The 2014 Arena Grand Prix at Orlando wraps up tonight with a number of big races and storylines to keep track of. Perhaps none is bigger than 2013 FINA Swimmer of the Year Ryan Lochte returning to competition for the first time since a sudden knee injury last fall. Lochte holds the top seed in the men’s 200 fly tonight, and will also swim in the 100 free.
On the women’s side, Hungarian Katinka Hosszu swims twice – she’s already racked up 3 wins and 2 second-place finishes over the course of the weekend and will swim twice more on the final night.
Tonight’s events will include the women’s 800, the 200 IM, the 200 back, the 100 free, the men’s 1500 and the 400 medley relays.
You can read our recap of this morning’s prelims here.
Update: the top times coming out of the morning heats in the distance races are Barrington’s Kirsten Jacobsen‘s 8:55.69 in the 800 and Saint Petersburg’s Calvin Bryant‘s 15:48.42 in the 1500.
Women’s 800 Free
The 800 free saw the second win of the weekend for IX3′s Chloe Sutton. The pool and open water star had taken the 400 earlier this meet and finished 3rd in the 200 as she continues to show some speed in the shorter races. Saturday night, she added an 800 free win, swimming away from the field in 8:35.20. That was about a second ahead of Gator Swim Club’s Andreina Pinto, who made things interesting most of the way by remaining within striking distance.
14-year-old Courtney Harnish of York YMCA took home third while cutting a second off her lifetime-best to go 8:39.11. Fourth was former Golden Gopher and current Minnesota pro Ashley Steenvoorden in 8:46.63.
Kendall Brent, 15, of Swim Florida came in sixth and 17-year-old Summer Finke of Saint Petersburg was seventh. The top finisher from the morning heats, Kirsten Jacobsen of Barrington, ended up 8th overall in 8:55.69.
Women’s 200 IM
Hungarian superstar Katinka Hosszu was not to be denied her fourth win, dominating a strong 200 IM field to take the $500 first-place prize money with a 2:11.27. Hosszu was safely ahead of California’s Caitlin Leverenz (2:14.24) and T2′s Justine Mueller (2:16.11).
Fourth went to one of a trio of youngsters in the field, Meghan Small of York YMCA. The 15-year-old went 2:16.30 to almost top Mueller for third. Behind her was Jamaican breaststroker Alia Atkinson and then 16-year-old Sydney Pickrem of Clearwater. Sara Joo, only 18 herself, was 7th for Hungary and Blue Fish breaststroker Laura Sogar rounded out the A final.
The B heat went to Alessia Polieri of Azure Florida in 2:19.45, a big win by over two seconds from the rest of her heat.
Men’s 200 IM
The men’s IM saw Hungary’s David Verraszto pick up his third win of the weekend and complete a Hungarian sweep of the 200 IMs just like we saw in the 400 Friday. Verraszto was 2:01.90, exactly a half-second up on the top seed, American Michael Weiss.
Swim Ontario’s Evan White got Canada involved in the action, taking third in 2:03.13. Behind him was 14-year-old Michael Andrew, who was in the hunt for the event win about halfway through the race. Andrew went 2:04.13, cutting yet another second off his National Age Group record in the event.
The rest of the field continued the international flavor: Canadian Alec Page was fifth, Hungary’s David Foldhazi sixth, Portugal’s Carlos Almeida seventh and now-American but former Bulgarian Olympian Mike Alexandrov in eighth.
Women’s 200 Back
Great Britain’s Elizabeth Simmonds won her second backstroke event of the weekend. After taking the 100 over Hosszu on Friday, Simmonds topped Canada’s Hilary Caldwell by a half second in the 200. Simmonds went 2:10.44 while Caldwell, who came in with the top seed, went 2:10.94 for second. Hosszu took third in her second race of the night, going 2:11.74 just one event after winning the 200 IM.
Swim Ontario’s Dominique Bouchard went 2:13.06 to take fourth, closing out the first clump of athletes to finish.
Next were three teenagers from different countries: Vietnam’s Vien Nguyen took fifth, York YMCA’s Courtney Harnish sixth and Germany’s Eileen Diener seventh. Oakland University’s Karin Tomeckova took eighth.
The B final went to 16-year-old Sydney Pickrem, who was just coming off an A-final swim in the 200 IM. She went 2:14.10 to touch out Canadian 15-year-old Meryn McCann.
Men’s 200 Back
At the 150 mark, it looked like Ryan Lochte might punctuate his comeback with a win in his first A final since a knee injury in mid-2013. But former Russian Olympian Arkady Vyatchanin turned on the afterburners to run down Lochte and then some, taking a huge win in 1:56.95 to Lochte’s 1:58.12.
Vyatchanin closed in 29.1 over his final 50, almost two seconds faster than Lochte after the two were dead even at the last turn. That final split was a second and a half faster than Vyatchanin’s third split, a big-time acceleration over the event’s final meters.
Club Wolverine’s Tyler Clary, who has been dealing with back issues, came in third, going 2:00.16, topping Germany’s Yannick Lebherz and his 2:00.47.
Hungarian Gabor Balog took fifth, one of three Hungarians in the race. Colombia’s David Cespedes Echeverry was sixth before the final two Hungarians, David Foldhazi and David Verraszto, came to the wall.
Gator Swim Club’s Jian Wang topped German Carl-Louis Schwarz for 9th place in the B final.
Women’s 100 Free
Canada’s Victoria Poon nipped American national teamer Megan Romano at the wall to win the 100 free, 55.20 to 55.25. That was thanks to a big back-half after Poon trailed Romano by two tenths at the halfway turn.
Not far behind was SwimMAC pro and Bahamas Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace in 55.41 and Poon’s teammate Sandrine Mainville in 55.64. T2′s Amanda Kendall, continuing her comeback after a rocky finish to her NCAA career, took 5th in 56.24. The rest of the A field included Canada’s Katerine Savard, Hungary’s Agnes Mutina and Canadian Hannah Riordan.
Katilyn Johnson won the B final, going 57.39.
Men’s 100 Free
The men’s sprints at this meet turned into a Brazilian sweep. After Bruno Fratus won the 50 free on Friday, 50 free runner-up Cesar Cielo took home a win of his own in the 100 free Saturday. Cielo emerged from a tight field in a race that wasn’t decided until the very last stroke. The former Auburn star, now training with Mesa Aquatics in Arizona, went 49.28, one of two swimmers under 50 in the event.
Second was American Jimmy Feigen, who looked like he might pull off the win much of the way. Feigen went 49.63 to finish safely second. Behind him were former Michigan Wolverine Miguel Ortiz and New York Athletic Club’s Adam Brown, who tied at 50.33 for third place.
Thiago Sickert was fifth and Hungarian Krisztian Takacs sixth before American Ryan Lochte finished. Lochte went 51.54, swimming a tight double in his first competition since last summer.
The B final was also an entertaining finish, with Auburn pro and Brazilian Fratus going 50.48 to hold off a surging Cullen Jones, who was 50.65 representing SwimMAC.
Men’s 1500 Free
American Michael McBroom continued to show up in big moments as he’s done lately, holding off the constant threat of Canada’s Eric Hedlin to pace the 1500 free. McBroom went 15:14.23 to top the Canadian open water specialist’s 15:17.30.
Though there was a timing malfunction leading to some confusion about the next few places, Meet Mobile results show Andy Arteta of Venezuela in third at 15:29.27, just ahead of Germany’s Maximilian Bock, who was 15:29.31. It appears Canadian William Brothers was fourth, just ahead of the top time from the morning heats, Calvin Bryant of Saint Petersburg.
Women’s 400 Medley Relay
The girls of York YMCA made it a sweep of the relay events here by winning the 400 medley in 4:21.39. The team was once again Courtney Harnish, Meghan Small, Nicole Price and Emily Ilgenfritz. Harnish was 1:04.22 on backstroke, Small 1:15.39 on breast, Price 1:02.90 on fly and Ilgenfritz 58.88 on freestyle.
The all-junior relay was just able to top Mexico, which took second in 4:22.67. South Florida Aquatic Club was third in 4:26.51.
Men’s 400 Medley Relay
Azura Florida topped the men’s 400 medley relay, winning a tight battle with Swim Ontario. The Azura team of Mateo Gonzalez, Alexander Morgan, Luis Martinez and Carlos Herrera went 3:52.08, just ahead of Ontario’s 3:52.48. That was thanks in large part to anchor Herrera’s 51.76, which brought the team back from behind to take the title.
Third went to Chena Swim Club in 3:53.43, just ahead of Colombia’s 3:56.30.