Trojans Thrive At Janet Evans Invitational

June 14, 2004

Kaitlin Sandeno, Kalyn Keller, Erik Vendt and Lenny Krayzelburg were among a handful of current and former Trojans who won events at the 2004 Janet Evans Invitational in Long Beach, Calif., last week, the last major meet and tune up before the U.S. Olympic Trials July 7-14.

Competing in a newly constructed pool that will also serve as the site of the Olympic Trials, Trojan Olympic hopefuls swam against other top U.S. competition as well as a large contingent from the Australian national team, which included Aussie star Ian Thorpe.

Trojan swimmers represented well at the meet, winning a combined six titles and making numerous finals appearances.

Current Trojan teammates Keller and Sandeno both had solid meets. Keller posted firsts in both the 800m and 1500m free while Sandeno won the 400m IM. Keller won the 800m free in 8:31.97 and the mile in 16:19.34, both meet records. She was also second in the 400m free in 4:12.86.

Sandeno won the 400m IM in 4:44.98 and was fourth in the 200m IM (2:17.20) and the 200m fly (2:12.21) and fifth in the 800m free (8:39.39).

At the 2000 Olympics, Sandeno performed in essentially the most rigorous threesome of events in one meet, taking third in the 800m free, fourth in the 400m IM and sixth in the 200m fly. She is now rounding into the same form that made her one of the U.S. stars in Sydney and is currently the second-ranked swimmer in the U.S. in both the 200m fly and 400m IM and is third in the 800m free.

Keller, looking to make her first Olympic squad, is currently ranked fourth in the country in both the 400m and 800m free.

Also ranked highly in the women's freestyle events is 2000 Olympic gold medallist and former Trojan great Lindsay Benko. She is ranked first in the 200m free and second in the 400m free.

Keller's older brother, Klete, a former Trojan NCAA title winner and 2000 Olympic medallist, swam against Thorpe in the 400m free, taking second to the Aussie, 3:46.60 to 3:47.38. Thorpe's time went under the American record (3:46.73) while Keller was less than a second off of it.

Vendt, the silver medallist at the 2000 Olympics in the 400m IM, won the event in 4:16.50 at the JEI. Also an Olympic finalist in the mile in 2000, he won that event at the JEI in 15:11.19. He was also second in the 800m free. Vendt is currently ranked second in the U.S. in the 400m IM behind world record holder Michael Phelps. He is also second in the 1500m free to Trojan freshman Larsen Jensen, who took the second semester off to concentrate on training for the upcoming Olympic Trials.

Among the most noteworthy wins at the JEI was Krayzelburg, the three-time gold-medal winning backstroker who dominated the 2000 Olympics but has been riddled with injuries since. Still unable to swim pain free, he is training exclusively for the 100m backstroke and showed he will be a strong contender at Trials after winning the event at the JEI in 55.28. Still the world record holder in the event, he will enter the Trials with the second-fastest time of the year behind Aaron Peirsol.

Current Trojan All-American Ous Mellouli, who will swim for Tunisia in Athens this summer, was third in the 400m IM and fourth in the 800m free.

Josh Ilika, a 1997 USC All-American who represented Mexico at the 2000 Olympics and plans to do the same this year, was second in the 100m fly and fifth in the 200m fly.

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