The Orlando Grand Prix this week has been a meet largely dominated by internationals through two days; but overall, that’s probably a healthy sign for the future of the Grand Prix series, as more competition can only lead to more attention (and hopefully even more prize money) in the coming years.
The last day of this meet should be a strong split between European and American wins, but the reality is all eyes will be focused on one man: Ryan Lochte. Lochte makes his return from a knee injury on Saturday morning, after being snowed in to Charlotte for the first two days of this meet, but is expected to swim the 200 back and the 100 free on Saturday (his coach David Marsh tells us the 200 IM entry won’t stand up).
Women’s 200 IM – Prelims
Katinka Hosszu of Hungary earned the top seed in the women’s 200 IM with a time of 2:14.18. She leads a competitive field by more than two seconds. The second place qualifier was Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz at 2:16.90. The two of them should be fun to watch tonight. Two years ago in London, Leverenz beat out Hosszu for the bronze medal in this event, but Hosszu has had two incredible years following the Olympics, and that should give her the advantage tonight.
The third place qualifier in the event is Meghan Small, a 15 year old from York YMCA. She touched the wall with a time of 2:17.84. Joining that group in the top 8 tonight will be Justine Bowker, Sydney Pickrem, Sara Joo, Laura Sogar, and Alia Atkinson.
Another impressive swimmer to point out is from Christin Rockway, a 13 year old that grabbed the 11th seed with a 2:23.45.
Men’s 200 IM – Prelims
As David Marsh told us, Lochte was not going to swim the 200 IM, despite being the top seed. Michael Weiss moved into the top spot, qualifying first with a time of 2:04.12. Evan White earned the second seed with a 2:04.63. Michael Andrew almost broke another NAG Record to qualify third going into tonight. He touched the wall at 2:05.33, which is only .20 seconds off of his NAG record time from 2013. Hungary’s David Foldhazi and David Verraszto qualified 4th and 5th at 2:05.60 and 2:05.75, respectively. Alec Page was 2:06.08 for 6th. The seventh place qualifier, Carlos Almeida, broke away in an early heat to earn his spot in finals. His time was six seconds ahead of the next fastest swimmer. We should be able to expect a better race from him tonight when he is not out by himself. Rounding out the A-final of the men’s 200 IM is Mike Alexanderov, who qualified with a 2:08.19.
Joseph Schooling had a big gain from his entry time of 1:59.99. As the fourth seed coming into the meet, he may be able to jump ahead to win the B final after qualifying 10th this morning with a time of 2:08.47.
Women’s 200 Backstroke – Prelims
Canada’s Hilary Caldwell earned the top seed in the women’s 200 backstroke, posting a time of 2:11.72. Dominique Bouchard qualified second at 2:13.05. The top seed in the women’s 200 IM, Katinka Hosszu, touched the wall at 2:13.36 to earn the third seed going into finals. Elizabeth Simmonds was the only other swimmer under 2:14, qualifying fourth at 2:13.71.
From there, the times slightly fell off. Megan Romano went 2:16.05 to qualify fifth. Vien Nyguen was next at 2:16.37, Courtney Harnish (14) was 7th with a 2:16.45, and Oakland Universities’ Karin Tomeckova rounded out the A-final with a 2:16.52.
Men’s 200 Backstroke – Prelims
Ryan Lochte was ready to race! He jumped back in the pool for the first time after his injury and earned the top seed going into tonights finals. He posted a time of 2:00.61. Tyler Clary, the defending Olympic champion qualified second with a time of 2:02.21. Arkady Vyatchanin qualified third with a 2:02.86. Yannick Lebherz was fourth at 2:03.19, David Verraszto was fifth at 2:03.87, and Gabor Balong earned the 6th seed at 2:03.94. David Foldhazi was seventh at 2:04.39 and David Cespedes finished eighth at 2:05.79.
Women’s 100 Freestyle – Prelims
Experience is benefitting the finalists 0f the women’s 1o0 freestyle. Unlike many of the other events this weekend, the youngest swimmer in the A-Final is 21 years old. The average age of this A-final is just younger than 24 years old. Victoria Poon earned the top seed with her time of 55.27. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace qualified second at 55.44, and Sandrine Mainville, the youngest finalist, qualified third at 56.06.
Amanda Kendall and Megan Romano were 4th and 5th at 56.10 and 56.20, respectively. Agnes Mutina earned the 6th seed at 57.00, Alia Atkinson touched at 57.25 for fifth, and Hannah Riordan rounds out the top eight at 57.37.
Men’s 100 Freestyle – Prelims
Jimmy Feigen snags the top spot in the men’s 100 freestyle with a 50.07. The A-final will be loaded tonight, with Adam Brown qualifying second at 50.13, Miguel Ortiz third with a 50.14, and Cesar Cielo at fourth with a time of 50.35. Ryan Lochte qualifies for his second final of the day after returning from an injury. He posted a time of 50.54. Thiago Sickert added the sixth fastest time at 51.25, Krisztian Takacs was seventh at 51.26, and Mario Todovic earned the eighth spot at 51.34.
Cullen Jones just missed the A-final with his 51.61. He will be the top seed in the B-final.