LOS ANGELES - Sixteen-year old Kaitlin Sandeno (Nellie Gail Gators) of Mission Viejo, Calif., and South African Ryk Neethling (Hillenbrand) won the women's and men's 800-meter freestyles, respectively, to kick off the sixth annual Janet Evans Invitational on Thursday (July 15) at the USC McDonald's Swim Stadium in the meet hosted by USC and presented by Speedo.
Sandeno, who won her first career U.S. national title at the 1999 Spring Nationals (400m IM), continued her fine season with an 8:36.21 to win the timed finals of the 800m.
"I'm really happy with the race," said Sandeno, who is scheduled to swim in 10 individual events during the meet. "It gives me a good idea of how I'll do at the Pan Am Games (Aug. 1-7). I wanted to go under 8:40 and I did. It's not too far off my best time, so I'm happy."
Joanne Malar (University of Calgary Swim Club) finished a close second in 8:38.22 and Lindsay Benko (Trojan Swim Club) was third in 8:45.08
Neethling broke his own meet record with his winning time of 8:01.36, bettering the old mark by close to six seconds. The time was also a personal best in the race.
"I was surprised. I didn't think I was going that fast," Neethling said. "I've been training really well and I'm looking forward to racing against the Aussies this summer (at the Pan Pacific Championships in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 22-29). Everything is going to plan."
Chad Carvin (Mission Viejo Nadadores) finished second in 8:07.28, also better than Neethling