For All of our Coverage of the 2010 Pan-Pac Championships, click on the 2010 Pan-Pac Championships tag at the bottom of the articles.
Stay tuned, as we are less than 10 minutes from the first race of the night, the women’s 400 freestyle! As the meet goes on, we will be posting live recaps and analysis within a few minutes of each race finishing.
Women’s 400 freestyle
Kate Ziegler, swimming out of the B-final, was the “mythical” silver medalist, but thanks to the 2-per country rule she was left out of the medal heat. She started things out in a fast 4:05.52.
But then, in the A-final, Chloe Sutton was even faster, in a swift 4:05.19. Amazingly enough, this still wasn’t anywhere near Janet Evans’ Pan Pac record that was set all the way back in 1989. Incredible that Evans’ times have withstood 21 years of onslaught and technological advances.
The Australian women finished second and third, with Katie Goldman taking the silver in 4:05.84. She and teammate Blair Evans (bronze-4:06.36) were the only swimmers out in under a minute on the first 100, but Sutton, who specializes in ultra-long open-water races, had a great back-half to pass them both. This is Sutton’s first international gold medal–in the pool!
Men’s 400 freestyle
Tae Hwan Park was the Olympic gold medalist in this event, and he now has a Pan Pac gold to add to the collection. Ryan Cochrane, the Canadian distance specialist who won the 1500, gave Park a good push through the first 300 meters. Cochrane, who swam without a cap in typical Canadian spirit, didn’t so much lose the lead as Hwan ripped it away from him. The Korean superstar’s second 200 split, 1:50.81, was 3 seconds faster than his first 50 split, 1:53.92. That’s an incredible second-half.
Park’s time of 3:44.73 is the fastest in the world this year. Cochrane’s mark of 4:46.78 also puts him in the top 10 in the world. These two both look very good headed into their respective Championship meets this fall. Just behind Cochrane at 3:46.91 was Lin Zhang of China, who previously had the world’s top time before today.
Women’s 100 fly
At US Nationals, Christine Magnuson upset Vollmer in what appeared to be her surest bet at gold: the 100 fly. She did the same thing in the prelims this morning. But there’s an old adage in sports that it’s really hard to beat the same time/person 3 times in the same year, and that held true here. Vollmer won the race in a 57.56, and although it wasn’t a very fast time, it was nice to see her finally get her win. Magnuson was second in 57.95.
Alicia Coutts of Australia out touched her Australian teammate, 14-year old Yolane Kukla, to grab the bronze in 57.99. Kukla, who went out in a 26.77, has still not been beaten on the first 50 of a race since her first preliminary swim, but all she has is two 4th place finishes, a B-final Championship, and a meet record, but no medals, to show for it. It shows that her height (she’s barely 5’5) hurts her badly off the turns. As she matures and puts a second half on her races, look out World Records. I think this also sets her up for a big win in the 50 free tomorrow.’
Men’s 100 fly
Michael Phelps is still struggling on his starts and turns. He was dead last off the blocks, although his turn and finish were better than they were in the 200 fly. But still, Michael Phelps is a monster in the fly. He stays perfectly low over the water, and despite breathing a ton, wastes no up-and-down energy, which gives him a huge edge in the 100 fly, even when he’s out of shape. He ended up taking the gold medal in a Pan-Pac record of 50.86, but that time was still slower than his World-leading 50.65 from Nationals. No World Record here, as some had anticipated, but still a very solid swim and a very solid win against a very solid field.
Tyler McGill has been a pleasant surprise for Team USA during this Championship season. Mcgill, who just finished his eligibility at Auburn, took the silver in a 51.85, but was just off of his prelims time (51.69) that is the second best in the world. His emergence will give Team USA some great relay flexibility headed into London. Takuro Fujii of Japan was third in 52.12.
Women’s 200 back
Elizabeth Beisel enjoyed her first international victory in the 400 IM so much yesterday, that she thought she’d do it again. In between gasping for breaths during her post-race interview, Beisel managed to get out that she felt a lot more relaxed at this meet than she did at Nationals. It showed in her race, as she managed to not panic despite a very strong challenge from Liz Pelton, Belinda Hocking, and Shiho Sakai of Japan. Pelton had amazing walls, but Beisel kept her cool, and took her lead back after surfacing. At the end, she was just too much above the water and took the win in 2:07.83, with Pelton second in 2:08.10.
Belinda Hocking was out fast through the first 150 meters, but faded badly on the last lap to place third in 2:08.60.
Men’s 200 back
Ryan Lochte is now 4 for 4 on both gold medals, and World Best times, as he won the 200 back A-final in a meet record of 1:54.12. He is just on fire in this meet, and broke the meet record despite running into the lanerope and coming back to silver medalist Tyler Clary (1:54.90) in the last 7 meters.
Lochte’s mark was the best in the world this year by .99 seconds, and Clary’s was the second best in the world. The previous fastest in the world, Ryosuke Irie of Japan, won the bronze medal in 1:55.21. This is a fantastic time for him, just a tenth off of his season best, considering that he is still 3 months out from his Championship meet. As fast as Lochte was, there’s a chance Irie takes the “2010 virtual World Championship” back from Lochte at the Asian Games.
Women’s 50 breaststroke
Jessica hardy showed us in the 50 breaststroke that she hasn’t entirely given up the stroke that she holds multiple World Records in. After scratching the 100 breaststroke yesterday to focus on the 100 free, Hardy came back today and won the 50 in a blazing 30.03, which is the best in the world this year. After a powerful start, Hardy blew away the competition, with second place finisher Leiston Pickett from Australia finishing second in 30.75.
Pickett, who’s only 18 years old, out-touched her teammate, and likely one of her swimming role models, Leisel Jones, thanks mostly to a faster start. Jones, who finished in 30.75, finished .03 behind Pickett, and was exactly .03 seconds slower off of the block. Pickett swims a very unorthodox breaststroke, keeping her face down towards the water throughout the race. If she continues to excel, the method might start to catch on.
Notably, Rebecca Soni won the B-Championship in 30.68, which was the second-fastest time on the night.
Men’s 50 breaststroke
With Felipe Silva’s win in the 50 meter breaststroke (27.26), the Brazilians have now won 2 out of the 3 sprint events. If Cielo wins the 50 free tomorrow, which I think he will, that will make 3 out of 4, which would be their only 3 gold medals of the meet. The Brazlian men simply know how to sprint. It doesn’t matter what the stroke is, they just fly. Silva’s just edges him past Kitajima as the best time in the world this year. The silver medalist was American Mark Gangloff in 27.52.
After Ganfloff, things got incredibly interesting. The 3rd-8th place finishers were only separated by .07 seconds. After the dust settled, Canadian Scott Dickens shocked everyone by stealing the bronze from lane 8 in 27.63 seconds. He wasn’t on anybody’s radar in this event coming in to the meet, but now is in the top 20 in the World.
Women’s 400 free relay
Canada’s Victoria Poon gave USA lead-off swimmer Natalie Coughlin a bit of a challenge, but the USA squad is incredibly deep with sprint freestylers, and nobody else could put up second and third legs that could come close to the Americans’. The last three legs of Team USA’s relay went sub-54’s, and the Americans pulled away for the win in a Pan Pac record of 3:35.11. This sets up an exciting next 2 years for this 400 free relay, which is probably the American women’s best. Australia (3:38.06) recovered from an uncharacteristically slow lead-off from Yolane Kukla-she was probably tired from her earlier 100 fly swim–to snag the silver away, with Canada finishing third for the second straight relay with a 3:38.14.
Men’s 400 free relay
Phelps leads off the 400 free relay for Team USA in a world-best and Championship Record 48.13; and he still had the slowest split of the relay. The enormity of that is simply unreal. Team USA’s slowest split would have been the fastest split on any other relay in the field, and it was off a flat start none-the-less. Here’s the relay breakdown.
For a grand total time of 3:11.74, a new meet record. The level of domination that the USA men have shown in the 2 relays so far is just silly. They beat the times of the much-heralded Russian and French relays from the European Championships easily. All of this with an out of shape Phelps. This makes 5 gold medals and 5 world-best times in 5 finals for Ryan Lochte. What a performance.
In case you were wondering, the Australians were second in 3:14.30, and the South Africans won the bronze in 3:15.93. The South Africans were an obvious pick for the bronze, but they were a surprise entry as the relay didn’t appear on any psych sheets. The Brazilians were also a surprise in that they scratched the race.
Brent Hayden almost matched Phelps’ great leadoff leg in 48.18, which lowers his third-best-in-the-world time from the individual 100 free yesterday.