Mark Stephens Wins 200 IM At 2004 Summer ConocoPhillips Nationals

Aug. 9, 2004

Stanford, Calif. - Junior Cardinal swimmer Mark Stephens won his first national title in the 200m IM at the 2004 Summer ConocoPhillips Nationals held at the Avery Aquatic Center on the campus of Stanford University.Stephens, clocked in at 2:04.34, won one of the most closely contested races seen in this or any national meet. Four athletes turned into the freestyle separated by only .36 seconds. At the finish those same four were separated by only .26, with the winner flying in from an outside lane.This was one of those races where an 'oldster' add a healthy portion of spice to the proceedings as the leader at that 150 mark was none other than 38-year-old Barcelona Olympian Ron Karnaugh. Dr. Ron got home in under 30 seconds to finish in 2:04.60 (well under his 2002 world mark of 2:08.19 for ages 35-39 in Masters competition), but it was not enough to hold off Stephens, Alister Paul, 21, Boilermaker Aquatics(2:04.43) and Adam Mitchell, 20, Minnesota(2:04.46).The race had special meaning for Stephens even beyond being his first national win. 'It's amazing. My coach, Ed Spencer, is retiring, and that was his last race,' Stephens said. 'It came down to a big, huge race at the end in the freestyle, and I was lucky to pull it out in Lane 1. I guess they didn't see me. I'm really excited.'courtesy of swiminfo

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