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Evans finishes 6th in 800 at Olympic tuneup meet

Associated Press Modified: May 27, 2012 at 11:01 pm •  Published: May 27, 2012

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Janet Evans finished sixth in the 800-meter freestyle Sunday at the Speedo Grand Challenge in the former Olympic champion's final tuneup meet before the Olympic trials next month when she'll try to make the U.S. team at 40.

Haley Anderson, who also competes in open water swimming, won the race in 8 minutes, 33.65 seconds. The 20-year-old swimmer who swims at Southern California will try to make the London Olympics in an open-water qualifier June 9 in Portugal.

Anderson raced former Olympian Kate Ziegler to the wall, with Ziegler touching second in 8:33.97.

"She really pushed it so that made me get in an extra gear," Anderson said.

Ziegler won the 200 and 400 freestyles earlier in the three-day meet, and will try to qualify for her second straight Olympic team at the trials in Omaha.

"I wanted to be a little faster than that," she said.

Megan Rankin, an 18-year-old who trains with Evans, was third.

Evans finished in 8:49.36. She stayed close to the top three in the early stages of the 16-lap race before fading in the second half of the eight-woman race. She was the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the 800 in 1988 and '92.

"It was a little disappointing, but I think she's tired from training," said Mark Schubert, Evans' longtime coach.

During her comeback, Schubert has tinkered slightly with Evans' famed windmill stroke in which her head and shoulders come up out of the water more than most swimmers.

"We tried to get her head down and get her to swim in and out of her turns a little better, which she's doing," Schubert said. "You don't make huge changes. It's just trying to figure out the right things to do the last four or five weeks before trials."

Three-time Olympian Jason Lezak won the 100 free in 49.96, the only man under 50 seconds in the final. He carried 2-year-old son Ryan on the awards podium.

"I had a real solid first 50 and coming off the wall, I did what I wanted to do," he said. "The last 15 was a little painful, but with rest I'll be able to take it out faster, easier and come back stronger. I was 50.4 at the previous meet and I really wanted to be under 50, so that was good."

British Olympian Ellen Gandy won the 200 butterfly in 2:09.83 to go with her victory in the 100 fly on Saturday. She clutched a check for $600 covering her earnings in her first U.S. meet. She also earned gift cards to a coffee shop and a bookstore.

"I really wanted to get an iPhone, so this will go nicely toward that," she said, adding that she plans to buy the phone before she returns to Australia, where she lives with her family and trains.

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