Monday, June 20, 2011

Ariana Kukors Wins Gold as Santa Clara International Grand Prix Concludes

Missy Franklin is the 2010-2011 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series Champion

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA (June 20, 2011) Ariana Kukors (Auburn, Wash.) turned in the world’s fastest time of the year in the 200m IM on the final day of competition at the 2011 Santa Clara International Grand Prix. Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.) picked up his fourth medal of the meet Sunday night while Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) was named the champion of the 2010-2011 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series.

In addition to Franklin’s win as the Grand Prix Series Champion, she also took home the meet’s high-point award for female swimmers in Santa Clara. Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) was named the high-point award winner on the men’s side. Franklin will be presented with the Grand Prix Series trophy at USA Swimming ConocoPhillips National Championship which will take place August 2-6 in Palo Alto, Calif. As a high school student with collegiate eligibility, Franklin is unable to receive the Grand Prix Series prize money.

In the 200m IM, Kukors broke her own meet record set in 2009 by swimming a 2:09.53. Her time was also the fastest time in the 200m IM this year. Stephanie Rice from Australia took the silver medal by swimming a 2:11.39 and Caitlin Leverenz (Tucson, Ariz.) won the bronze with a 2:13.24.

Kathleen Hersey (Atlanta, Ga.) set a meet record in the first event of the night, the women’s 200m fly. Her time of 2:06.89 was nearly a second faster than the old record set by Mary Descenza in 2008. Stephanie Rice from Australia had the second fastest time at 2:07.54 and 2008 Olympian Elaine Breeden (Lexington, Ky.) placed third with a 2:08.14.

Phelps and Nicholas D’Arcy from Australia were neck-and-neck in the men’s 200m butterfly but in the end, D’Arcy touched the wall first by one-one hundredth of a second in 1:55.39. Phelps finished in 1:55.40 and Robert Bollier (Mission Hills, Kan.) came in third at 1:57.92.

In the women’s 100m breaststroke, Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) took home the gold medal with a 1:07.45. Ashley Wanland (Long Grove, Ill.) beat out Amanda Beard (Irvine, Calif.) for second place with a time of 1:09.25. Beard finished in 1:09.46. During morning prelims Sunday, Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.) swam the fastest time of the day, setting a meet record with a time of 1:05.83. Soni opted to not swim in Sunday’s finals.

In the women’s 100m back, Australia’s Emily Seebohm swam the fifth fastest time in the world this year with a 59.77. Franklin finished second to Seebohm in 59.98 while fellow Australian Meagen Nay swam a 1:00.96 for third.

Daniel Bell from New Zealand had a strong showing in the men’s 100m backstroke. His time of 54.70 beat Lochte’s 55.22 and Eugene Godsoe’s (Greensboro, N.C) 55.63. Lochte and Godsoe finished second and third, respectively.

Thiago Pereira from Brazil broke the third meet record of the night with a time of 1:57.63. The victory was Pereira’s second of the four-day meet. Lochte came into the wall next at 1:58.99 and Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) finished third at 2:01.88.

In the women’s 800m free, Wendy Trott of South Africa finished first with a time of 8:32.27. Camryne Morris (Baltimore, Md.) was second in 8:35.14. Alexa Komarnycky of Canada finished third in 8:35.27. The men’s 1500m free was won by Michael McBroom in 15:23.43. Jackson Wilcox (Hixson, Tenn.) finished second in 15:32.11 and Mark Randall was third in 15:33.07.

The Santa Clara International Grand Prix was the seventh and final stop of the 2010-2011 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series.

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