Janet Evans Invitational Day Three Finals

July 20, 2002

Erik Vendt, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist in the 400m IM, showed he hasn't lost a step -- or stroke -- in the event, beating new rival Michael Phelps to highlight the third day of the ninth annual Janet Evans Invitational on Saturday (July 20) at the USC McDonald's Swim Stadium in the meet hosted by USC and presented by Speedo.

Both Vendt and Phelps swam under Vendt's silver-medal-winning time in Sydney. Vendt won the race in a meet- and pool-record time of 4:13.93 while Phelps was second in 4:14.15. Vendt won the silver in 4:14.23 at the Olympics. Trojan Olympian Dave Wharton owned the previous pool record (4:15.93, 1989) while University of Calgary's Curtis Myden owned the old meet record (4:22.60, 2000).

Phelps, the world record holder in the 200m fly, led by more than a second after the opening butterfly leg and still led by a full second after the backstroke. But it only took 50 meters of breaststroke for Vendt to claim the lead and he held more than a two-second lead after 100 meters. Vendt then held off a charging Phelps in the freestyle for the win.

'I really wanted to work the breaststroke (leg). My breaststroke in the morning was a lot better than I thought it would be. My legs felt great,' Vendt said. 'I knew that he'd be ahead of my after the fly, but I just wanted to stay in contact. We're both great competitors and we both hate to lose. It helps us perform the way we did.'

Lindsay Benko won her third event of the meet with a convincing victory in the 200m freestyle. The third fastest American ever in the event, she cruised to first in 1:59.11, touching well ahead of second-place Natalie Coughlin (Cal, 2:00.13). Gabrielle Rose (Irvine Novaquatics) was third (2:02.37). Benko won the 100m and 400m free on Friday.

'I'm really happy. It's been a while since I've been that fast,' said Benko, adding she has almost completely recuperated after breaking her kneecap last year. 'This competition is real close to what the finals will be like at Nationals (in August). Competition-wise, it's real intense. I feel really good about how I'm swimming.'

Klete Keller of Club Wolverine, the second-fastest American ever in the 200m free, won the event on Saturday in 1:51.97, just ahead of Scott VonSchoff (Sun Devils), who finished second in 1:52.04. USC All-American Jeff Lee was third (1:52.33).

In the closest race of the day, two of America's best women's breaststrokers dueled in the 200m breast with Tara Kirk (Metwest, 2:29.25) edging Amanda Beard (Ford, 2:29.29) at the wall. Kristen Caverly (Nellie Gail) was third (2:32.59).

Haley Cope (Cal), the 2001 World Championship gold medalist in the 50m free, won the event on Saturday in 25.49. Kara Lynn Joyce (Club Wolverine), 16, was second in 25.88, finishing ahead of third-place Toni Jeffs (New Zealand), who is more than twice her age at 33.

Roland Schoeman (Ford) won the men's 50m free in 22.61, touching ahead of Jason Lezak (Irvine Novaquatics, 22.76) and Randall Bal (Stanford, 23.01).

Maggie Bowen (Auburn) won the women's 400m IM in 4:45.47, topping Caverly (4:48.62), who was in her second final of the day, and Liz Van Welie (New Zealand, 4:49.82).

Trojan Swim Club won the men's 800m free relay as Vendt, Lee, Trent Staley and Erik Hochstein won in 7:33.73.

The meet concludes Sunday with prelims beginning at 9 a.m. and finals starting at 5 p.m.

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

For complete results, see the Janet Evans Invitational info box at www.usctrojans.com.

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