3 U.S. Swimmers Win at Janet Evans Event
Lenny Krayzelburg, Natalie Coughlin and Amanda Beard won their races as Americans dominated on the final day of the Janet Evans Invitational on Sunday night.
The four-day meet was a tuneup for next month's U.S. Olympic trials to be held in the same above-ground pool built on a parking lot along the Long Beach shoreline.
Jenny Thompson, who will try to make her fourth Olympic team at age 31, was third in the 100 butterfly.
Krayzelburg won the 100-meter backstroke in 55.28 seconds — well off his nearly 5-year-old world record.
"I wanted to go a little faster," said Krayzelburg, the defending Olympic champion. "It's a good statement race. The last couple of races I was starting to tighten up a bit. This time I felt pretty comfortable, maybe because we're starting to come down in intensity."
Randall Bal, expected to challenge Krayzelburg at the trials, was second in 55.61. His arm hit the lane line coming down the stretch, something that happens frequently.
"If you hit it, you have to keep chugging along. They're brutal when you hit them. You feel it," he said.
Jeff Rouse, the 1996 Olympic champion attempting a comeback at 34, was seventh in the eight-man field.
Coughlin earned her third victory of the meet, taking the 100 backstroke in 1:00.80. She also swept the 100 and 200 freestyles.
"I was hoping to be slightly faster," she said. "I'm not too worried. I'm just going to rest up and get ready for trials. I was surprised at how good my freestyles felt. I've been working on technical aspects of the stroke and they really came together better than I thought they would."
Australian Ian Thorpe swam the backstroke leg of the 400 medley relay after the Aussies were short a swimmer. Thorpe, who won the 200 and 400 freestyles and was second in the 100 free, completed his 100 meters in 56.13 and touched ahead of Auburn backstroker Bryce Hunt. But the Aussies finished second to Auburn's team.
Thorpe rarely swims backstroke and he didn't show any enthusiasm for adding it to his repertoire. "It's not doing it for me at the moment," he said.
Beard, the darling of the 1996 Olympics, won the 200 individual medley in 2:15.22.
"It was exhausting, it was tough," she said. "I'm happy with the effort I put in, but not really happy with my time. Every win builds your confidence up, but doesn't mean you're going to make the Olympic team."
Beard has been romantically linked in the Australian media with Thorpe. She was part of a group of American swimmers who visited Las Vegas last month when Thorpe and his teammates were there after high-altitude training in Arizona.
But she denied a romance with her fellow Olympic gold medalist. Thorpe on Saturday brushed off rumors of a quickie Vegas wedding with Beard.
"I've ruled out boys for the summer," she said.
Australian Petria Thomas was the only foreign winner Sunday, taking the 100 butterfly in 58.56 against a strong field, some of whom are likely to be in the Athens Olympics. Martina Moravcova of Slovakia was second in 58.75 and Thompson was third in 59.21. They were the only women to swim under one minute.
"I wanted to go faster," Thompson said. "It was a great opportunity to race Petria and Martina. I'm on track to start resting now and be ready for trials. I am on course to go faster than I ever have."
Misty Hyman was disqualified for staying underwater too long after the start. Hyman used to stay under for the first 30 meters before her technique was outlawed in 1998.
"I did that on purpose, for old times' sake," she said, laughing. "I would've gotten beat either way."
Ed Moses, a 2000 Olympian, was fourth in the 100 breaststroke.
Kalyn Keller won the 1,500 freestyle in a meet record 16:19.34, and Erik Vendt won the men's mile in 15:11.19.
Eric Shanteau won the 200 individual medley in a meet record 2:02.44; Michael Cavic won the 100 butterfly in 53.95; Tara Kirk completed a sweep of the breaststroke events by winning the 200 in 1:08.50; and Mark Gangloff won the 100 breaststroke in a meet record 1:02.34.
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