continues on Saturday with the 200-meter freestyle, the 200-meter breaststroke, the 50-meter freestyle, the 400-meter individual medley, and the 800-meter freestyle relay. Preliminaries will begin at 9 a.m. with the finals at 5 p.m.
Tickets will be available for purchase at the USC McDonald's Swim Stadium for $3 for the preliminaries at $5 for the finals.
2006 JANET EVANS INVITATIONAL DAY TWO RESULTS
Women's 100m Free - 1. Natalie Coughlin (California Aquatics) :54.28; 2. Lacey Nymeyer (Ford) :56.13; 3. Allison Wagner (California Aquatics) :57.19
Men's 100m Free - 1. Jason Lezak (Irvine Novaquatics) :49.04; 2. Roland Schoeman (Ford) :49.87; 3. Nick Brunelli (Sun Devil Aquatics) :49.94
Women's 200m Butterfly - 1. Kim Vandenberg (Team Bruin) 2:12.18; 2. Amanda Sims (Santa Rosa Neptunes) 2:13.17; 3. Stephanie Cota (Sierra Marlins) 2:14.14
Men's 200m Butterfly - 1. Tamas Kerekjarto (Trojan Swim Club) 2:00.15; 2. Pat Cary (Santa Barbara Swim Club) 2:00.86; 3. Tom Zaferes (Cabrillo Threshers) 2:01.18
Women's 200m Backstroke - 1. Jo Fargus (Trojan Swim Club) 2:13.17; 2. Kathryn Thompson (Ford) 2:16.72; 3. Kristen Caverly (Irvine Aquazot Swim Club) 2:16.79; 3. Melanie Bouchard (Laval Univ-Quebec) 2:16.79
Men's 200m Backstroke - 1. Hongzhe Sun (Stanford Swimming) 2:00.53; 2. Benjamin Stasiulis (French Team) 2:00.70; 3. Tyler Clary (Fullerton Aquatics) 2:04.06
Women's 400m Free - 1. Adrienne Binder (Santa Barbara Swim Club) 4:13.75; 2. Coralie Balmy (French Team) 4:14.89; 3. Chanelle Watson (Laval Univ-Quebec) 4:15.66
Men's 400m Free - 1. Larsen Jensen (Trojan Swim Club) 3:51.18; 2. Mark Randall (Unattached) 3:51.87; 3. Shaun Phillips (Nashville Aquatic Club) 3:56.26
Women's 400m Free Relay - 1. Ford (A) 3:49.56; 2. Sun Devil Aquatics (A) 3:57.73; 3. Trojan Swim Club (A) 3:56.16
Men's 400m Free Relay - 1. Ford (A) 3:22.60; 2. Trojan Swim Club (B) 3:30.25; 3. Ford (B) 3:30.65