The American team of Adam Mania, Mike Alexandrov, Eugene Godsoe, and Josh Schneider won the Fast Lane meet in Brazil in a bit of an upset after topping the Australians in the final, meaning that they will split roughly $25,000 in prizes.
The meet was set up in a team-by-team bracket, with the French and the Australians facing off on one side and the Americans and Brazilians on the other. One swimmer from each team competed head-to-head against their opponents in a stroke 50, worth 1 point each (for 4 possible points). Then, the teams joined together for 200 meter medley relays, worth a total of 3 points.
First, the Americans topped Brazil 4-3 to win their side of the bracket. Mania got them off to a great start by winning the 50 backstroke in 25.51. Though he was the only American to win his individual race, there was perhaps a bit of gamesmanship in play here: thanks to that first event win, all the Americans had to do was win the medley relay, and they secured advancement to the final. That would explain, in part, some of the results, like Schneider’s 24-second 50 freestyle that was slower than the winning time in the 50.
The best performance of the first round belonged to Felipe Lima with a 27.60 to top Alexandrov in the 50 breaststroke race. That ties his own season-best for #11 in the World in 2012, though there’s still two of his teammates ahead of him (keep that depth of the Brazilians in mind for a weird moment later in the first roudn).
The Americans, sufficiently rested after cruising through the individual matchups, won the 200 medley 1:38.68-1:39.33.
Results from preliminary of USA-BRA bracket:
Adam Mania (USA) 25.51
Daniel Orzechowski (BRA) 25.52
Felipe Lima (BRA) 27.60
Mike Alexandrov (USA) 28.05
Gabriel Mangabeira (BRA) 24.34
Eugene Godsoe (USA) 24.94
Bruno Fratus (BRA) 23.45
Josh Schneider (USA) 24.35
200 Medley Relay
Next up was France versus Australia in the other semi-final. This originally looked as though it would be the group-of-death, so-to-speak, but a pair of late substitutions for the French made them go from heavy favorites to about even with everyone else. First, just a few days before the meet, Camille Lacourt pulled out with an injury. Then, a bit of a surprise today, France’s breaststroker Giacomo Dortogna dropped out at the last minute with a back injury and Felipe Brandao replaced him – except that Brandao is a Brazilian.
That wasn’t the straw that broke the French though as they fell to the Aussies 5-2 in the other semi-final. That’s because Brandao actually won his breaststroke race against Australia’s Matthew Abood – who isn’t really even a breaststroker.
There were two other great head-to-head matchups in this showdown. First in the 50 fly, Matt Targett and Fred Bousquet, two of the 5 best in the world in the race, squared off, with Targett winning by about a tenth. Then 50 freestyle Olympic gold medalist Florent Manaudou edged James Magnussen by the same margin: exactly a tenth. Again, though, with Daniel Arnamnart winning the first race (the backstroke), none of those times were too impressive as the relay was left to decide the outcome.
There, the Australians in 1:39.15 beat the French, who were about half-a-second slower.
Results from the Australia-France semi-final:
Daniel Arnamnart (AUS) 25.43
Dorian Gandin (FRA) 26.58
Felipe Brandao (FRA*) 28.77
Matthew Abood (AUS) 28.88
Matt Targett (AUS) 24.73
Fred Bousquet (FRA) 24.81
Florent Manaudou (FRA) 24.39
James Magnussen (AUS) 24.49
200 Medley Relay
This left a final of the USA versus Australia; with the Americans having been so much faster on their medley in prelims, they were confident, but there was a lot of fatigue in this second round so things were still wide open.
Mania topped Daniel Arnamnart in the ever-important backstroke race after Arnamnart was DQ’ed, giving the Americans a big early mental edge. Alexandrov would dispatch Abood in the 50 breaststroke with little effort, but the Aussies got some hope thanks to great swims from Matt Targett in the 50 fly and James Magnussen in the 50 free – with Schneider again swimming a 24-mid.
Both teams stepped up their games big-time in the medleys, with significant drops from prelims despite the load of events. Josh Schneider ran down James Magnussen on the final leg, and the Americans won by just about half-a-second, 1:38.07 to 1:38.58.
Results from the final:
Adam Mania (USA) 26.40
Daniel Arnamnart (AUS) DQ
Mike Alexandrov (USA) 28.81
Matthew Abood (AUS) 29.26
Matt Targett (AUS) 23.88
Eugene Godsoe (USA) 24.11
James Magnussen (AUS) 23.79
Josh Schneider (USA) 24.50
200 Medley Relay
The Australians took home $12,500 for their runner-up finish, with the Brazilians and French sharing the remaining $12,500 in prize money.