BJ Johnson stayed on fire into the final session of the Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine. The Stanford grad blew away a tough 200 breast field to win in 2:12.11.
Fellow Cardinal Lia Neal picked up a 100 free win over the meet’s 50 champ (Cheyenne Coffman) and 200 champ (Karlee Bispo). Coffman won the 100 back herself, and USC’s Cristian Quintero won another big freestyle battle to close out the third and final night.
A reminder: the top 4 athletes in each event make the championship final, with the top 3 earning money at night. The following 16 swimmers compete in tradition, 8-man finals, distinguished as the “A consolation” and “B consolation.”
The night kicked off with the women’s 800 free. Preliminaries happened Saturday morning, giving the finalists adequate recovery time for the Sunday night showdown. It was Club Trojan’s Haley Anderson who picked up the win in the traditional, 8-person field, going 8:44.12 to outlast Katy Campbell‘s 8:47.79.
Then things switched over to the 4-person final format. The first of those events was the women’s 200 breast, where 15-year-old Nora Deleske rolled to a big win. The Golden West youngster went 2:35.12, holding off top-seeded Ashley Tse of UCLA. Tse took second with a 2:35.91. Just a tick behind was Kim Williams at 2:36.14, and Jessica Khojasteh rounded out the heat in 2:40.38.
For the men, BJ Johnson followed up his big prelims swim with an even more dominating finals effort. The Stanford grad went 2:12.11, leaving the field in the dust. The rest of the heat came down to fingernails, as 100 breast champ Mike Alexandrov took second at 2:16.34 with Carlos Almeida (2:16.44) and Max Williamson (2:16.89) in tow.
Cheyenne Coffman got her second win of the weekend by pacing the women’s 100 back. Competing for Fresno State, Coffman went 1:01.60 to beat out USC’s Kendyl Stewart, who was 1:02.05. Two more representatives from California schools closed out the heat: Felicia Lee was third for Stanford (1:02.19) and UCLA’s Madison White went 1:03.09.
The men also competed in the 100 back, with USC Trojan and Israeli national Jacob Toumarkin finishing first in 56.48. Brock Bonetti and Chase Bloch tied for second, each coming home at 57.67, and Danny Tran was 58.11 for fourth.
After that was the men’s distance race, the 1500. Though prelims on Friday were highlighted by some fast junior times, the final went to Stanford’s Danny Thomson in 15:48.26. 17-year-old Brendan Casey managed to cut 5 more seconds off his prelims time to go 15:49.57 and push Thomson for the win. Those two were well clear of the remainder of the field.
17-year-old high schooler Remedy Rule rose to the top of the field in the women’s 200 fly. The top 3, all very close coming out of prelims, put on a great show, dropping large amounts of time as they battled for the win. Rule went 2:12.38, over four seconds faster than prelims, to take the win. Noelle Tarazona took second back at 2:13.44. Meanwhile Jasmine Tosky took more than three seconds off her seed to roll in at third with a 2:13.72. Tara Halsted took home fourth place in the heat.
Former Stanford star Bobby Bollier won the men’s edition. His 1:58.49 powered him past rising youngster Corey Okubo (1:59.68), who won the 400 IM a night ago. Trojan Cary Wright took third at 2:01.14, and UCSB’s Mickey Mowry went 2:03.43 for fourth.
It was Stanford’s Lia Neal who picked up the 100 free win, denying the 200 free champ (Karlee Bispo) and 50 free champ (Cheyenne Coffman) a repeat win.
Neal’s 55.12 paced things, a few tenths up on Bispo’s 55.48. In her second final of the night, Coffman took third in 55.81. Andi Murez nearly stole that spot away, finishing in 55.99 to put all four women within a second of one another.
The final event of the night was the men’s 100. USC star Cristian Quintero just snuck under the 50-second barrier to take home the win. Quintero was 49.99 to overcome top-seeded Nick Soedel. The Utah Ute was second in 50.47. 50 free champ Alex Coville took home third place in 50.87, and USC’s Santo Condorelli closed out that heat in 50.98.
Age Group Events
Mirai Adams of California Capital Aquatics won the first age group event, the 50 free. Her 28.34 finished just ahead of the Ristic sisters (Ella and Mia) from Mission Viejo.
For the boys, Tanner Pulice continued to add to his medal haul for the weekend. His 27.39 beat Elijah de Vera for the top spot.
Another repeat winner, Riley Lexvold of the Barracudas took home the girls 200 IM, going 2:30.07. The boys race also went to Pulice, in 2:24.92. Vince Matos was just behind.
Crystal Murphy topped Mia Ristic for the girls 50 fly title. Murphy went 30.43 for that win.
For the boys, de Vera finally broke through, topping Adam Hartwell as well as Pulice with a 29.18. The other two were both 29.7s.