MU swimmers race against Olympians in Missouri Grand Prix

Saturday, February 14, 2009 | 11:01 p.m. CST; updated 11:37 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 14, 2009
Swimmers start the men's 100-meter backstroke event at the Missourian Grand Prix at the Mizzou Aquatic Center. Olympian Ryan Lochte of Daytona, Fla., won first place in the event.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri men's and women's swimming teams built on their accomplishments from Day One to complete a more successful Day Two of competition at the Missouri Grand Prix.

Junior Martin Cernansky took home his second medal of the meet, getting silver in the men's 200-meter breaststroke, while freshman Lisa Nathanson took home the bronze in the women's 50-meter freestyle.

Racing three Olympians – Americans Eric Shanteau and Mark Gangloff and Tom Beeri of Israel – Cernansky edged out Beeri in his final stroke to finish with a time of 2 minutes, 15.31 seconds.

"It was amazing," Cernansky said. "I expected to do well, but I didn't expect to do that well."

In the women's 50-meter freestyle, Nathanson also raced an Olympian, American Amanda Weir. Nathanson finished with a time of 26.04 seconds, out-touching her personal best time by almost two-tenths of a second. On the other side of the pool, senior captain Lori Halvorson touched seventh with a time of 26.61 seconds.

Head Coach Brian Hoffer said he was very pleased with Nathanson's performance.

"For her, that was an unbelievable experience," he said. "That makes me more happy than anything, that she swam to her potential."

Three other Columbia swimmers finished in the Top 10 during Saturday's finals session. Rock Bridge junior Katherine Caldwell finished sixth in the women's 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:44.27, another top-eight finish in addition to her fourth-place swim in the 100 breast the previous night. Missouri sophomores Jordan Hawley and Spenser Lauver both finished 10th in their respective events. In the 50-meter freestyle, Hawley touched at 21.59 seconds, while Lauver finished the 400-meter freestyle at 4:01.37.

Coach Hoffer smiled when talking about all of his swimmers' results.

"I'm really happy," Hoffer said. "It's just good to see athletes that have worked hard swim well."

Elsewhere in the pool, French Olympian Fred Bousquet set a meet and pool record in the men's 50-meter freestyle with a time of 21.59 seconds. American Olympians Katie Hoff and Ryan Lochte took gold in their events, Hoff winning the women's 200-meter individual medley and the 400-meter freestyle, while Lochte won the men's 100-meter backstroke. Mary Descenza, keeping her scoring lead for the Grand Prix series, won gold in the women's 100-meter backstroke and a silver in the 200-meter individual medley.

Day Three of the Missouri Grand Prix will begin Sunday, with the preliminary session starting at 9 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m.



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