Takeshi Matsuda (JPN) continued to register standout times over 200m butterfly, his 1:54.57 win in the 200m butterfly at the Santa Clara Grand Prix delivering victory by a couple of seconds and granting him the four best performances in the world this year.
On 1:54.01 and 1:54.19 in final and semis at Japanese national in April, Matsuda also swam a 1:54.69 at the Japan Open last week on a trail on consistency. The man who is next on the world ranking list (on 1:54.71), Nick D'Arcy (AUS), took second in 1:56.43 in a tight call with Robert Bollier, on 1:56.77.
Over in Austin, on 1:54.79, the Orca of the school, Michael Phelps, reminded Matsuda and D'Arcy of his presence by stepping up from a season best of 1:55.32 on his way to US Olympic trials 12 years after making the cut as a 15-year-old bound for Sydney 2000.
After Australia had won three races close together, Caitlin Leverenz, Cal, stopped the tour party with a 2:10.81 victory over Olympic champion Stephanie Rice, on 2:11.18, the American ripping 1.71sec off the Australia on breaststroke.
Rice came back hard on freestyle on 30.50 to Leverenz's 31.41 but Teri McKeever's charge had done enough. Third went to Madeline Dirado in 2:13.70, Erica Morningstar (CAN) on 2:14.42.
Natsumi Hoshi (JPN) put in a 32.90 last length in the 200m butterfly to settle and argument with 18-year-old Jasmine Tosky 2:07.32 to 2:09.66, all but half a second of the difference gained after the final turn. Kim Vanderberg clocked 2:10.02 for third. Among the world top three this year, Melbourne-based Ellen Gandy (GBR and Nunawading) swam 2:12.55 in heats but skipped the final at a stage of adaptation in her preparations for London 2012.
Olympic champion Leisel Jones (AUS) took charge of the 100m breaststroke with a 31.87 on the way out on her way to a 1:07.37 victory ahead of Alia Atkinson, 1:08.45, and Aussie teammate Sarah Katsoulis, on 1:09.08, with her Nunawading teammate Kate Haywood (GBR) on 1:09.68.
The men's equivalent went to Scott Dickens (CAN) in 1:00.69 ahead of Glenn Snyders (NZL), 1:01.44, and Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima (JPN), 1:01.56. Kitajima leads the world rankings in 58.90, from Japanese nationals in April.
Emily Seebohm was the next Aussie to lead the way, a 1min flat in the 100m backstroke keeping at bay Julia Wilkinson (CAN), 1:00.45, and Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin (USA), 1:00.83. As in most races, the canvas was still at the stage of sketch, the B final featuring world record holder Gemma Spofforth on 1:03.75, a range of 1:02.9 to 1:04.8 usual for the Florida-based Brit at this stage of the year, even back in Olympic year last time round.
Ashley Delaney made it victory No3 for Australia on 54.89 in the 100m backstroke ahead of teammate Hayden Stoeckel, on 55.51, with Randall Bal third in 56.03. The B final went to Arkady Vyatchanin in 56.63, the big Russian, like Spofforth, based at the Florida Gators and apt to struggle to get within 2.5-3sec of best away from rested swims.
Japanese visitors Ken Takakuwa and Yuya Horita took a 1-2 in the 200m medley on 2:00.55 and 2:01.44 respectively ahead of Scott Weltz, on 2:03.31.
In the women's 800m freestyle Lauren Boyle clocked 8.29.44 ahead of Alexa Komarnycky (CAN), on 8:32.68, and Andreina Pinto, of Florida Gators and Venezuela, on 8:33.28.