The 2012 AT&T Winter Nationals kicked off in Austin Thursday. After a fast prelim session in the morning, finals proved to be no different. The University of Arizona teams got the meet rolling, recording victories in both the men’s and women’s 200 freestyle relays.
In the women’s sprint relay the team of Margo Geer, Megan Lafferty, Katlyn Flederbach, and Alana Pazevic went 1:28.63 to break the meet record set by USC in prelims. Geer’s leadoff leg of 21.82 got them off to a fast start, and all of the girls split under 22.6. The team from University of Texas was also under the previous meet record mark with a time of 1:29.14, and USC–slightly off their morning time–was third in 1:29.47.
Arizona pulled off a double victory in the sprint relay, with their men’s team winning the event as well–just .05 off the meet record time, also set by USC but from 2010. The team of Giles Smith, Mihell Friedemann, Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or, and Nicholas Popov went 1:17.95 to handily defeat USC, who finished second with a 1:19.37. All of the members of Arizona’s relay recorded sub-20 splits.
In the 500 free NCAP’s Katie Ledecky won in a time of 4:34.53, a lifetime best that was just a few tenth’s shy of Katie Hoff‘s National Age Group Record. Ledecky is only 15, however, so the 4:34.21 mark is well within her reach. Fellow Olympian Haley Anderson and Leah Smith, the other youngster in the field, were in a very close race for second with USC’s Anderson getting it at the touch with a 4:36.87 to Smith’s 4:36.90.
Michael McBroom, of Texas, won the men’s 500 in a close race in which all of the top three finishers went 4:16s. McBroom beat Cristian Quintero of USC and Matthew Barber, of Arizona, with a time of 4:16.08. Out of those three, he was last at the 400 but had a strong last 100 to end up getting the win in a race that was close throughout.
A very close race in the women’s 200 IM went to Cal commit Celena Li, who out-touched USC’s Stina Gardell and future teammate Missy Franklin for the title. Li, with a 1:55.08, was only .04 ahead of Gardell. Franklin was third in 1:55.88.
Ryan Lochte ran away with the men’s 200 IM, going 1:40.97 to separate himself from a field that was otherwise very close. Just five tenths separated the second through sixth place finishers, Alex Lendrum getting second in a time of 1:44.24.
The women’s 50 went to veteran Jessica Hardy who finished in a time of 21.83, beating Arizona’s Geer by just .01. Keep in mind however that this was Geer’s second 50 of the night. Christine Magnuson was third in 21.91. Like Geer, Carlson–who took fourth in 22.04–did a lot of sprinting Thursday as well, and though she went sub 22 on two relay leadoffs she couldn’t manage to break the mark a third time. Also notable in this event was Franklin’s 22.41 to win the consol final–an impressive swim for such a short turnaround between that and her IM.
After top seed Nathan Adrian scratched 50 free finals due to a jammed finger, Matt Greversgot the center lane. Grevers won the event in 18.88 which was just two hundredths shy of Adrian’s meet record set Thursday morning. It’s a shame Adrian had two scratch because these two likely would have had a great race here. Also worth a mention in this event is Louisville’s Joao De Lucca, who got scratched in and used the opportunity to move up several spots to take fourth in a time of 19.61.