2014 US NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – DAY 3 – FINALS

Click here for the full preview of the day 3 finals at the 2014 US National Championships in Irvine, California.

Katie Ledecky had the crowd on their feet this morning with a 3:59.89 performance in the 400m freestyle. The world record stands at 3:59.15 and if she’s faster tonight she could be around that mark. Her splits were extremely even this morning, but she fell off the world record pace after 300 meters.

Tonight there’s no doubt she’ll be going for that world record, or at least the American record that she set last year the 2013 World Championships in 3:59.82. She was seven one-hundredths off that time in prelims, so there’s tons of room for that record to fall.

If she breaks the world record tonight, she’ll be the first swimmer since Janet Evans to hold world records in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyles.

Matt McLean was your fastest qualifier this morning for the final clocking in a 3:49.32 to lead a very close field. Everyone in prelims was within three seconds of each other so tonight’s race should shape up to be a dog fight to the wall.

McLean won the 200m freestyle earlier in the meet so there’s no question whether or not he’s well rested. He’ll be a factor tonight, but one man you can’t count out is Conor Dwyer. Dwyer hasn’t been spectacular this meet only throwing down a 1:47.18 to finish behind McLean in the 200 free, but rested or not Dwyer is a racer.

Dwyer isn’t as fast as he always is, but granted that he has a spot on the team already he doesn’t need to be fully rested and should be come Pan Pacs. Throw Michael McBroom who won a silver medal in the 800m freestyle at last year’s world championships, Michael Klueh, and Ryan Feeley into the mix and this final should be a good back-and-forth battle to the wall.

Micah Lawrence has been on fire this meet in the breaststroke events. She won the 200, her specialty, and even took home a bronze medal in the 50 behind both Breeja Larson and Jessica Hardy. There’s no denying that Jessica Hardy has the speed to win this final. She should be out like a rocket and give it everything she has to hold on heading into the wall.

Breeja Larson had a similar strategy this morning. She held off a little on the first 50, but didn’t have too much speed coming home. She finished second in the 200m breaststroke so this middle ground in the 100 might be where she steps out to shine. Silver in the 50, silver in the 200, and fighting with a sprint breaststroker and a distance breaststroker should make things extremely interesting tonight.

Lawrence will have the middle lane after swimming a 1:06.97 this morning to be the only swimmer under 1:07. Flanked on both sides of her will be Larson and Hardy. All three have different strategies, which should make for a great race.

Kevin Cordes is going in as the defending national champion in this event, and without a doubt has the upper hand after a great prelim 200m breaststroke swim and a solid second place finish behind newcomer Brendan McHugh in the 50.

McHugh is the dark-horse going into this race, but definitely could be a huge factor. The two raced this morning and ultimately Cordes came out on top, but  McHugh was only about half a second behind him to be the second fastest qualifier so far.

The race will be between these two swimmers in the middle of the pool. Cordes should be able to dip under the 1:00 barrier again, and if pushed, McHugh may follow him.

This backstroke final is pretty much just a Cal backstroke set. Missy Franklin, Rachel Bootsma, and Elizabeth Pelton will all be battling it out in the middle of the pool. They’re all very familiar with racing each other which should make things extremely interesting tonight.

Olivia Smoliga was with the three girls tonight and she’ll be in lane number three. She finished ahead of Pelton this morning in the overall rankings, so she’s in a great position to spoil the Cal 1-2-3 podium sweep.

The men’s 100m backstroke has arguably the most depth out of any final at these championships. There are five swimmers who have represented the US in LC international competition, and the other three aren’t slackers either. Michael Phelps, Matt Grevers, Nick Thoman, David Plummer, Eugene Godsoe, Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley, and James Wells will be your championship finalists.

These are all big names, and all these swimmers have a shot at doing something big tonight. Coming in hot however is David Plummer after a 50m backstroke win last night. Plummer will be in lane five with Matt Grevers in lane four and Michael Phelps in six.

Grevers was the fastest qualifier, but you can bet he had a nightmare this afternoon of he took a after prelims nap about a charging Michael Phelps running him down on the last 50. Coming home, Phelps was fast. So fast in fact that he negative split his 100m back race.

The splits themselves don’t do justice to this. For anyone who watched the race, it seemed as though he was swimming against a field full of anchors coming home. He kicked it into a fifth gear and just flew home.

With Phelps’ back half speed he’ll be a major factor in this race if he can start that first 50 a little faster than he did this morning. Ryan Murphy was the third fastest qualifier ahead of Phelps and will have an opportunity to get on the podium again after he earned himself a silver in the 200m backstroke final behind Tyler Clary.

 Special thanks to SwimSwam contributor Mitch Bowmile for the preview above. 

 

WOMEN’S 400 FREESTYLE – FINALS

  • 2013 US National Champion: 4:04.05 – Katie Ledecky 
  • Meet Record: 3:59.89 – Katie Ledecky – 2014 
  • World Record: 3:59.15 – Federica Pellegrini – 2009
  • American Record: 3:59.82 – Katie Ledecky– 2013
  • US Open Record: 3:59.89 – Katie Ledecky -2014
  • Time to make the 2013 US National Team (#6 Nationally At Selection Meets): 4:09.00 – Amber McDermott 

WITH A NEW WORLD RECORD OF 3:58.86, IT IS KATIE LEDECKY!!! Ledecky attacked the front half as she normally does, going out under WR pace. She stayed pace under the whole way, but the crowd was anxiously watching her splits as she approached the 300 and 350 mark. Pellegrini anchored her final 100 of her world record swim in 2009 with a 59.2 final 100 split. Ledecky had to close strong to break the record. The crowd went nuts when she touched the wall under 3:59. That time will stand as the new World, Junior World, American, US Open, National Meet, and 17-18 NAG Record.

Cierra Runge finished second with her time of 4:04.97, which is an amazing time from her. That is a three second drop from her morning swim. With two 17-18 year old swimmers, the US distance group is going to be hard to compete with.

Leah Smith was third with her time of 4:06.28, followed by Elizabeth Beisel in fourth at 4:07.46. Becca Mann finished in fifth at 4:07.76.

Lindsay Vrooman was sixth with her time of 4:09.38. Rounding out the top 8 in the women’s 400 freestyle was Gillian Ryan and Sarah Henry at 4:11.19 and 4:12.15.

Amber McDermott won the B-final of the women’s 400 freestyle with her time of 4:08.90. Jordan Mattern finished second at 4:09.66.

The 2014 Junior National Championships High Point Award winner, Madison Homovich, won the C-final of the women’s 400 freestyle at 4:12.77. That was almost a five second drop from her morning swim.

MEN’S 400 FRESSTYLE – FINALS

  • 2013 US National Champion: 3:45.89 – Connor Jaeger
  • Meet Record: 3:43.53- Larsen Jensen -2008
  • World Record: 3:40.07 – Paul Beidermann – 2009
  • American Record: 3:42.78 – Larsen Jensen -2008
  • US Open Record: 3:43.53- Larsen Jensen -2008
  • Time to make the 2013 US National Team (#6 Nationally At Selection Meets): 3:51.14 – Nicholas Caldwell

The men’s race wasn’t quite a world record performance, but they did put on a good show for the crowd. Michael Klueh took out the race pretty hard and lead through 200 at 1:52.92. Michael McBroom came on strong during the third 100 to re-take the lead. He led through the final 50, but he had a tough battle with Matt McLean down the final strech. At the touch, Michael McBroom got his hand on the wall to win the race with his time of 3:47.19. Matt McLean finished second with his time of 3:47.30. Connor Jaeger finished fourth with his time of 3:49.42, and Reed Malone dropped close to a second to finish fourth at 3:49.67.

Michael Klueh was fifth at 3:50.82, followed by Sean Ryan in sixth at 3:52.30.

Ryan Feeley and John Lewis round out the top 8 of the men’s 400 freestyle at 3:53.82 and 3:55.54.

Frank Dyer won the B-final of the men’s 400 freestyle with his time of 3:50.54. Janardan Burns was second at 3:50.99.

Grant Shoults won the C-final of the men’s 400 freestyle with his time of 3:52.78. That is a two and a half second drop for Shoults.

WOMEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE – FINALS

  • 2013 US National Champion: 1:06.16 – Breeja Larson
  • Meet Record: 1:05.34 – Rebecca Soni – 2009
  • World Record: 1:04.35 – Ruta Meilutyte – 2013
  • American Record: 1:04.45 – Jessie Hardy -2009
  • US Open Record: 1:04.45 – Jessie Hardy -2009
  • Time to make the 2013 US National Team (#6 Nationally At Selection Meets): 1:07.97 – Emma Reaney 

Micah Lawrence and Jessica Hardy simultaneously won their second events of the meet, tying for the win at 1:06.51. Lawrence won the 200 breaststroke earlier in the meet and Hardy won the 50 breaststroke last night. The final was incredibly close, with the final four all within .23 seconds of each other. Breeja Larson finished third with her time of 1:06.73, followed closely by Emma Reaney at 1:06.74. The top four swimmers are now all ranked top 10 in the world this year.

Katie Meili finished fifth at 1:07.44, followed by Lilly King at 1:08.22.

Molly Hannis and Andrea Cottrell round out the top 8 in the women’s 100 breaststroke at 1:08.82 and 1:09.10.

 Kaylin Burchell won the B-final of the women’s 100 breaststroke with her time of 1:08.65. Katie Olsen was second at 1:08.80.

Bethany Galat, the 2013 Junior National Champion in this event, won the C-final with her time of 1:09.17

MEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE– FINALS

  • 2013 US National Champion: 59.99 – Kevin Cordes
  • Meet Record: 59.o1 – Mark Gangloff – 2009
  • World Record: 58.46 – Cameron Van Der Burgh – 2012
  • American Record: 58.96 – Eric Shanteau – 2009
  • US Open Record: 59.o1 – Mark Gangloff – 2009
  • Time to make the 2013 US National Team (#6 Nationally At Selection Meets): 1:00.82 – Cody Miller

Cody Miller had the swim of a lifetime to win the men’s 100 breaststroke, out-touching last year’s World Championship team members Nic Fink and Kevin Cordes. Miller broke a minute for the first time, winning with a time of 59.91. Nic Fink finished second, securing his spot on the Pan Pacs team, with his time of 1:00.30. Kevin Cordes finished third with his time of 1:00.63, followed by Brad Craig in third at 1:00.63.

DJ Macdonald was fifth with his time of 1:00.83, followed by Zach Hayden at 1:01.00. Brendan McHugh finished seventh at 1:01.10 and BJ Johnson added an eighth place finish at 1:01.84.

Mike Alexanderov won the B-final of the men’s 100 breaststroke at 1:00.91. Marcus Titus was second at 1:01.63.

Connor Hoppe won the C-final with his time of 1:01.84.

WOMEN’S 100 BACKSTROKE– FINALS

  • 2013 US National Champion: 58.67 – Missy Franklin
  • Meet Record: 58.67 – Missy Franklin – 2013
  • World Record: 58.12 – Gemma Spofforth – 2009
  • American Record: 58.33 – Missy Franklin – 2012
  • US Open Record: 58.67 – Missy Franklin – 2013
  • Time to make the 2013 US National Team (#6 Nationally At Selection Meets): 1:00.38 – Olivia Smoliga 

Missy Franklin led the Cal Bears to a 1-2-3 finish in the women’s 100 backstroke with her time of 59.38. Rachel Boostma and Liz Pelton were second and third at 1:00.71 and 1:00.76. That should give Pelton a spot on the Pan Pacs roster. Kathleen Baker was first to the wall at the 50 and held on to finish fourth with her time of 1:00.90.

Olivia Smoliga finished fifth at 1:01.08, followed by Clara Smiddy at 1:01.37 for sixth.

Cheyenne Coffman finished seventh at 1:01.57 and Ali Deloof was eighth at 1:02.21.

Melanie Klaren won the B-final of the women’s 100 backstroke with her time of 1:01.81. Sarah Denninghoff finished second at 1:01.99.

Kylie Stewart won the C-final of the women’s 100 backstroke at 1:01.62.

MEN’S 100 BACKSTROKE– FINALS

  • 2013 US National Champion: 53.10 – David Plummer
  • Meet Record: 51.94 – Aaron Peirsol – 2009
  • World Record: 51.94 – Aaron Peirsol – 2009
  • American Record: 51.94 – Aaron Peirsol – 2009
  • US Open Record:  51.94 – Aaron Peirsol – 2009
  • Time to make the 2013 US National Team (#6 Nationally At Selection Meets): 53.86 – Eugene Godsoe 

Matt Grevers won the men’s 100 backstroke to secure his spot on the Pan Pacs team. He finished with the third fastest time in the world this year at 52.75. Ryan Murphy finished second at 53.21, followed by Nick Thoman for third at 53.46. That should book Thoman a trip to Pan Pacs. David Plummer finished fourth with his time of 53.46. He dropped close to a second from his morning swim.

b finished fifth at 53.90, followed by Michael Phelps at 53.95 in sixth. Eugene Godsoe was seventh at 54.66 and James Wells finished eighth at 55.41.

Shane Ryan had a fantastic drop to win the B-final of the men’s 100 backstroke at 53.90. Thats over a second drop from his morning swim. Jack Conger was second at 55.26.

The 2014 Junior National Champion in this event, Michael Andrew, won the C-final of the men’s 100 back with his time of 55.73. That ties the 7th fastest 15-16 100 backstroke ever swum.

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