SWIMMING : Burgess Regains Respect With 200 IM Victory

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Determined to redeem himself after an uncharacteristic seventh-place finish in another event, Greg Burgess scorched the 200-meter individual medley field Sunday in the Janet Evans Invitational at USC.

Burgess, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist in the 200 IM, touched at 2 minutes 4.59 seconds, breaking the meet record by 2.5 seconds, defeating runner-up Eric Burton by 4.6 seconds and swimming an unshaved personal best.

"I wanted to show myself that I could still swim real fast," Burgess said.

He had his doubts Saturday night after a disappointing 4:41.79 in a 400 IM race after he had won the 200 freestyle by 0.01 seconds.

With only one race to concentrate on Sunday, Burgess swam with zeal.

"He's getting good at the right time," said his coach, Chris Martin of Florida Aquatics. "And he works real hard. That's a tough combination to beat."

Burgess' teammate, Carlton Bruner, also set a meet record on the last day of competition. His 15:26.76 in the 1,500 freestyle gave him a 24-second victory and broke the record by 1.6 seconds.

Olympian Janie Wagstaff won two events in a 20-minute span, setting a meet record of 1:03.08 in the 100 backstroke, the sixth-fastest time in the world this year.

Swimming the 100 butterfly with a wingspan that nearly filled her lane, the 5-foot-11 Wagstaff held off Michelle Collins by 0.03 seconds.

A fellow Olympian and St. Petersburg Aquatics teammate, Nicole Haislett, claimed her fourth victory of the meet, in the 200 individual medley in 2:18.04. Haislett gained a slight lead over Allison Wagner while swimming the breaststroke, then left the 15-year-old in her wake on the freestyle leg. Earlier Sunday, Wagner won the 100 breaststroke in 1:12.90.

Olympian Jeff Rouse, the world record-holder in the 100 backstroke, won his specialty in 55.80, and Santa Barbara's Brian Alderman continued his comeback from a knee operation with the 100 butterfly title in 55.58.

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