Note: This recap was originally done live as the events happened.
Day 3 of the 2013 Santa Clara Grand Prix featured a solid prelims session that set up many great battles for finals. Chief among them is Ryan Lochte versus Chase Kalisz versus Conor Dwyer in the men’s 400 IM, where we’ll get to see how much Lochte has to give at this meet a month out from Worlds Trials where he’s been swimming so well.
It will also feature Missy Franklin versus Allison Schmitt in the 200 free, Nathan Adrian versus Anthony Ervin versus Cesar Cielo versus Cullen Jones in the men’s 50 free, and Dwyer gunning for another personal best in the 400 IM to go with the one he swam in the 200 free this morning (he scratched finals of that race.)
The session will also feature the NCAA Champ Drew Teduits against the last Olympic and World Champions, Tyler Clary and Ryan Lochte, respectively.
Women’s 400 IM Finals
Caitlin Leverenz didn’t have the best NCAA Championship meet of her career in 2013, but she looks in fantastic form in long course so far this summer. She picked up a win in the women’s 400 IM in 4:40.05, which makes her the second-fastest American in the event this year (just behind Maya DiRado, who is at this meet but didn’t swim this race.)
Leverenz was actually dead-even with the defending Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Beisel headed into the breaststroke leg, which is a dangerous position for anybody to be in. Andie Taylor from Stanford, however, led them all at the halfway mark, but her breaststroke leg continues to be a challenge. She still swam very well to take 2nd in 4:42.32 – four seconds better than at this same meet last year. Taylor is seeing a resurgence in her career this season at 21 years old. That’s just a tenth off of her lifetime best that was done three years ago.
Though she looks very good, Leverenz’s times are still behind where they were in 2012 – three seconds as compared to this Grand Prix meet that she also won last year.
Beisel took 3rd in 4:46.60; unlike her training partners Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer, Beisel is racing in a training suit not a performance suit, and she did manage to take a few tenths off of her top seed from prelims.
Future Cal Bear Celina Li took 4th in 4:46.66, followed by Canadian Marni Oldershaw (4:48.42) and Annie Zhu (4:48.53).
16-year old Sonia Wang from the Redlands Swim Team won the B-Final in 4:51.11, which is the 5th-best time by an American 16-year old this year.
Men’s 400 IM Finals
Ryan Lochte built a huge lead going into the breaststroke leg of the 400 IM, but 19-year old Chase Kalisz showed why so many people are high on him. Kalisz closed about a 20-meter lead into a bang-bang, at the finish lead in the last 200 meters of this race, but he came up about a stroke short. Lochte won in 4:11.36, which is the 4th-best time in the world, and Kalisz was 2nd in 4:11.85, which puts him 6th.
Kalisz has now gone the three best times of his career since last year’s Olympic Trials, and this one was tops by a full second. Expect him to be right around a 4:10-high or a 4:11-low if trends hold up from last year, where he was great a month out of Trials but only dropped a little bit at the meet.
He made up much of that ground on the breaststroke, where he split 1:09.97. Only one swimmer in last year’s Olympic final (silver medalist Thiago Pereira from Brazil) split under 1:10 on the breaststroke leg.
But don’t overlook an impressive performance from Lochte. He was in obvious pain at the end of this race, but it was a great result, and broke the Meet Record set by Michael Phelps back in 2006 by .04 seconds. The silver lining for him is that at the World Championships, it comes on the meet’s last day, as compared to the Olympics where it’s day 1. Last year, having this race early seemed to take a lot out of his other races.
Those two were the race, but Conor Dwyer continues to have one of the best meets of his life, touching in 3rd with a 4:15.39 – a lifetime best for him as well. Remember that Dwyer and Kalisz have been training together in Colorado Springs for the last few weeks.
Canadian Alec Page was 4th in 4:20.02, followed by a pair of Cal 19-year olds Josh Prenot (4:23.81) and Adam Hinshaw (4:24.48)
Scottish swimmer Dan Wallace, who was 3rd in the 400 IM for Florida at the NCAA Championships, won the B-Final in 4:18.79, which is a lifetime best for him. He’s got a phenomenal opportunity after that time to make the British World Championship Team this year.
Women’s 200 Free Finals
This women’s 200 free took a calculated pace going out; with a clear 5+ swimmer race shaping up, a lot of swimmers tactically saved their energy for the back half (as demonstrated in splits that saw about a 1.5 second spread for most of the top group for the 100’s).
Typically, that sort of a race isn’t what the Olympic Champion Allison Schmitt likes: she prefers to push the pace early. As she, Missy Franklin, and Elizabeth Pelton broke away to form their own little lead pack at the front, however, Schmitt was right there all the way to the touch.
The win, however, went to Franklin in 1:58.26 to Schmitt’s 1:58.29 and Pelton’s 1:58.52.
Franklin won this race on top of the water, as Schmitt got much more out of her last stroke going into the turns than her younger counterpart.
Chelsea Chenault was 4th in 1:59.41, and Australian Brittany Elmslie was 5th in 1:59.86. That’s four teenagers in the top five.
Maya DiRado was 6th in 2:00.30; that’s the second-best time of her career, so stepping out of the 400 IM at this meet paid off with a good result. Olympian in the 800 free relay Shannon Vreeland was 7th in 2:01.50, followed by her Georgia teammate Megan Romano (2:02.77) and Sarah Denninghoff (2:03.09.)
Andi Murez, another Stanford swimmer having a strong meet, won the B-Final in 2:00.90.
Men’s 200 Free Finals
Will Connor Jaeger ever lose a freestyle race again? Most certainly. But man, is he on a roll. In his last three meets (NCAA’s, Charlotte, and here), he has only lost two individual races, and both were in this 200 free.
He’s gotten that monkey off of his back here in Santa Clara, winning in 1:49.14. That’s his third best time in three swims at this meet.
(The asterisk here is that Conor Dwyer, who was the top seed in prelims in 1:47.0, scratched finals.)
This final came about eight wide headed into the wall, and Australian Bobby Hurley took 2nd in 1:49.21. Hurley has been racing a lot this year, and is training with Tucson Ford, and Michael Klueh had his best swim of the meet with a 1:49.48 for 3rd.
In total, including Klueh and Jaeger, there were five swimmers in this final representing the University-of-Michigan-based Club Wolverine. That included 4th-place finisher Anders Nielsen (1:49.74), Michael Wynalda, and Justin Glanda.
Stanford sophomore-to-be Tom Kremer, who represents Israel internationally, was 5th in 1:49.83.
Women’s 200 Back Finals
The slower pace in the women’s 200 free seems to have paid off for Missy Franklin in the 200 backstroke, as she looked fresh on back-to-back races winning pretty easily in 2:08.24. She was out in 1:02.8, and came home in 1:05.4. Time-wise, that’s her best performance of the meet so far, and it came on the second half of a double. That shows just how far out ahead of the rest of the world she is in the 200 back.
Meanwhile, in a battle for 2nd, Kendyl Stewart got all of the lead she needed in the first 100 meters, and held of Canadian Hilary Caldwell for 2nd in 2:10.72. Caldwell was 2:11.92 for 3rd, and Short Course World Championship silver-medalist Bonnie Brandon was 4th in 2:12.90.
Australia’s Emily Seebohm was a jump back in 5th with a 2:14.77 – about a second slower than she was in the morning.
Mexican Maria Gonzalez-Ramirez won the B-Final in 2:12.84 as the newest member of the international Gator Swim Club training group, and Australian Mikkayla Sheridan was 11th overall in 2:13.80.
Men’s 200 Back Finals
Just like they did at the London Olympics, Ryan Lochte and Tyler Clary went into the final turn neck-and-neck, with Lochte holding a tiny lead.
This time, though, Lochte was able to hold off the gold medalist and win in 1:57.51, which is two full seconds faster than he’s been this year. Clary took 2nd in 1:58.02, and the Arkady Vyatchanin was 3rd in 1:58.46.
Lochte was on his 2nd race of the night, and though he closed pretty well, the pain showed even greater than after the 400 IM. After feeling so much speed, but also so much pain, at this meet, it will be interesting to watch what Lochte decides to do with his schedule in the jam-packed 5 day World Championship Trials at the end of this month.
Drew TeDuits from Wisconsin, who was the top seed coming out of prelims, finished 4th in 1:58.84, which was his second best time in the event in the same day.
Cal’s Jacob Pebley was 1:59.33, and New Zealander/Florida Gator Corey Main took 6th in 1:59.86. Main is having a very strong meet, like much of the Florida crew.
Women’s 50 Free Finals
Natalie Coughlin may have changed her specialty to the sprint freestyles this year, but she isn’t going to stop being Natalie Coughlin. She pushed her underwater right onto the 50 meter mark, the only swimmer who came even close, and though Jessica Hardy and Christine Magnuson made up some ground above the water, Coughlin still won in 25.06.
Hardy was 2nd in 25.24, and Magnuson took 3rd in 25.28. Hardy was a bit faster in Charlotte, but for Magnuson that’s her best time of the year so far.
4th place went to the lone international A-finalist Canadian Chantal van Landeghem in 25.46, with her Georgia teammate Megan Romano placing 5th in 25.49.
Madison Kennedy (25.54), Margo Geer (25.68), and Ivy Martin (25.76) were all faster in finals than they were in prelims, and they finished 6th-8th in that order.
Men’s 50 Free Finals
This finish looked closer than it was, as American Nathan Adrian was right on his season best with a 21.76 to win this 50 free. Brazilian World Record holder Cesar Cielo was 2nd in 22.04, and Anthony Ervin was 3rd in 22.07.
Cielo, who has the most-watched knee in swimming right now, looked a little better off the start than he did at the Arizona Invitational last weekend, though he was still clearly nowhere near where Adrian was. The outcome was about the same for the Brazilian who had knee surgery in the fall.
Olympic silver medalist Cullen Jones took 4th in 22.41, and Tyler McGill was 5th in 22.64. McGill is focused wholly on the 100 fly this summer, but could be a darkhorse if he decides to swim this 50 free at Worlds Trials.
Of note, Matt Grevers swam a 23.91 in the B-Final butterfly. By comparison, Cielo, the defending World Champion was a 23.5 split in his 100 fly in prelims on Friday (before warming down the second 50 meters in freestyle.)
There were a few notable time trials results in between sessions, especially in 50 meter races as everyone prepares for the expanded World Championship event schedule. Ana Carillo Avilez just missed a Mexican National Record in the 50 breaststroke with a 32.88 in the women’s race.
Greece’s Kristel Vourna was a 26.62 in the women’s 50 fly, to miss her own National Record by a tenth of a second; Mexico’s Rita Medrano was just off of a record as well in that race with a 27.73.
And finally, Switzerland’s Nico van Duijn was a 53.51 in the 100 fly, which is about half-a-second from his lifetime best (and the fastest he’s been this season.)