Though many Americans are unhappy with the new Grand Prix rules, which offer solid prize money but also have severely heightened standards, but apparently the international swimmers are more happy with them. There was a huge international presence on day 1 of this meet, especially from Latin America and some lesser-known swimming countries like Ecuador, who ended up taking about half of the podium spots in the first finals session.
Women’s 200 free final
Missy Franklin took her 200 free to another gear to kick off the finals session with a 1:58.01. Franklin usually has a big meet coming off of her high school season, and though this year’s was a little bit closer timing-wise, the result was no different. This swim makes her a perfect three-for-three in the 200 free in this year’s series.
Canadian Samantha Cheverton, not 14 as the results indicate, took 2nd in 2:00.10. In 3rd place was American Becca Mann in 2:00.28. That’s a lifetime best for her.
Mann made three Olympic Trials finals this summer, though none of them were in this 200 free (she was only 49th in prelims of this race in Omaha.) since that time, though, she’s dropped more than two seconds and looks like she might be a serious threat in this 200 free as well.
A second Canadian, Barbara Jardin, was 4th in 2:00.96.
Men’s 200 free final
This men’s 200 free kicked off a three race streak of victories by international swimmers, with German Yannick Lebherz winning in 1:49.48.
The Gator Swim Club’s Conor Dwyer and Australian Bobby Hurley fought hard to run him down at the end of this race, but couldn’t really make up much ground and tied for 2nd in 1:49.81.
This was a stacked final, maybe one of the best of the entire meet, and it showed with the names that lined up behind the top 3. Michael Klueh was 4th in 1:50.61 and Ryan Lochte 5th in 1:50.78. Within a few tenths came Tyler Clary, Charlie Houchin, and Ryan Cochrane.
Women’s 100 breaststroke final
Olympic finalist Alia Atkinson coasted through the prelims of this race, but hiding out in lane 2 in this final, she scored a 1:08.51 win in this 100 breaststroke.
Columbia senior Katie Meili, just two weeks out of the Ivy League Championships, took 2nd in 1:09.00. That’s her second lifetime best on the day in this race. In the 200 IM on Saturday, anticipate her going around a 2:16, which would be another lifetime best.
Meili was propping up the American effort in this race, as she was the only domestic swimmer who finished in the top 6 in the event. Next up was Sweden’s Rebecca Ejdervik (1:09.49) and German 15-year old Margarethe Hummel (1:10.30). She’s still short of the all-time age group record in the event for her country, but she’s closing in on that 1984 mark by the great Sylvia Gerasch.
(Interesting side note: Gerasch was accused of being given steroids by her coach as young as 13, but said she never took them and dropped them in an aquarium instead. Her only positive test was for high levels of caffeine: which was later removed from the banned substances list.)
14-year old Kennedy Lohman was 7th in 1:12.40; she was the youngest finalist on day 1 of this meet.
Men’s 100 breaststroke final
Brazil’s Felipe Lima almost mirrored Atkinson’s win with his own in the 100 breaststroke. The Davie Nadadores-trained swimmer was the 6th seed in the prelims of this race, but took a big three-second chunk out of his time to go a 1:00.86. He and American Mike Alexandrov were basically stroke-for-stroke throughout this race, but of the two veterans Lima got his fingers to the wall. Alexandrov, though the narrow margin cost him a few hundred bucks in prize money, still was very good in 1:00.90 for 2nd.
Tennessee post-grad Bradley Craig took 3rd in 1:03.28.
Women’s 100 fly final
Olympic Champion and World Record holder Dana Vollmer was well in control in the prelims of this 100 fly; as her history has been, though, she was a 58.91, not a whole lot faster than she was in the earlier round. Meanwhile, Danish swimmer Jeanette Ottesen dropped about 7-tenths to really put a charge of energy into this race, but ultimately in 59.36 finished 2nd.
Canadian Audrey Lacroix was 3rd in 59.71.
Missy Franklin was 4th in 1:01.20 (she, surprisingly, has still never broken a minute in this race), followed by a tie between Sam Cheverton and Kim Vandenberg in 1:01.70. Stanford commit Nicole Stafford from the Dynamo Swim Club was 7th in 1:02.13, riding the wave from her Georgia HS State title in yards last weekend.
Men’s 100 fly final
After the internationals dominated early action in this session, the Americans took control as the evening wore on and won the last 4 individual events. Tyler McGill won this 100 fly in 53.38, his first time swimming this race since finishing 6th in London. This was a stark reminder to Ryan Lochte, who was 2nd in 54.40, that even without Michael Phelps in the mix anymore, the road to the top of the American podium in the 100 fly is certainly anything but easy.
Bolles senior Santo Condorelli, who will head to USC next season, took 3rd in 54.62, just getting a fingernail over a hard-finishing Wu Peng (54.63). Condorelli’s teammate Ryan Murphy won the B-Final in 54.88.
Women’s 400 IM
Becca Mann just keeps going; in this 400 IM, she swam a 4:41.24 to win the women’s 400 IM. This is another swim that is better than she was at the Olympic Trials last summer (though, in this instance it isn’t a best time – she was a 4:39 at Jr. Pan Pacs). Georgian Kylie Stewart of the Dynamo Swim Club hung with Mann early, but on her weakest leg, the breaststroke, the lead grew to more than 7 seconds.
Stewart would slip to 3rd in 4:52.08, as Davie Nadadores’ Samantha Salinas slid into 2nd (she, on the other hand, was the best breaststroker in this field) with a 4:50.23. This was very much a young womans’ race, not a big surprise at this time of year, as none of the four finals had more than one non-teenager in it.
Men’s 400 IM
Tyler Clary could have guessed that he would get a push from Conor Dwyer in this race, and that he did. What not many saw coming, though, was Davie Nadadores swimmer Esteban Enderica, an Ecuadorian, who was close to his best time.
Clary had built a big 4-5 second lead after the breaststroke, but doing his best Thiago Pereira impression, he fell well off on the closing freestyle leg – finishing in a 1:03.4. Enderica and Dwyer were botch closer to a minute, but they ran out of room.
Final times: Clary in 4:24.56, Enderica 2nd in 4:25.12, and Dwyer 3rd in 4:25.30. Dwyer will likely attempt both the 400 free and IM at this year’s World Championship Trials (they don’;t conflict like they do on the Olympic schedule), but if he wants to contend with the likes of Clary, he really needs to improve on his backstroke.