Janet Evans Invitational Day Two Finals

July 19, 2002

In a highly anticipated race between the top two backstrokers in the world, current 200-meter backstroke king Aaron Peirsol edged the 2000 Olympic gold medalist in the event, Lenny Krayzelburg, in Krayzelburg's first major race in a year to highlight the second day of the ninth annual Janet Evans Invitational on Friday (July 19) at the USC McDonald's Swim Stadium in the meet hosted by USC and presented by Speedo.

The match-up overshadowed an impressive day by former Trojan Lindsay Benko, one of the world's top freestylers who proved it by winning both the 100m and 400m freestyles.

The 200m back, however, was the main card on Friday. Peirsol, who broke Krayzelburg's world record in the event last year, won the race in a workmanlike 1:59.09. Krayzelburg, rounding back into shape after taking time off to recover from 2001 shoulder surgery, finished second in 1:59.33.

'It was pretty weird. I hadn't raced the guy in so long,' said Peirsol, who last raced Krayzelburg at the 2000 Olympics. 'This race was more of a test of will. It came down to the minute things. I tried to take it out fast in the first 50 and hold him off in the final 150. The last 50 was the hardest part.'

Krayzelburg, in his first major meet since his surgery, was very pleased, saying, 'I really surprised myself. Until today, I was leaning toward the 100 (as his only race), but this race changed my views. I feel like I still have a lot left in this race.'

Benko won the 100m free in 55.59, touching just ahead of Gabrielle Rose (Irvine Novaquatics), who was second in 55.80. South African Helene Muller was third (56.60). Benko then came back an hour later to win the 400m in a dominating 4:10.60. Hayley Peirsol (Irvine Novaquatics), the younger sister of Aaron, was second (4:14.85) while Santa Barbara's Adrienne Binder was third (4:16.14).

'I'm very happy with the times,' Benko said. 'It was a lot better than I expected. I'm very excited.'

USC senior-to-be Erik Vendt, who won a pair of NCAA titles in March, won the 400m free in 3:53.37, defeating Korean Kyuchul Han (3:55.15) and Larsen Jensen (Bakersfield, 3:56.29).

In the men's 100m free, U.S. national team veteran Jason Lezak (Irvine Novaquatics) won the event in a meet-record 49.84, breaking Brazilian Gustavo Borges' 50.00 set in 2000. Novaquatics teammate Scott Tucker was just behind Lezak in 50.04 for second while Scott VonSchoff (Sun Devils) took third (50.53).

Mary DeScenza, a 2001 World Championships silver medalist and one of America's top butterflyers, won the 200m fly in 2:12.18, well ahead of second-place Liz Van Welie (New Zealand, 2:15.08). Ilidiko Szekely (Capital Area) was third (2:16.14).

Prep phenom Michael Phelps, the world record holder in the 200m fly, won the event with ease on Friday, taking it in 1:56.51, comfortably ahead of second-place Juan Veloz (Ford, 1:59.06). New Zealand's Moss Burmester was third (2:01.19).

A New Zealand pair finished 1-2 in the women's 200m backstroke as Hannah McLean (2:14.54) and Melissa Ingram (2:15.53), competing in her first international meet, took the top two spots. Diana MacManus (Irvine Novaquatics) was third (2:16.46).

The meet continues Saturday and Sunday with prelims beginning at 9 a.m. and finals starting at 5 p.m. each day.

The order of events for the remaining days are as follows:

Saturday: 200m freestyle, 200m breaststroke, 50m freestyle, 400m individual medley, 800m freestyle relay

Sunday: 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 200m individual medley, 400m medley relay

See the Janet Evans Invitational info box at www.usctrojans.com for complete results.

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