Margalis outdistances big names in grand prix

Published May 22, 2007

Last week Robert Margalis squared off in one of the most compelling, and perhaps competitive, races at the Eric Namesnik Grand Prix in Ann Arbor, Mich.

One lane of the men's 400 individual medley was occupied by Eric Vendt, a silver medalist in the event at the 2004 Olympics. Another lane was occupied by Keith Beavers, a Canadian record holder in the 200-meter backstroke.

Then there was Margalis, the former Clearwater swimmer who is starting to make a name for himself. He topped the star-studded field, taking gold in his signature event in four minutes, 25.80 seconds.

Margalis shaved seven seconds off his time from the preliminaries and was a half-second faster than the competition.

Margalis made it to the podium a second time when he took bronze in the 200 IM in 2:06.58.

His performance comes two months after smashing the American record in the 1, 000-yard butterfly in 8:42.64 during the Florida Spring Swimming Senior Championships at the Long Center in Clearwater.

Margalis wasn't the only county athlete to do well at the Grand Prix.

Northeast's Megan Romano was fourth in the 200 free 2:04.64 and seventh in the 50 free in 27 seconds.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4169.