SwimSwam

2014 Mesa Grand Prix: Phelps’ Quick Return Highlights Day One Prelims

On Thursday morning, the focus on Michael Phelps’ return at the Mesa Grand Prix will cross over from ‘what has happened’ to ‘what did happen,’ as the Greatest of All Time competes in his first competitive race since the 2012 London Olympic with the prelims of the 100 fly.

That’s just one of many great stories on this day. The women’s 100 free is absolutely stacked, with a field going 30+deep in recognizable names. Depending on who shows up big, that could be the best race of the entire meet in just the first event.

Also watch Breeja Larson race in the 200 breaststroke for the first time as a pro, and Kevin Cordes get his first long course action of the season a month after being named the CSCAA Male Swimmer of the Year for the second straight season.

The races to be swum on day 1 are the 100 free, 200 breaststroke, the 400 free, and the 100 fly, in that order. All will be swum as a single A-flight, with the exception of the 400 free which will swim 4 men’s heats and 5 women’s heats as a B-Flight after the completion of the rest of the prelims.

All the Links You Need to Follow the 2014 Mesa Grand Prix

Women’s 100 Freestyle

Fresh off an astounding short course season, 17-year-old top seed Simone Manuel displayed an excellent balance of early speed and closing ability to win the final circle seeded heat, touching in 55.06 to earn the number one spot heading into finals.  Manuel (and the rest of the field, for that matter) was down early to Natalie Coughlin, who exploded off the blocks and took the early lead in the final heat, flipping in 26.21 at the 50 mark.  Although Coughlin was a half second faster than Manuel going out (fastest in the event at 26.21), the high school senior from First Colony Swim Team reeled her in down the stretch.  Coughlin settled for a tie with Amanda Weir for third in 55.43, still putting her in a good lane for tonight’s final.

Between Manuel and Weir/Coughlin was Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt of North Baltimore.  Competing in her first meet since the Austin Grand Prix in January, Schmitt really laid the hammer down on the final 50, closing in 27.99–the fastest in the field–to finish in 55.11.  That’s a great prelims swim for Schmitt, who admitted in an ESPN article that she hasn’t been training at her usual level until relatively recently.

U.S. World Championship team members Megan Romano and Katie Ledecky grabbed the next two spots.  Romano finished in 55.44, just 0.01 behind Weir and Coughlin, while Ledecky cruised through her first 50 before coming home the way a sub-4:00 400-freestyling-woman should (27.53-28.09 were her splits) to touch in 55.62.

Margo Geer, who just closed her great NCAA career as an Arizona Wildcat, and Cheyenne Coffman rounded out the top 8 in 55.88 and 55.95, respectively.

Katie Hoff also looked great in her long course comeback debut, finishing ninth out of lane one in 56.04.  It’s been a big week for Hoff; the 24-year-old now training at Hurricane Aquatics also got engaged earlier this week.

Men’s 100 Freestyle

Although it was announced yesterday the first race of Michael Phelps’ much-publicized comeback would have to wait a couple more hours after he elected to scratch this event, the top eight finishers in the men’s 100 freestyle is loaded with plenty of familiar faces that will lead to a great race tonight.

Reigning Olympic champion Nathan Adrian was challenged over the final 50 by fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte, but the Cal Bear had too much early speed (he was out in 23.60), touching with a final time of 49.98.  Lochte, who sits fourth at 50.25, was over a half second back at the first wall, but closed that gap quickly with some excellent underwater work.

Fellow Florida Gator alum Conor Dwyer took the second spot out of the first circle seeded heat in 50.17.  That’s off his season-best 49.39 from the Austin Grand Prix, but still a very solid prelim swim.

The big (and only, really) surprise in the big final tonight will be Matthias Lindenbauer of Louisville.  The 20-year-old from Dortmund Germany was out pretty slow (24.65) before roaring home in 25.72 to cut 0.07 off his lifetime best to jump up to 5th overall with a time of 50.37.

Barring scratches, Darian Townsend (sixth, 50.44), Jimmy Feigen (seventh, 50.48)and Josh Schneider (eighth, 50.52) will be the other three A-finalists tonight.  All three are training under the “New York Athletic Club” moniker at this meet.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

The morning field of the women’s 200 breast wasn’t particularly impressive, but with eight finalists who are all some combination of Olympians, World Championship athletes, or NCAA champions, we could see something impressive tonight.  Micah Lawrence from SwimMAC Carolina, the only swimmer under 2:30, will be in lane four tonight as the first seed after her 2:28.37 morning swim.

2011 NCAA champion and former short course American/U.S. Open record holder Breeja Larson took the second circle seeded heat easily to finish second overall in 2:30.59.  Alia Atkinson, another former Aggie, was second in the heat in 2:31.86, placing her fourth overall.  Stina Colleou of the University of Utah, the NCAA consolation champion last month in this event, sits third just behind Larson in 2:30.69.

Raminta Dvariskyte jumped from her tenth place seeding up to fifth with a 2:33.65, clipping her season-best 2:33.70 from the Austin Grand Prix.  USC’s Stina Gardell is sixth in 2:33.69

A pair of World Championship Team members, Caitlin Leverenz and Laura Sogar, round out the field.  Both were well off their personal bests, but have all of the talent to put together an outside smoke tonight.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

Following the DQ’s (BJ Johnson), declared false starts (Kevin Cordes, Martin Liivamagi), and no-shows (Tommy Brewer) from many of the top seeds, Azad Al-Barazi from Trojan Swim Club ended up as the first seed in 2:16.40, a best time for the former University of Hawaii swimmer who competes internationally for Syria.  Al-Barazi out-touched Mike Alexandrov, another swimmer who has Trojan ties, finished second in 2:16.54.  Like many other big-name swimmers at this meet, Alexandrov is now competing for New York Athletic Club, as well.

Former NCAA champion Carl Mickelson was third in 2:17.65, followed by three relatively unknown names: Colombian national record holder Jorge Mario Murillo Valdes (2:18.06), Grand Canyon University/Egyptian representative Youssef El Kamash (2:20.40), and Brandon Fischer of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (2:20.96).

Prep swimmers Carsten Visserling (who has many NAG records in his name) and Gunther Cassell were seventh and eighth in 2:21.23 and 2:21.55, respectively.

Women’s 400 Freestyle

No surprise here: world record holder Katie Ledecky dominated the field, finishing in 4:05.27, nearly four seconds ahead of second place.  The 17-year-old swimmer from Nation’s Capital looked smooth and controlled en route to her heat win, getting out in front early like usual (58.38 going out) before settling in over the final 300 (1:01.81-1:02.51-1:02.56).

Becca Mann was one of five (yes, five) NBAC representatives the make the A-final with her second place 4:09.21.  Future Wolverine Gillian Ryan (4th, 4:10.90), future Cal Bear Cierra Runge (5th, 4:11.29), Allison Schmitt (6th, 4:12.12) and Danish multi-time World Champion Lotte Friis (7th, 4:12.66) are the other four we’ll see tonight.

Virginia’s Leah Smith, coming off her breakout freshman season as a Cavalier, finished third in 4:10.23.  Venezuelan national record holder Andreina Pinto snuck ahead of Chloe Sutton and Elizabeth Beisel to finish grab the eighth and final spot in 4:15.31.  Sutton touched in 4:15.85 for ninth, while Beisel was tenth in 4:15.91.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

Results of final heat were not available at this time.

Women’s 100 Butterfly

Top seed Claire Donahue looked great coming off from her recent three-week training stint in New Zealand, finishing in 59.56.  Leveraging her blazing early speed, Donahue was out in a field-best 27.79, and also closed the race pretty well (her 31.77 was the second fastest in the field).  16-year-old World Junior gold medalist Katie McLaughlin and 18-year-old NCAA third-place finisher Marne Erasmus of SMU were the closest competitors, tying for second in 1:00.04.

26-year-old Colombian national record holder Carolina Colorado cut nearly a full second off her seed time to finish fourth in 1:00.48.  Looking back, that appears to be Colorado’s top time since the 2008 Olympic Games, and likely is the fastest non-super-suited swim of her career.

Two swimmers with unique comeback stories filled the next two spots this morning.  In her second swim of the morning, Katie Hoff continued her long course comeback with a very solid 1:00.67 for fifth place.  Like Colorado, that’s Hoff’s fastest swim since 2008.  Amanda Kendall, who made her return at the Austin Grand Prix earlier this year, finished sixth in 1:00.74.  Andrea Ward of Gaucho Aquatics and Kathleen Baker of SwimMAC Carolina, one of the fastest prep swimmers in the history of this event, finished seventh and eighth in 1:01.04 and 1:01.31.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

He’s baaaaaaack.  In the first comeback swim for greatest swimmer and Olympic champion of all time, Michael Phelps earned the top seed in 52.84, with friend and competitor Ryan Lochte just behind in 52.94.  Both Phelps and Lochte stuck to their traditional strategies, cruising through the opening 50, rocketing off the turn wall, and kicking it into another gear down the stretch.  Just to give an idea of how fast they came home for a preliminary Grand Prix race, here’s their splits, alongside the rest of the top eight:

Phelps: 25.15 – 27.69 (52.84)
Lochte: 
25.21 – 27.73 (52.94)
Jason Dunford: 24.68 – 28.65 (53.33)
Luis Martinez: 24.98 – 28.58 (53.56)
Eugene Godsoe: 25.39 – 28.36 (53.75)
Albert Subirats: 25.14 – 28.77 (53.91)
Matthew Josa: 24.97 – 28.94 (53.91)
Justin Lynch: 25.27 – 28.66 (53.93)

Only Godsoe, the second U.S. representative in this event at Worlds last summer for Team USA, was within eight tenths of a second of Lochte or Phelps coming home.  Stay tuned for a bigger breakdown of this event in a separate post.

FAN WATCH:

On a side note, Fort Collins Area Swim Team have had the fans (or fan) of the session so far… Tessa Thull and Bailey Kovac… props to you and your rowdy fans in the stands.

Honorable mention:

  • Supporters of Taylor Shewchuk of Scottsdale Aquatic Club.
  • Supporters of Breeja Larson

Comments

  1. WHOKNOWS says:
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    WRONG: It’s time for Michael Phelps to get down to business in Mesa.

    RATHER IT SHOULD BE: It’s time for Michael Phelps to have some fun in Mesa participating in the sport he loves!

  2. jarrettbrown says:
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    Why is the USA Swimming coverage always so horrible? Are they that cheap that they can’t afford the rights to the Universal Sports feed?

    • aswimfan says:
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      I agree.
      It’s hard to see individual swimmer with only two static cameras.
      It’s crazy that USA Swimming which has such great resources cannot afford more/better cameras.

  3. ERVINFORTHEWIN says:
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    The live feed on Usaswimming really sucks today !!!! can’t see an entire 100 free prelim !

  4. aswimfan says:
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    Schmitt is back in shape!

  5. aswimfan says:
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    Romano has great turn and underwater. Coughlin is dying in the last few meters as expected. Manuel looks strong.

    • liquid4TheGoldenGirl says:
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      lol I know what you mean about Natalie. I love my Golden Girl but it is frustrating to see her die and get passed at the end of 100′s! ;-P That’s a good prelim swim for Ledecky, I believe her PB is 55 low and she is inching her way down slowly to 4×100 relay contention. If she doesn’t make it, it’ll still be great for her 200.

  6. YouGotLezakd says:
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    Hoff missed the A final! :(

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    my feed sucks right now!!

    Congrats to Manuel and Schmitt for being the top seeds in the 100 free

  8. aswimfan says:
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    I see the video technicians are trying to improve the feed by playing with video angle and focus. Well, USA Swimming should give them more/moving camera to work with

  9. mcgillrocks says:
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    Sounds like they’re having technical difficulties. I’m hearing the camera people instead of the announcer.

  10. Lili says:
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    I see the stream is as horrible as ever. Phelps may retire and unretire 100 times, but the stream will remain the same.

  11. Troy Gennaro says:
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    Live results are not working for me. Anyone else having this issue?

    • Josh says:
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      It may be your browser (if none of the live results info works). I know that one from past experience. Try a different browser if possible.

    • aswimfan says:
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      You may also need to clear browser history (the cache) for the past day or past hour whichever you last accessed the live results.

  12. jarrettbrown says:
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    Anyone else find it entertaining that the techs have no clue that everyone can hear them or is it just me.

  13. lane 0 says:
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    51.98 for hoffer

  14. lane 0 says:
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    51.8 for Michael Andrew
    51.6 for Matthew Josa

  15. aswimfan says:
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    MA in 51.89

  16. ERVINFORTHEWIN says:
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    M . Andrew : 51.89

  17. GO PHELPS says:
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    No Phelps in the 100 Free?

  18. aswimfan says:
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    Those are PBs for both Hoffer and MA I think, and now MA is faster than Hoffer in 100 free LCM.

  19. lane 0 says:
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    beat you to it aswimfan

  20. ERVINFORTHEWIN says:
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    ERvin : 50:77

  21. lane 0 says:
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    MA has been 51.4 I think

  22. aswimfan says:
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    Dwyer will smash it in 200

  23. ERVINFORTHEWIN says:
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    50.17 for Dwyer and 50.48 for Feigen

  24. lane 0 says:
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    Lochte in 50.25
    Adrian in 49.98

  25. ERVINFORTHEWIN says:
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    49.98 for Adrian ! it really looked like they all take it in easy this morning …..

  26. 0
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    Is Nathan Adrian the only one to swim below 50 secs in the 100 free so far

  27. aswimfan says:
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    Adrian the only one under 50

  28. TheTroubleWithX says:
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    Ledecky was only .05 off her seed time, which I’m assuming was her personal best.

    • liquid4TheGoldenGirl says:
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      I believe her PB is somewhere in the 54+ from the LZR/rubber years, and she regularly went 55 textile. But a 56 for her at this stage is respectable, not too far behind the leaders and not one of her best events.

      • bodybyfood says:
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        THETROUBLEWITHX was talking about Ledecky; sounds like you’re refering to Hoff?

        • liquid4bothKaties says:
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          DOH!! lol, yeah I’m now at the age where I think my brain stores 2 Katies together to save space. :-P

      • Dan says:
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        Per USA swimming times search, 55.57 is her best. During the LZR/rubber suit years, the best time I could find was 1:00.97, as a 12 year old (pretty good).

      • aswimfan says:
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        Hoff’s PB (in rubber) is 54.28 from 2008 Missouri Grand Prix. If Im not mistaken, that was the first time/meet where swimmers wore the just launched LZR. Coventry became the first swimmer to break WR in LZR when she broke the legendary Egerszegi’s 2:06.62
        Coventry didn’t believe it hersefl, and on the same day Coughlin broke her own WR, and she said she didn’t think she went that fast.

        What these two ladies said were the first alarm that there was something sinister/magical/different about LZR.

    • liquid4bothKaties says:
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      THETROUBLEWITHX: Yeah, Ledecky’s time is encouraging as she slowly inches her way toward 4×100 relay contention, meanwhile improving her 200 speed, eh.

  29. aswimfan says:
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    the video streaming quality is pretty bad.
    very pixelated. It’s hard enough to see individual swims with only two static cameras available, but the bad quality make viewing is not great experience.
    Only diehard fans would torture themselves watching these prelims with such bad quality streaming.

  30. YouGotLezakd says:
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    Ervin missed the A final! Did not see that one coming…..

  31. Radovan says:
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    For better stream, click on the red Live button, so it shows DVR, and then chose HD in quality section… it shows stram a second latter, but it’s much better picture…

  32. whoknows says:
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    It seems as though USA Swimming could budget some money for better equipment – or at least rent better equipment. Hire some professionals. Arena cannot be happy with the transmission…
    BTW – I thought that increase in dues was suppose to help with getting better coverage for USA Swimming… who ever is in charge should be taken to task.

  33. Lane 0 says:
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    Michael Andrew vs Ryan Hoffer in the D final!

  34. Lane 0 says:
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    Alexandrov 2:16
    Vissering 2:21
    Ogren 2:22

  35. anon says:
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    Regarding the live feed…it’s not that bad anymore. I just went on..and it’s not static. While I would love a nbcsports feed–even if it’s not live at the time (so as to attract a bigger audience to tv)–wouldn’t mind it stored on youtube in FULL so that no races are cut off. (Anyone see the FULL replays of nbc covered gymnastics competitions on the USA gymnastics youtube channel?)…I’m also sure that’s pretty expensive.

    Regarding actual swimming, the live results show Jimmy Feigen is swimming for NYAC? I thought he trained at Texas?

    • aswimfan says:
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      What I meant by static is that there is no camera that moves along the pool. As far as I know, there are only two fixed caneras with moving angle.

  36. Lane 0 says:
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    2:16.67 for Johnson
    2:17.65 for Mickelson

  37. aswimfan says:
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    No Cordes?

    Are you kidding me?

  38. Lane 0 says:
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    Cordes not swimming

  39. pvdh says:
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    No Cordes?!?!

  40. Lane 0 says:
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    19 heats of 400 freestyle…BORING

  41. Lane 0 says:
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    oh good they’re only swimming the 10 fastest heats…STILL BORING

  42. Lane 0 says:
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    It’s been a long time since Dwyer swam the 400 freestyle

  43. bdg says:
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    Any predictions on Phelp’s 100 Fly time?

    I’m going with 51.58 to take the fastest of the year.

  44. WHOKNOWS says:
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    53.0

  45. anonymous says:
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    Does Phelps have much experience swimming unshaved?

  46. WHOKNOWS says:
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    Wow Leverenz swimming the 400!

  47. pvdh says:
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    I honestly wouldnt be surprised if Phelps has the fastest time in the world this year after finals

  48. RiceOwls says:
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    53 year old David Guthrie into the D final of the 200 breast?

  49. liquidassets4TheOldGuys says:
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    53 year old David Guthrie snuck into D final with a 2:32.2, his seed time of 2:27.9 would have made C final. Only 50 swimmers in the event, but he is 3x older than several of the teenagers he beat. FYI he said on SwimSwam comments that he trains some USRPT and is sponsored by the same supplement company as Michael Andrew, et. al… I didn’t realize that Masters swimmers had sponsors!!!

    B.J. Johnson’s 2:16.6 3rd fastest in 2Breast but DQ’d, anyone know why?? Dolphins??

  50. aswimfan says:
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    Ledecky in 4:05.27. easy.

    • liquid4bothKaties says:
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      Yeah ?Great prelim time! Puts her in great position to go under the world leading 4:03.8 tonight.

  51. aswimfan says:
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    Why is Vollmer not in Mesa?
    all her Cal Aquatics team mates are here.

    • anon says:
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      actually just those training with the men’s team (so + Coughlin) and Leverenz, who is sponsored by Arena.

      Granted the post-grad group is only Vollmer and Leverenz, but none of the cal undergrad girls are there, though some of the boys are… i’m assuming it’s a training decision for the women’s team?

      • SWIMPHILE says:
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        Golden Bears women will be @ Charlotte & Santa Clara.

        At least according to a tweet of Liz Pelton’s…

    • swimmer24 says:
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      Vollmer had surgery on her shoulder early this year (I think end of January). She wasn’t sure if she would even be able to swim this summer.

  52. whoknows says:
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    Anyone know why BJ Johnson was Dqd?

  53. whoknows says:
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    They got a wrong time for Kristen Jacobsen – 4:00.01

  54. ChestRockwell says:
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    Average age of A finalists in the 100 Free is 25. That is awesome.

  55. Lane 0 says:
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    3:58.6 for 15 year old Sean Grieshop

  56. Thanos Mihas says:
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    i think phelps goes 53 mid this morning and makes the final, but comes back in the evening with a 52 mid and finishes top three.

  57. Lane 0 says:
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    15 year old Grieshop is in the A final!

  58. bdg says:
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    really good time from Hoff on that Fly…1 flat

  59. anon says:
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    did I miss the men’s 400free? I only saw Clary’s time on twitter…live results isn’t working…and apparently I missed the feed as well

    guess I’ll have to rewind…

  60. We Love Phelps says:
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    men’s 100fly is coming up next rite????
    what heat Phelps in…. anyone know?

  61. whoknows says:
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    Heat 14 Lane 4

  62. We Love Phelps says:
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    man, every time i watch Phelps swims the 100fly i just cant hold my breath together….

  63. Lane 0 says:
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    55.44 for Ryan Hoffer

  64. Lane 0 says:
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    Matthew Josa 53.91
    Tom Shields 54.66
    Bobby Bollier 54.1

  65. Lane 0 says:
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    Dunford 53.33
    Lochte 52.94

  66. anon says:
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    my heart is pounding..

    saw Michael smile after those cheers!!

  67. pvdh says:
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    52.84

  68. anon says:
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    52.84!!! 1st seed!

  69. Lane 0 says:
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    52.84 for Phelps!! first race since london!

  70. Boknows34 says:
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    52.84

    Hello!!

  71. anon says:
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    really wish I could hear Rowdy and Michael..

  72. Joel Lin says:
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    Easy, controlled and technically tight 52.8. He is back.

  73. We Love Phelps says:
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    Michael PHELPS!!!!!!!! what a comeback!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  74. pvdh says:
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    First time ever we see a Lochte vs Phelps o the 100 fly right next to each other?

  75. joeMomma says:
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    Great swim by Phelps. Did he change his stroke a bit at the entry?

    What time did MA swim? He looked flat and tired after the first 25.

  76. My 2 cents… says:
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    Phelps qualifies first over Lochte in a 52.84 unrested. I wouldn’t doubt him anymore folks!! He’s back! ;)

  77. Hoosiermama says:
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    The Goat is back! My heart is still racing.

  78. Lisa says:
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    Fantastic time for phelps! Amazing

  79. mcmflyguy says:
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    he did about exactly what I expected him to do. he still lifts, swims 5 times a week. so he never lost the feel of the water. good for him. i’d rather have seen him in the 100 free though.

  80. lane 0 says:
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    the 100 fly C final will be Hoffer vs Andrew vs Grevers

  81. Lili says:
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    To hear people applauding and cheering during Phelps’ pre race routine…so overwhelming and heartwarming. Michael, we missed you.

  82. kage says:
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    back

  83. NBSWIM says:
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    Phelps with the fastest second 50 split in the field 27.6. I would not be surprised if he’s #1 in the World after tonight.

  84. anon says:
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    matt mclean is still in baltimore…according to twitter. I was wondering why I didn’t see him in the 400. I assume Agnel is with him? Aww…wanted to see mclean/agnel in the 200free.

    wonder why? is he sick?

  85. anon says:
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    Fina already entered Phelps’ 52.84 into the world standings (#21)…but Lochte’s 52.94 isn’t there…interesting…

  86. liquidassets says:
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    Really pleased with Phelps; I was hoping for under 53 in finals and he already did it this morning while looking very relaxed. Also pleased with Hoff/Schmittys “comebacks” so far.

  87. calswimfan says:
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    Wow Justin Lynch made the A final! woohooo. He had a faster time than Tom Shields.

  88. Swammer says:
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    Was Ledecky’s swim a Junior WR?

  89. bobo gigi says:
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    Ok. I only watched the men’s 100 fly prelims for MP.
    I’m not a prelims guy. :)
    It’s too long for me and most of the big names keep logically the best for the finals.

    But I wasn’t disappointed.
    I said a sub 53 would be huge and MP did it easily.
    What a wonderful champion!
    I don’t know if he will win the final but his comeback is already very successful.
    I admit I had an apprehension but when I saw him smile behind the blocks just before the race, I understood he was very confident. It’s so cool to see him have fun like that. He swims without any pressure now.
    I think Ryan Lochte can help MP to swim a 52.50 in final. Or even better. Why not?
    Very surprised to see Tom Shields so slow.
    I like Matthew Josa’s butterfly style.

    For the rest of the events, I just read the results and I see that Kevin Cordes was unfortunately not in the water. The men’s 200 breast was altready weak but now it’s very weak.
    Both 100 free races will be great to watch. Nathan Adrian and Simone Manuel are the best sprinters in USA and they will be tough to beat in final.
    I’m very happy to see that Allison Schmitt and Katie Hoff are already very good.
    And what can we say about Katie Ledecky? She’s really alone on her planet. 55.62 in the 100 free, very close to her PB, and 4.05.27 in the 100 free. In prelims! Wow! 55 low and 4.03 in final?

  90. Mike in Dallas says:
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    0

    Is it true: Michael Phelps is NOT swimming any other events in MESA?
    Please tell I’m wrong!

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