Less than 24 hours after she received her diploma from El Dorado High School in Placentia, Janet Evans conducted business as usual Thursday, the first day of the Mission Viejo Chrysler Motors International Swim Meet of Champions.
Swimming in the first of eight events in which she is scheduled to compete during the four-day meet, Evans won easily in the 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8 minutes 39.58 seconds.
Laurence Ensimon, who lives in Santa Barbara, finished second in 8:55.58, followed by Sarah Anderson of Riverside, who had a time of 9:00.93.
Evans, who last year set the world record of 8:17.12, took an early lead and pulled away from the field to win by 25 meters.
"It was like a workout swim for me," said Evans, who will attend Stanford in the fall. "I just tried to keep getting ahead of my competition and see how far along I am in my training. I was happy with the way I swam."
Evans will compete in the 400-meter individual medley and 200 butterfly today; the 400 freestyle and 200 backstroke Saturday, and the 200 individual medley, 200 freestyle and 200 breaststroke Sunday.
Reflecting on her graduation the night before, Evans said: "Picking up my high school diploma was a little different. It was a sad experience for me, but I was also happy. I'm going to miss high school, but I'm real excited about starting college."
Meanwhile, in the men's 800 freestyle, Poland's Artur Wojdat overcame a strong challenge from fellow Pole Mariusz Podkoscielny to take the event with a time of 8:08.62. Both swim for the Mission Viejo Nadadores team.
Podkoscielny, who finished second in 8:10.79, stayed with Wojdat until Wojdat edged ahead with 200 meters left. U.S. Olympian Dan Jorgensen finished third in 8:14.86.