Former Trojan Vendt, Incoming Weir, Senior Jensen Highlight U.S. Nationals Final Day
Aug. 6, 2006
Former Trojan Erik Vendt and USC senior Larsen Jensen finished 1-2 in the 1500m freestyle while incoming transfer Amanda Weir set an American record in the 100m freestyle to highlight the final night of the 2006 U.S. Summer National Championships on Saturday (August 5) at the William Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif.
Vendt, an NCAA champion in the freestyle mile during his Trojan career, won the race in 15:05.41 while Jensen, the American record holder in the event, finished second in 15:11.11.
Jensen jumped out to a lead, only to have Vendt creep up on him at 800 meters and move ahead at the 1100-meter mark. Vendt built his lead to a body length by 1200 meters and cruised home.
The first American under 15 minutes in the 1500, Vendt has returned from a brief retirement following the 2004 Olympics.
'A year ago I was in Europe, backpacking with my best friends,' Vendt said. 'I wasn't doing anything over there but enjoying the good life, and I said, `Looks like I'm done swimming.' The thought didn't creep back into my mind until December of this past year, and when it did, I couldn't get it out. That's when I realized I wasn't done with this sport.'
Weir, a 2004 Olympic teammate of Vendt's and Jensen's who is entering USC after transferring from Georgia, won the 100m free title in 53.85, breaking Natalie Coughlin's 2002 mark of 53.99.
'I just felt like this was my time to drop a lot,' Weir said. 'It sounds bad to say you expect it, but I feel like you have to see yourself doing it, and I knew that I was capable of doing it.
'It's always great to have competitors like Natalie and Kara (Lynn Joyce). That whole heat was amazing. That always helps.'