Rice takes gold as Australia dominate in California
Olympic champion Stephanie Rice posted a confidence-boosting win on the third night of the Santa Clara Grand Prix swim meet in California, as Australia completed a clean sweep of the women's events.
Rice won her first gold medal of the meet in the 400m individual medley, stopping the clock in an impressive 4:35.87, less than two months before attempting to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the event.
The 23-year-old had to hold off a strong breaststroke leg from the USA's Caitlin Leverenz (4:37.13) to win, and said the time is similar to where she was at four years ago ahead of the Beijing Games.
"I was swimming 4:35 (seconds) around this same time in the lead up to Beijing, so that definitely gives me plenty of confidence at this stage of the preparation," said Rice.
"But with Hannah Miley (from Great Britain) going 4:34 recently, there's plenty of competition out there and definitely more work to do."
Bronte Barratt, 23, picked up her second gold medal of the event, lowering her own meet record by 0.01sec in the 200m freestyle with a time of 1:57.17.
Barratt was followed into the wall by American Dana Vollmer in 1:57.25.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Meagen Nay showed she is on track with her Olympic preparation to post a solid 2:08.04 to win gold in the women's 200m backstroke, with fellow Queenslander Emily Seebohm hitting the wall in 2:08.88 to take silver.
Sixteen-year-old Yolane Kukla won Australia's fourth gold of the night taking out the 50m freestyle in a time of 24.97 with Libby Trickett taking bronze in 25.22.
Ryan Napoleon picked up his third medal of the meet with a strong showing in the men's 200m freestyle.
Napoleon stopped the clock in 1:48.66 to win silver behind Korea's Taehwan Park.
Ashley Delaney posted 2:00.14 to take bronze in the 200m backstroke.
The Queensland team of Rice, Barratt, Brittany Elmslie and Kylie Palmer finished off the night with victory in the 4x200m freestyle relay in a time of 8:02.67, while Nick D'Arcy, Ned McKendry, Kenrick Monk and Napoleon hit the wall in second in 7:26.60 in the men's event.