We are now less than 15 minutes away from the official start time of the first finals session of the 2010 Pan Pac Championships!
Tonight’s finals will be preceded by the “Parade of Nationsm,” so expect it to be closer to 6:10 or so (pacific time) before the first race (the women’s 50 fly) hits the water. While you’re waiting, check out the live feed on swimnetwork. They’ve got some cool interviews, fan cams, previews and other features going on.
Live results available on Omegatiming.com
Women’s 50 fly
Marieke Guehrer went under the 26 second barrier to win the first gold of the 2010 Pan-Pacs. She had a great reaction time, led the race wire-to-wire, and held off a hard charge from teammate Emily Seebhom (26.08) in the last few yards. American 100 meter National Champion Christine Magnuson kicked it into gear halfway down the pool to slide in for the bronze (26.33)
Australia’s Yolane Kukla also went sub-26 to win the B-final in an identical 25.99 as Guehrer. It’s a shame that Kukla wasn’t able to make the final, because it would have been a heck of a race between the two Aussies. Their twin 25.99’s tie them for the Pan-Pac record.
Men’s 50 fly
That’s what I get for second guessing myself. On my original draft for David Rieder’s prediction contest, I had the order of this event picked Cielo-Santos-Schoeman. Then I second-guessed it and changed it around big time.
As predicted, the race was dominated by the sprinters, regardless of their specialty. Cesar Cielo, who is known as a sprint freestyler (he holds the World Record in both the 50 and the 100) just threw down the fastest 50 fly time in the world this year: 23.03. This bests Rafael Munoz of Spain’s 23.15. Munoz is the holder of the 4 fastest 50 fly times in history. His teammate Nicholas Santos took second in 23.33, although to the naked eye the finish looked much closer than that. Schoeman, who looked like he had the race locked up, slid back to third at the touch in 23.39.
If Cielo can go this fast in the 50 fly, look out in the freestyle events. He’s going to be a rocket, and will probably challenge Fred Bosquet’s world best times.
American Cullen Jones was 5th (23.50) and Timothy Phillips was 7th (23.92).
Women’s 200 free
Allison Schmitt absolutely flew through the firs 180 meters of the women’s 200 free, and though she faded ever so slightly towards the end, she turned in a fantastic time of 1:56.10, which is the best time in the world by a solid margin and a new Championship record. She finished a full body-length ahead of her “UGA and USA” teammate, Morgan Scroggy, who was second in 1:57.13. Australian Blair Evans was third in 1:57.27.
Men’s 200 free
On top of the water, the race looked like it was going to be a very close one. Under the water, however, Ryan Lochte was a man among small boys. His championship winning time of 1:45.30 slid under Biedermann’s European Championship time.
When asked in his post-race interview if he was swimming better than he ever has, Lochte’s response was “maybe” with a grin. The answer is yes. And all of this after having a nearly comical string of injuries over the last year. Don’t doubt this man in any of his races, because if you do, he’ll prove you wrong.
The silver medal went to Tae Hwan Park of Korea, whose time of 1:46.27 is a season best for him, and must make him excited about the possibilities headed into November’s Asian Championships. Peter Vanderkaay of the USA was third in 1:46.65.
Women’s 100 back
Natalie Coughlin is still amazing under the water, but on top of the water, she seems to have paid for the long lay-off post Olympics. Australian youngster–she’s only 18–Emily Seebhom charged home after all of the swimmers emerged from the water, and posted a strong 59.45 to take the gold. Seebhom’s time probably could have been a little better, however we must remember that she already medaled once (about 45 minutes ago) in the 50 fly. No world best time here, but Seebhom already owned that honor (59.21). Aya Terakawa of Japan, who was lurking towards the outside of the main battle between Coughlin and Phelps, also passed Coughlin after the turn to finish second in 59.59.
Coughlin still managed a medal, as she always seems to do, by finishing third in 59.70. The young phenom Missy Franklin was 4th in 1:00.16. If Coughlin can really get her conditioning back, she looks like she can continue to be a force through 2012, and keep her streak of medaling in every race she’s ever swum at the Olympics.
Men’s 100 back
Aaron Peirsol took full advantage of his second chance at the 100 backstroke, after Lochte’s scratch bumped him into the A-final. His time of 53.31 makes him, by a fingernail, 4th fastest in the world this year, but still well of Camille Lacourt’s world-leading 52.11, a time that nobody expected to be challenged here.
Junya Koga of Japan took 2nd in 53.63, which matches Peirsol’s time from Nationals. Aussie Ashley Delaney was third in 53.71.
David Plummer did his best to show that he was a contender, and actually held a lead for a portion of this race. His time of 53.80 was still slower than Nick Thoman’s 53.66 from the B-final, despite Thoman running into the lanerope. Despite, Plummer has still shown over these two weeks that he is very good, despite never finishing higher than 8th as a collegian. That’s just one more name to throw into the massive American backstroke pool that is so deep that Matt Grevers, who has the third best time in the world (53.05), couldn’t even crack the Pan-Pac lineup.
Women’s 200 fly
The women’s 200 butterfly was a war of attrition between Australia’s Jessicah Schipper and American Teresa Crippen. Both swimmers looked like they hurt very badly coming into the home stretch, but Schipper just barely nipped Crippen with a time of 2:06.90. Crippen was second in 2:06.93.
For most of the race, Crippen looked as though she would break the streak of Australians winning this event, which has now stretched to 5 straight Pan-Pac Championships.
Kathleen Hersey, who had the strongest last 50, probably would have won the race if it was 10 meters longer. She had the fastest last-50 split (33.32) and touched in 2:07.27.
Schipper and Crippen sit as the third and fourth fastest in the world this year in the 200 fly after this race. Hersey’s time from Nationals leaves her 5th.
Men’s 200 fly
Michael Phelps answered any questions about what kind of shape he would be in for these Pan Pacs in his very first race. Whereas at Nationals, he really struggled (ok, he still won) and looked terrible at the end of his race, tonight he looked much better. His turns were still off, and he still said he hurt a lot in his post-race intreview, but the eyeball test didn’t show it. A closer look at the results shows that the field did make up some significant ground in the final lap, but by then Phelps had already build too much of a lead.
As Mel Stewart said on the Swimnetwork broadcast, “you can’t run and hide in the 200 fly.” Phelps’ time of 1:54.11 is the best in the world this year by exactly half-a-second, although he says he was hoping to go a 1:53. Phelps is always his own biggest critic, but if this is a bad swim for him, that brings huge expectations for next Summer, after his promised refocus on the training regimine that took him to 8 golds in Beijing.
Not to be overlooked, Nick D’Arcy swam a 1:54.73, which gives him 2 out of the 3 fastest times in the World this year. I expected him to put his full taper towards Phelps and Pan-Pacs, but it appears as though he might be holding out for the Commonwealth Games. As I discussed earlier today in the preview article with David Rieder, there will be much less competition in this race at the Commonwealth Games.
Takeshi Matsuda of Japan was third in 1:54.81. That means we saw the 3 fastest butterfliers in the world swim in this race, and Phelps still dominated the field by 6 tenths of a second.
Women’s 800 free
Kate Ziegler is back on the world scene with the second fastest 800 free on the year. Her time of 8:21.59 confirms that she is back after a disappoint 2-year span that saw her miss both of her finals in Beijing and then have to stay home from Rome battling swine flu.
Chloe Sutton swam a life-time best of 8:24.51. This is an exciting result for her, considering that she’s basically poured her whole weekend into the open-water 10k that is her specialty, even at the expense of the poll-based 1500m swim. Katie Goldman from Australian went a great time as well (8:26.38) to take bronze. Goldman’s time was 4 seconds off of what she went at Australian Nat’s in March, meaning another Aussie likely saving it for the Commonwealth Games.
Men’s 1500 free
The men’s 1500 was pretty uneventful, as 1500s can often be, but this is not to say that it wasn’t an extremely fast final heat. Ryan Cochrane led wire-to-wire and finished in 14;49.47, which is the best time in the world by 5.7 seconds. Chad La Tourette bested his Nationals performance by going a 14:54.87, which stands behind only Cochrane’s as the second fastest time in the world this year (and 2 out of the top 4). Lin Zhang of China also cracked the 15 minute mark and finished in 14:58.90 for the bronze: China’s first medal of the meet.
Ous Mellouli coasted into a 16th place finish in this race (15:24.74) to kill any fantasies of him pulling off a miracle in his first 10k later in the meet.