The European All-Stars enter day 2 of the 2013 Duel in the Pool with a 14-point lead over the Americans, with an edge of 68-54 at the halfway mark of the meet.
The United States will have a hole to dig out of, and that task becomes even stiffer with the release of the start lists, which see no Katie Ledecky in the 800 free. After the Europeans took the top four positions in the 400 free, Ledecky, the 800 free World Record holder in long course, reported herself as sick. On this second day, she will swim just the 200 free and the 200 fly instead, which means the Europeans will likely extend their lead to start the night.
The most explosive battle of the night should come in the men’s 200 fly; there, the American Record holder Tom Shields plus the two World Championship representatives Tom Luchsinger and Tyler Clary will represent Team USA, while Team Europe puts up a stacked quartet of Roberto Pavoni, Bence Biczo, Velimir Stjepanovic, and David Verraszto.
As a reminder, the full start lists, results, and scoreboard can be seen here.
The Duel can be seen live in Sky Sports 2 in the UK, while no stream is available in the United States.
Full meet coverage can be seen here.
Day 1 recap available here.
Refresh often, as we’ll update the page as the meet happens.
Women’s 800 Free
The Europeans ran away with the scoring in the women’s 800 freestyle, as from very early on, this race was clearly going to be one between Denmark’s Lotte Friis and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte for the title.
Friis went out hard in the race, as she likes to do, but the tough Spaniard Belmonte plugged away, and by about halfway through the race, she took command. Belmonte would go on to win in 8:07,90, with Friis taking 2nd in 8:10.40 and Carlin touching 3rd in 8:12.01.
The top-finishing American, Chloe Sutton, was well back in 8:24.86, and NBAC youngster Gillian Ryan placed 5th in 8:27.05.
With a clean sweep of the points, the Europeans now move ahead 77-54, with the target of 132 to seal victory closer on the horizon.
Men’s 800 Free
The Americans began to fight back ever-so-slightly in the men’s 800 free, where Michael McBroom swam a 7:33.99 to break the American Record held be fellow Texas-ex Michael Klueh. Klueh’s old record of 7:39.90 was set at the last edition of this meet, and McBroom slashed it by almost 6 seconds.
Pal Joensen stemmed the tide a bit with a 7:39.69 for 2nd place, and the former AR holder Klueh (7:41.96) overcame Yannick Agnel (7:42.07) at the end of the race for 3rd. Results at this meet have shown that Agnel, once a very good middle-to-distance swimmer, is now much more heavily a 100/200 freestyler.
The Americans took the event 6-3, which made the score 80-60 with 14 events to go.
Women’s 200 Free
That which the Americans made up in the men’s 800 free, the Europeans snatched right back in the women’s 200 free. Michelle Coleman, who was spectacular, and perhaps a bit surprising, to win the 100 free on Friday, has now added the 200 free title to her resume with a 1:53.63. That’s just off of her lifetime best, as the 20-year old Coleman is developing into a bona fide second relay star for the Swedes to match with Sarah Sjostrom in Rio.
The decision to scratch Ledecky from the 800 and swim her in the 200 may have been a fortuitous one for the American coaching staff after a few head-scratchers on day 1. The ailing Ledecky had more energy to compete in this 200, and took 2nd place in 1:53.83, with the Netherlands’ Femke Heemskerk taking 3rd in 1:54.45.
The Europeans stretched their lead to 86-63 after this race, with 13 races (11 individual + 2 relays) left to go.
Men’s 200 Free
If the Americans don’t go on to win this meet, it won’t be for lack of performance from Conor Dwyer. Dwyer picked up his 2nd win of the meet with a 1:41.68 in the men’s 200 free, which is six-tenths shy of Ryan Lochte’s American Record.
Yannick Agnel held with Dwyer for a moment, but ultimately ran out of gas as he finished 1000 meters in a matter of 15 minutes. That left American Tyler Clary to take 2nd in 1:43.84, followed by Robbie Renwick (1:44.44) and Brit James Guy (1:45.19). Agnel slid all the way to 5th in 1:45.55, as it’s maybe a bit peculiar that two of the top three finishing Europeans swam in the 800 free just before this race.
That event was the big-bite that the Americans needed to have some momentum going forward. After this race, the gap closed to 87-71 with 12 races left to go.
Women’s 100 Backstroke
For only the second time in this meet, the Americans have earned back-to-back victories, thanks to young Georgia freshman Olivia Smoliga in the women’s 100 backstroke. She swam a 57.06 to take the race.
That win was made all-the-more-impressive by the fact that she topped two swimmers who have been racing very, very well: Simona Baumrtova of the Czech Republic in 57.11, and Daryna Zevina of the Ukraine in 57.16. That tenth-of-a-second made this race from being a “game over” for the Europeans to a “still have life” for the Americans.
Britain’s Lauren Quigley was 4th in 57.66, followed by Americans Kendyl Stewart (58.33) and Kathleen Baker (58.62). With three teenagers on the roster, the Americans will be satisfied to walk away from the event with a +1 in the scoring column.
With now 11 races left, the Europeans lead ticks down a single point to 91-76.
Men’s 100 Backstroke
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a battle coming down the home stretch. There was a battle in the race for event-win prize money, which American Eugene Godsoe took over his fellow Bay-Area American Tom Shields by margin of 50.08-50.18; but ultimately this is a team meet, so the American 1-2 is the best result they could have hoped for.
Britain’s Chris Walker-Hebborn, who didn’t swim the 200 on Friday, was a 50.55 for 3rd, but that outcome cut the European lead roughly in half. Now with just 10 races to go, the Europeans lead 92-84, with the breaststroke races, holding a huge potential for a big point swing, on deck.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke
Jessica Hardy hasn’t swum a race since the World Championships. She picked the right moment, though, to make her new-season debut, as she came away with a big win for the Americans in the women’s 100 breaststroke with a 1:04.65.
In what became a tight battle from wire-to-wire, Hardy really kicked big off of the final wall to gain some separation. Her American teammate Micah Lawrence, not typically a short course swimmer or a sprint breaststroker, showed some new talents with a 1:05.27 for 2nd, and Britain’s Sophie Allen took 3rd in 1:05.39.
After that, the dominoes fell closely in line. Petra Chocova was 4th in 1:05.61, Breeja Larson was 4th in 1:05.66, and Moniek Nijhuis was 6th in 1:05.71.
With the 8-1 event victory, the Americans dug the score to just a single point, 93-92, with the men’s breaststroke coming up, where the Europeans dominated in the 200 on Friday.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
For the second time in as many days, American Kevin Cordes has broken an American Record. He swam a 56.88 in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke, which improves upon the 57.18 done by Mike Alexandrov at the 2010 World Championships.
This record tied the meet after event 22, at 97-97, as this record won the race, beating Marco Koch (57.05), Damir Dugonjic (57.08), and Michael Jamieson (57.52) from Europe. That 1-point edge was what the Americans needed to pull even.
Nic Fink, the Americans’ other World Champs representative in this race, took 5th in 58.29, followed by Andrew Willis (58.77), and American Cody MIller (59.15).
Women’s 200 Fly
This women’s 200 fly was an incredible race, and though nobody was lightning-fast on their times, it was truthfully one of the better women’s 200 fly races we’ve seen at any meet as of late. American Cammile Adams went out with the lead at 100 meters, which is a good sign for her as she’s known in the United States as a great closer, especially in short course.
However, in Europe, there’s another swimmer known for being tough-as-nails on the back half of her 200 fly, and that swimmer is Spain’s Mireia Belmonte.
By the 150 meter mark, Belmonte had closed the race to a veritable dead-heat, and in the last 50, she was able to inch away from the American. Belmonte’s winning time would go down in a 2:03.31, with Adams taking 2nd in 2:04.61 and Franziska Hentke placing 3rd in 2:05.83.
Those three were well ahead of the rest of the field, and the scoring edge went to the Europeans by three, which gave them a three-point lead in the meet as well. 103-100 was the difference with now just 7 events remaining.
Men’s 200 Fly
Though Velimir Stjepanovic from Serbia briefly held the lead in this race, at the wall this one was all Tom Shields. Using experience gained by a big FINA World Cup schedule this fall, Shields won the men’s 200 fly running away in 1:50.61, which broke his own American Record of 1:51.31 by six-tenths of a second.
Stjepanovic took 2nd in 1:52.06, though, which was crucial for the Europeans as it allowed them to maintain their lead in the overall meet. Roberto Pavoni from the hosts Great Britain took 3rd in 1:52.87, and Bence Biczo was 4th in 1:53.16.
This left the Europeans’ margin at 107-105 headed into the 50 freestyles.
Women’s 50 Free
Even without Ranomi Kromowidjojo, the Europeans had no issues winning the lion’s share of the points in the women’s 50 free. There, spurred on once again by a raucous home crowd, Britain’s Fran Halsall won in 23.93, with Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen taking 2nd in 24.02. They were the only two European entries, and therefore scored as many points as the entries would allow them.
The young Americans, however, swam exceedingly well in this race, with Simone Manuel taking 3rd in 24.40 and Olivia Smoliga taking 4th in 24.41.
That one point, which likely would have been a European sweep with Kromowidjojo, could loom large, though. Even though this race pushed the lead to 115-106 for Europe, the Americans have a huge advantage in the 50 free and are looking at a possible sweep.
Men’s 50 Free
The American men, who have far outscored their female counterparts, once again pulled the United States back to a dead-even tie with a 1-2-3 sweep in the men’s 50 free.
The internal battle was a great one, with Jimmy Feigen winning in 21.20 and the two veterans Anthony Ervin and Cullen Jones tying for 2nd in 21.27. 4th went to Britain’s Adam Brown, who is back training in the United States, in 21.40, with Ben Proud (21.84) and Shane Ryan (22.14) rounding out the field.
The score was knotted at 115-115 after this race, with just the 200 IM’s and the 400 free relays left to be swum.
Women’s 200 IM
With the team battle teetering on the brink, the British women stepped up big in the women’s 200 IM. All three European entries hailed from the host nation in this event, and they took three out of the top four spots as well.
Sophie Allen won in 2:05.90, followed by American Caitlin Leverenz (2:06.77). Scotland’s own Hannah Miley (2:08.55), and Aimee WIllmott in 2:08.60.
Only the top three score, however, which meant a 6-3 event edge for Team Europe, and a three-point lead headed into the men’s 200 IM: the final individual event. The Europeans need to emerge from that 200 IM with a lead, as they seem to have no shot at the men’s 400 free relay.
Men’s 200 IM
Conor ‘Clutch’ Dwyer was huge, once again, for the Americans in the men’s 200 IM, with a 1:53.51 to win, in what on paper seemed to be the Americans’ last-ditch effort to tie this meet going into the relays and hope to bring things to a tie-breaker.
He beat out Roberto Pavoni (1:54.20), who was also on his second swim of the session, for the event win.
Then it came down to the 3rd-place position. With a relay split looking like a high probability, the Americans needed that single point from 3rd to eke out a tie, and hope for the 200 mixed relay tie-breaker at the end as a last-chance to keep their perfect Duel in the Pool streak alive.
Georgia sophomore Chase Kalisz, who is swimming pretty well at this meet, came through with his patented back-half and got that point, taking 3rd place in 1:54.26. Germany’s Marco Koch was 4th in 1:54.61, and Tyler Clary took 5th in 1:55.59.
That left the score tied 124-124 headed into the free relays.
Women’s 400 Free Relay
In a result that matched the anticipated conclusion, the European All-Stars swam a 3:27.70, which was faster than the World Record, but won’t count as per FINA rules all swimmers must be from the same country. The team included Michelle Coleman, Jeanette Ottesen-Gray, Fran Halsall, and Femke Heemskerk, and they beat the Americans’ 3:28.96 (Shannon Vreeland, Simone Manuel, Olivia Smoliga, and Megan Romano). That’s an entirely new foursome from the group that set the American Record in 2011 at this meet, but they still came within half-a-second of breaking it again.
Note: even if multi-country World Records counted, the Europeans were faster in 2011 with a 3:27.53.
The relays are winner-takes all, which means that the Europeans led after this race by 7 points, however, with the Americans having dominated the sprint freestyle results, this one still seemed headed for a tie breaker.
Men’s 400 Free Relay
The European men perhaps made this race a better battle than many expected, but on the anchor leg, Cullen Jones was able to pull away from the middle-distance based Robbie Renwick as Team USA won in 3:06.66. The Europeans took 2nd in 3:07.95, which meant a tie meet, and a 200 mixed medley relay swim-off for the title. On the line is a huge cash prize to be divided among the team, and a perfect streak in the new millennium for Americans in these Duel in the Pool type meets.
Mixed 200 Medley Relay
A tie-breaker that we never even knew existed, as no other Duel in the Pool has come even close to this tight of a meet, the Americans put up Eugene Godsoe, Kevin Cordes, Claire Donahue, and Simone Manuel against Chris Walker-Hebborn, Damir Dugonjic, Jeanette Ottesen, and Fran Halsall.
With both squads opting to put their two men first and their two women at the end, there was no obvious advantage. On paper, Godsoe had an edge on Hebborn, Cordes had a slight edge on Dugonjic, and Ottesen and Halsall at the end both had an edge on their American counterparts.
This meet couldn’t have asked for a more ideal ending, with two well-matched relays, and everything on the line.
It was a close race throughout, but at the wall, the Americans touched in a new World Record of 1:37.17, with the Europeans taking 2nd in 1:37.37. That kept the Americans’ streak alive, and won the 2013 Duel in the Pool for Team USA.