Evans happy with Olympic trials tune-up
Janet Evans finished third in the 400-meter freestyle consolation final, while Tyler Clary and two-time Olympian Katinka Hosszu of Hungary won two titles each at the Fran Crippen Memorial Meet of Champions on Friday night.
Evans barely missed making the championship final, getting nipped by two-hundredths of a second for the eighth and final spot by her 17-year-old training partner. Evans, a 40-year-old mother of two attempting a comeback for the London Olympics, moved into second after 200 meters before settling for third in 4 minutes, 19.40 seconds.
Jessica Hardy broke her own meet and pool records in winning the 100 free, while Nathan Adrian set meet and pool records in claiming the men’s 100 ahead of fellow Olympian Ricky Berens.
Clary pulled off a successful double in about 25 minutes, easily winning the 200 butterfly in 1:58.13 and coming back to take the 200 backstroke in 1:57.63.
Hosszu, who trains at the University of Southern California, replicated Clary’s double in about the same time span, winning the women’s 200 fly and 200 back. She will compete in the European championships next month in her home country.
”This meet we are really training hard, so it’s been rough,” she said.
Evans finished sixth in the 800 free, her signature event, on Thursday night. She swam in the 400 free morning prelims Friday after dropping her young daughter off at pre-school.
”All the moms were like, `We saw you in the paper this morning,”’ said Evans, who was cheered on by her husband Billy Wilson in the evening.
Evans is no fonder of the 400 than she was years ago despite winning one of her four Olympic golds in the event. Her world record, set at age 16, stood for 18 years. The race isn’t long enough for her to get her speed going as she does in the 800.
”I’m tired,” she said, smiling. ”I’m very pleased with the meet and where I am in my progress.”
Ashley Steenvoorden outtouched Olympian Chloe Sutton by two-hundredths of a second to win the 400 free in the closest finish of the night. Sutton, who touched in 4:10.08, was frustrated a night after winning the 800 free in her home pool wearing a technical suit. In the 400 free, she reluctantly went back to her practice suit. Coach Bill Rose gave his swimmers a chance to wear tech suits in only one of their events at the meet, and Sutton chose the 800.
”It’s hard taking the (tech) suit off,” she said. ”It does so much for me mentally. I was just so off and it’s so frustrating.”
She said Rose assured her that she swam a good race, but the ultra-competitive Sutton wasn’t buying it.
”I’m not a good loser,” she said, smiling. ”I felt awful all day today. With all the hard training we’ve been doing, I have absolutely no speed.”
Hardy won the 100 free in 54.45 seconds, bettering her marks from 2008.
”I’m stoked,” she said. ”It was kind of a goal in my head to see if I could break my meet record. It shows I’m on track for this summer.”
She qualified for the Olympics four years ago, but never made it to Beijing. A positive test for a banned substance earned her a two-year suspension that was reduced to one after an arbitration panel agreed with Hardy’s contention that a tainted nutritional supplement was to blame.
”I’ve struggled with self-confidence, depression and a lot of lows,” she said. ”I’m working to come out of that. It’s been a roller coaster for me since my suspension.”
With the help of three therapists, including her mother, Hardy said she’s happy again. She recently got engaged to Swiss Olympian Dominik Meichtry.
”I try to smile and enjoy it,” she said. ”You have to appreciate it. You might not always get to do it. I learned that the hard way.”
Adrian won the men’s 100 in 48.54, followed by Berens in 49.68.
”I’m happy with it,” he said. ”I know that’s faster than I’ve been at this meet.”
Anthony Ervin, who won the 50 free at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, entered the 50 and 100 freestyles at the meet as part of his comeback, but scratched.
”He decided he’d be better off at home getting some weights in. He’s put on a ton of muscle,” said Adrian, who trains with Ervin in the Bay Area. ”He’s going fast. He’s going to be good. He’ll be in the finals at (Olympic) trials.”
Chad La Tourette, who won the 800 free Thursday, was fourth in the 400 free.