Dec. 1, 2007
Atlanta, Ga. - The 2007 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming Short Course National Championships ended Saturday in much the same way it began earlier this week - with American records from Olympians Natalie Coughlin and Ryan Lochte.
Lochte, of Daytona Beach, set his second American record and won his fourth event of the meet Saturday in the men's 200-yard backstroke, turning in a time of 1:36.81. Coughlin, of Cal Aquatics, won her third event and set her second American record of the meet, claiming the top sport in the women's 100y freestyle in 46.85.
Lochte jumped out to an immediate lead in the men's 200y back and gradually built a three-body-length lead on the pack. At that point, the question wasn't whether Lochte would win, but if he would break the American record he set in this very pool in 2006.
He pulled ahead of record pace at the 150-yard mark and hammered his way home to shatter the previous mark by 87-hundredths of a second. Lochte received the ConocoPhillips Performance Award for this swim and also took home the Kiphuth Award as the men's high-point scorer of the meet.
"That's what I've been training for, so I'm just glad I had a chance to race," Lochte said.
Like Lochte, Coughlin was in control the entire race in the women's 100y free, finishing nearly a second ahead of the rest of the field. Her performance made her the first woman to swim this event in under 47 seconds, and Coughlin now owns five of the top 10 times in the women's 100 free.
"I had no expectations coming into this meet," Coughlin said. "I've been on the road for two and a half weeks now, and I'm extremely happy with the way this meet turned out. It was a nice surprise and gives me a lot of confidence heading into next year."
Club Wolverine's Michael Phelps was the only other swimmer besides Coughlin and Lochte to win multiple events this week. He and National Teamer Jason Lezak went down to the wire in the men's 100y free, with Phelps gaining the edge in the final few strokes to the wall and winning in 42.14 to Lezak's 42.46.
"I just try to make sure I'm close at the 50," Phelps said. "All these guys have better turns and speed than me in a short course pool, so I just try to stay close and bring it home."
Phelps' win in the 100 free was his second of the meet after winning the 200y free on Friday.
"After going through what I went through six weeks ago, I can't ask for anything more," said Phelps, referring to a broken wrist he sustained recently. "It was my best time in the 100, and I was just off my best in other events."
Other winners Saturday night included Alyssa Anderson of Sierra Marlins in the women's 1650y freestyle (15:58.73); Erik Vendt of Club Wolverine in the men's 1650y free (14:34.85); Margaret Hoelzer of Mecklenburg Aquatic Club in the women's 200y backstroke (1:51.68); Caitlin Leverenz of El Dorado Aquatic Club in the women's 200y breaststroke (2:08.22); Eric Shanteau of Longhorn Aquatics in the men's 200y breast (1:54.94); Kim Vandenberg of Team Bruin in the women's 200y butterfly (1:53.18) and Davis Tarwater of Club Wolverine in the men's 200y fly (1:41.94).
In other news, Athens Bulldogs' Mary DeScenza earned the Kiphuth Award as the women's high-point scorer for the meet.
In the team scoring, Club Wolverine took the top spot in the combined standings with 555 points, followed by Mecklenburg Aquatic Club with 333.5 points and Athens Bulldog Swim Club with 231 points, rounding out the top three.
Breaking down the men's team scoring, Club Wolverine also took first with 368 points, followed by Mecklenburg with 201.5 points and Nashville Aquatic Club with 109 points. Club Wolverine also took first in the women's team scoring with 187 points, followed by Athens Bulldog Swim Club with 151 points and Mecklenburg Aquatic Club with 129 points.
For complete results from the 2007 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming Short Course National Championships, go to our special events section right here on usaswimming.org.
A recap of how Cal performed will be available on Sunday.