Vaziri Touches Out Olympic Gold Medalist Coughlin for 100 Back Title with Olympic Trial Cut at Namesnik Grand Prix
May 20, 2006
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Rising junior Leila Vaziri made some noise at the Eric Namesnik Grand Prix in Ann Arbor, Mich., on May 20 by touching out Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin for the 100 LCM backstroke title. The Coral Springs, Fla., product raced to gold with an Olympic Trial cut time of 1:03.61, while Coughlin took silver in 1:03.69. Earlier in the day, Vaziri posted a national-cut time of 1:05.16 for the second-fastest performance of prelims.
"This is the highlight of my entire swimming career," Vaziri said. "Natalie is obviously in the middle of training, but it was incredible to race against her. It was my opportunity and my one chance in my life to beat her. It was incredible. This whole meet has been good for me. It really helps to motivate me for this season. It has been a long time since I had a chance to train for long course. I am excited to see how the season goes. I am also really enjoying myself right now."
In other Hoosier action, rising freshman Kristin Cihoski placed 41st with a 1:09.76 in the event, while rising junior Susanna Ernst took 43rd with a 1:09.88. Meanwhile, rising freshman Sarah Stockwell finished 15th in the 100 LCM breaststroke with a 1:16.09 after touching in 1:15.46 for 14th place in the morning.
Additionally, rising junior Annica Lofstedt grabbed 16th place in the 100 LCM butterfly with a 1:05.50 after notching a 15th-place 1:05.26 in prelims. Meanwhile, Cihoski placed 27th in 1:06.11, while rising freshman Allison Kay touched in 1:08.58 for 58th place.
In the 400 LCM IM, Kay cruised in with an 18th-place 5:01.70 after clocking a 22nd-place 5:09.94 in prelims. Moreover, Ernst took 36th in 5:14.56, while Cihoski finished 37th in 5:14.69. Rising sophomore Christie Fuchs closed the Indiana effort in the event with a 56th-place 5:24.74.
Vaziri's other performance of the day came in the 200 LCM freestyle with a 19th-place 2:06.71 after recording a 2:07.66 for 20th in the morning. Meanwhile, Fuchs placed 88th in 2:15.71, while Lofstedt took 93rd in 2:16.47.
The Hoosiers will continue competition through May 21 at the Grand Prix event.
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