Day of the 2013 Orlando Grand Prix, a brand new event in the series, was off this morning without any hitches. Though this is a new meet, it’s an experienced meet-hosting team, and the swimmers settled in to good prelims performances.
Missy Franklin took top honors in the 200 free in 2:00.51. With the way she backed off on the second 100 meters of this race, it’s clear that she was either saving her strength for finals, or that she’s really getting hammered in practice by her coach Todd Schmitz right now. One would presume mostly the former, with a dose of the latter, and based on history count on a sub-two minute swim for her in finals.
Canadian Sam Cheverton took 2nd in that race this morning in 2:01.27, followed by Clearwater’s Becca Mann. In this new year, Mann has now aged up into the 15-16′s (it seemed like she was 14 forever), and this is just her second meet in the age group. Also in that A-Final is Georgian Nicole Stafford as the 5th seed in 2:03.16. She’s Stanford-bound next year, and is coming off of a breakout meet at the Georgia High School State Championships last week.
Olympian Kate Ziegler, reaching down at the low end of her distance range, will be in the B-Final in 2:04.53.
Dana Vollmer, racing for the first time since her outstanding Olympic performance that now has her name stamped on two World Records, was the lone swimmer under a minute in the 100 fly this morning. She swam a 59.01 for the top seed, followed by Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen (1:00.02) and Canadian veteran Audrey Lacroix (1:02.17). Stafford made another A-Final in this race, just missing her best time with a 1:02.08. Franklin also swam this race with a 1:02.05 to sit 6th, one spot ahead of Stafford. Don’t read too much into Franklin’s entry (yet), as in the typical Grand Prix schedule she doesn’t have a ton of options for a second day-1 event.
In the men’s 200 free, German star Yannick Lebherz came in and took the pace to the American and Australian Olympians with a top-seeded 1:50.31. Second behind him was Conor Dwyer in 1:50.66, followed by Bobby Hurley from down under (1:51.09) and all-world swimmer Ryan Lochte (1:51.57).
That is going to be a big-name final, as it’s rounded out with the likes of Michael Klueh, Ryan Cochrane, Charlie Houchin, and Tyler Clary. National Age Group Record holder in yards Dylan Carter slid to the B-Final in 1:53.73.
In the women’s 100 breaststroke, the top seed went to Catherine Meili, a mid-major wonder from Columbia. She had a big breakout season last year, and 2013 seems to be going just as well for her; watch her 200 IM later in this meet as well. She was seconded by Swedish swimmer Rebecca Ejdervik, a graduate of Arizona State, in 1:09.90. Canada’s top breaststroker Martha McCabe was a ways back in 3rd in 1:11.08, followed just-behind by 15-year old German swimmer Margerethe Hummel.
The men’s race was led by Mike Alexandrov in a casual 1:02.91, but he was pushed by a young newcomer Venezuelan Carlos Claverie, who was a 1:03.35. We can’t say for certain if that’s a best time, but it did cut half-a-second off of his seed time. That’s faster than any American 15-16 has been this season.
Lochte’s 2nd swim of the day was the 100 fly, an event it looks more-and-more like he’ll go after for Barcelona, in the least. He’s the top seed in 54.54, with Bolles high school swimmer (and Singaporean) Joseph Schooling 2nd in 54.63. Tyler McGill, the Olympic medalist, is 3rd in 54.69. USC-bound sprinter Santo Condorelli showed his future coach Dave Salo something impressive with a 55.00 for the 4th seed. He and Schooling’s teammate Ryan Murphy just missed the A-Final in 56.07.
Former Auburn swimmer, and British National, Adam Brown showed up for a bit of a surprise at this meet as well. He’s the 8th seed in 56.04.
Nobody was close to Mann’s 4:42.69 in the 400 IM to end the session; Tyler Clary should dominate the 400 IM final with really only Conor Dwyer to push him, but neither was under 4:31 in prelims. Lebherz, disappointingly, skipped the 400 IM: a race in which he’s the German National Record holder.