IRVINE — Before her race in the 100-meter backstroke at Saturday's Finals International Grand Challenge Swimming Invitational at Heritage Aquatic Complex, 13-year-old Nicola Jordaan was a tad apprehensive. Next to her was Jessica Tong, 20, a nationally ranked swimmer from Stanford.
But after the race, Jordaan was all smiles as she beat Tong and the rest of the field in 1 minute 8.78 seconds.
Jordaan, an eighth-grader at Irvine Lakeside Middle School who swims with the Novaquatics, is from South Africa, where she is one of that country's top swimmers.
"I just wanted to get the lead and stay there," said Jordaan, whose final clocking was more than a second faster than her preliminary time. "It's kind of scary to be swimming against these people, but I guess I did all right."
In Day 2 of the meet, many of the college swimmers participating were just trying to hold their own against younger competitors.
Mission Viejo Nadadores' Philippe Demers, 15, won the 100 butterfly, swimming a personal best 58.29, a junior national qualifying time. He beat Stanford's Daniel Bellin. Demers, who was second in the 100-yard butterfly at Southern Section Division I championships, also won the 400 freestyle Friday.
"I've been really training hard. But it must have been my shaved legs," he said, laughing.
Nadadores' Mark Kwok, 16, of Laguna Hills High, who two weeks ago was named swimmer of the meet at the Division III championships at Belmont Plaza, won the 200 freestyle. He beat Rafael Guijarro, 20, of Golden West Swim Club, and Mathew Trasen, 21, of Cal State Bakersfield. Kwok almost won the 400 individual medley, but was touched out by Desmond Koh of Rose Bowl Swim Club.
Stanford's Angie Wester-Krieg won the 100 butterfly (1:03.99) and the 200 freestyle, where her time of 2:05.94 in the 200 free was just shy of a senior national time. Teammate Lisa Jacob finished second in 2:05.95.
Although Wester-Krieg, seventh in the 200-meter butterfly at the 1992 Barcelona Games, was beaten in the 50 freestyle by Irvine sophomore Wendy O'Brien on Friday, she said she really hasn't paid that much attention to the kiddies.
"Well, to tell you the truth, I've been really focusing on where I'm at in the season," she said. "I've been training hard and this meet gives me an indication of what I need to do."