Day 2 of the 2013 World Championship Trials in prelims will have some fairly monumental scratches; as our Kelsey Zimcosky wrote last night, Ryan Lochte and Dana Vollmer both have scratched the 50 fly and Maya DiRado has scratched the 200 backstroke.
The biggest run-through storyline of the day will be doubles. Specifically, the 200 free and the 200 backstroke, where there’s a handful of men and women with an opportunity to qualify for Barcelona in both (Liz Pelton, Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte).
Women’s 200 Free – PRELIMS
Another stunner in a women’s freestyle preliminary heat, as the defending Olympic champion and American Record holder Allison Schmitt was only 10th in the preliminary session of the 200 free, and thus will miss another opportunity to qualify for this summer’s World Championship Team with a 1:59.78.
The Georgia/NBAC trainee started off her race very well, having the third-fastest split through 150 meters of the entire field. On the final 50, though, she was able to muster only a 31.69 and was overrun by a pair of swimmers in her own, final heat.
Schmitt’s last realistic chance at making the team for Barcelona will be in the 400 where she’s the defending Olympic Champion. That too will be tough, however, with Chloe Sutton looking so good in the 800 (though only a 2:01.12 here), Ledecky looking very strong (though not her absolute best meet), and Schmitt’s NBAC teammate 17-year old Gillian Ryan having an outstanding meet too. Ryan was 9th in this 200 in 1:59.76 with an impressive sub-30 closing 50 meters.
The top seed in this 200 went to Missy Franklin in 1:57.60; she’s trying to double up on her victory in the 100 from Tuesday, though with nobody else really going after her in this race, perhaps she’ll try and save something for the 200 back in finals (though, not likely).
Georgia’s Shannon Vreeland, who is swimming out-of-her-mind at this meet, is the 2nd seed in 1:58.45, and Katie Ledecky was 3rd in 1:58.53. Ledecky will have to be out faster than her 58.14 if she wants an individual spot in this 200 free, though, she looks to be in very good position for a relay swim.
Texas post-grad Karlee Bispo is the 4th seed in 1:59.30, followed by another Georgia swimmer (go figure) Jordan Mattern in 1:59.35.
A Texas pre-grad, 16-year old Longhorn Aquatics swimmer Quinn Carrozza, sits 6th in 1:59.47, fulfilling the promise of a breakout 200 free a month ago at a Texas Senior Circuit meet.
Maya DiRado, who put all of her Tuesday eggs in one basket after already (likely) qualifying for the team in the 200 fly, is 7th in 1:59.53. A top-4 or 5 finish for her, and a probable relay swim, would validate her decision to drop the 200 back, which is one of her better events.
And rounding out the A-Final, Chelsea Chenault from the Terrapins Swim Team was the 8th finalist in 1:59.75, following-up on her final from last year’s Olympic Trials.
Altogether, 11 swimmers were under two minutes in the 200 free, including First Colony 16-year old Simone Manuel in 1:59.83 – her best time by half-a-second. Leah Smith (2:00.17 – 13th) and Liz Pelton (2:00.70 – 16th) both fell to the B Final, and Megan Romano (2:00.73) slipped all the way to 17th, despite a lofty seed and a good swim in the 100 free. Pelton and Romano are both in the 200 back, so this could work to their advantage in finals.
Men’s 200 Free – PRELIMS
Conor Dwyer is blossoming into one of the primary leaders of the U.S. men’s team after a few months now training with the great Bob Bowman and the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, and he showed that by taking a big top-seed in the men’s 200 free prelims with a 1:46.85. That just misses his lifetime best in the race, and he’s clearly planning to go out much faster in this race than he used to (his 51.55 is six-tenths better than he went out in his personal best swim from finals at last year’s Trials). Bowman’s other famous 200 freestylers, Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt, both like going out pretty fast as well.
IX3’s Charlie Houchin (trained at Bolles) rode the momentum from a great 100 free on Tuesday with a 1:47.55 for the 2nd seed here. He and Virginia’s Matt McLean were both about a second off of their lifetime bests, but have the inside track for that second individual spot.
Connor Jaeger, who about a month ago really showed that he was able to come down to this 200 distance, is the 4th seed in 1:48.02 – his lifetime best by a full second. He’ll have trouble holding on to that position, though, with America’s best Ryan Lochte lurking behind in 1:48.04. Lochte didn’t really turn this swim on until the last 50 meters, and with a big schedule this week that was a smart play, but expect him to be at least a 1:46-high in finals.
Two more Michigan/Club Wolverine guys will be in this final; Michael Wynalda was the 6th seed in 1:48.09, and Michael Klueh, who dropped the 1500 from his schedule this year after training with Mike Bottom for the first time, is 7th in 1:48.20.
Ricky Berens, a rock of the American 800 free relay and the second individual representative in this event in London, is the 8th seed in 1:48.44. With Wynalda and Jaeger taking the spot of the two absentees from the meet (Phelps and Davis Tarwater), the other 6 swimmers were the same as last year’s Olympic Trials.
At the top of the B-Final, there were a whole lot of really significant best times. Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss was 9th in 1:48.80; Stanford’s David Nolan was 10th in 1:48.87, which is his lifetime best by a full second. Nolan opted for a very pared-down schedule at this meet, and will finish with his best event, the 200 IM. After outstanding 100 and 200 freestyle swims, he could break out a huge 200 IM: something fans have been waiting for since he was a senior in high school.
Another Michigan guy, Justin Glanda, had a lifetime best, as did Texas swimmers Austin Surhoff and Michael McBroom. Their teammate Dax Hill raced out to an early 52.8 split, as he likes to go out fast in big meets, but couldn’t hold on into the final 50 and wound up 16th.
Women’s 200 Breast – PRELIMS
A familiar battle mid-pool in the women’s 200 breaststroke, as Breeja Larson from Texas A&M and Laura Sogar from the Bluefish Swim Club will take the top two seeds into the final in 2:24.80 and 2:26.00, respectively.
The pair represent the American Record holder (Larson) and defending NCAA Champion (Sogar) in yards, and both have serious momentum coming into the meet. Larson looks like she’s made her 200 long course breakthrough; that prelims swim is already her lifetime best by over two seconds. She still need to push forward in finals, though, as there’s a lot of very good swimmers behind her.
Katy Freeman, who entered the race with the fastest personal best of the field, was 3rd in 2:27.19. She was a late entry into this meet, but is really having by far the best season since the polyurethane suits went away.
Overall, this is not a race in which the Americans have been terribly impressive this year, and that trend continued somewhat into this prelims session. Micah Lawrence, the Olympian in the race from 2012, was a 2:27.29 for the 4th seed – four seconds off of her best. At the Olympic Trials, she was consistently fast – taking the 2nd spot in each of the three rounds.
Georgia/North Baltimore swimmer Annie Zhu is the 5th seed in 2:27.93, before a big gap down to another former NCAA Champion Caitlin Leverenz in 6th in 2:29.08.
Tennessee’s Molly Hannis, whose best shot is in the 100, had a great confidence-building lifetime best of 2:29.16. After a breakout college season, best times at this meet were almost a given. USC’s Andrea Kropp is 8th in 2:29.18.
Annie Lazor, who is trasnferring from Ohio State to Auburn next season, will be the top seed in the B-Final with a 2:30.13. The highest-placeing high schooler in prelims is Bethany Leap from the Sarasota YMCA, best known for their distance swimmers, who was 15th in 2:31.69. 15-year old Allie Szekely, who’s a National Age Group Record holder but has hardly raced this year, was 18th in the morning in 2:33.34, and will swim in either the B or C final, depending on scratches.
Men’s 200 Breaststroke – PRELIMS
So, our first shot of Kevin Cordes with a little bit of rest (but surely no full taper) didn’t hit some of the lofty expectations that have been thrown around. Still, his 2:09.16 was the top seed in prelims of the men’s 200 breaststroke by a full second, taking his race out hard in 1:01.96 before what appeared to be shutting things down a bit coming home.
That’s not the 2:06, 2:05, or even 2:04 World Record we’ve heard thrown around, but consider that last year, he didn’t even final at the Olympic Trials. Consider this progress made, and there was no reason for him to show his hand early in this race.
Meanwhile, anybody who wants to unseat him will have to be out a bit harder early in finals. The only other guy to open in better than 1:03 was the defending Olympian in the event Clark Burckle, who went 1:02.8-1:09.7 for a 2:12.57 overall and a 5th seed. Burckle trains with Cordes in Tucson, and so has had a front-row seat to the explosion, but don’t forget that Burckle has, in fact, been faster than Cordes’ prelims swim.
The biggest move in the morning belongs to Georgia’s Nic Fink, who took the 2nd seed in 2:10.12. He’s the 2012 SEC Champion in this race, but hadn’t been quite as impressive until now in long course. That time for him is a 3.7 second lifetime best.
The times drop off even further after him, with BJ Johnson from Stanford taking the 3rd seed in 2:11.85, followed by Cal sophomore Josh Prenot in 2:12.21. Burckle was 5th, and Indiana’s Cody Miller sits 6th.
Florida’s Matthew Elliott, representing his hometown Peoria and their Water Wizards, is 7th in 2:13.91, and Mike Alexandrov is 8th in 2:13.95.
The top seed in the B-Final, barring scratches, will be North Baltimore/Georgia’s Chase Kalisz in 2:14.06. His best chance at Worlds qualification is still in the IM’s, but his early returns in the 200 breast and 200 fly from Tuesday is lifetime bests. That’s a great sign, considering that he missed his taper at the Olympic Trials last year.
Another Arizona guy, Carl Mickelson, is 10th in 2:14.45, and another defending champion was knocked out when Scott Weltz was 6 seconds from his lifetime best in 2:15.19 for 12th place.
Women’s 200 back – PRELIMS
Colorado Stars teenager Missy Franklin has one advantage in her 200 free/200 back double over all of the other swimmers who will try it: she is smooth and seems to make it look easy. Franklin looked like she saved a lot of energy en route to a 2:06.33 top seed in the women’s 200 backstroke, which is easily the fastest time in the world this year.
That swim is faster than she was through either of the first two rounds of last year’s Olympic trials, as Franklin shows that she’s gotten really, really good at playing the prelims-finals game (perhaps learned by her near-unanimous participation on the Grand Prix circuit).
She was out in this race in 1:01.43, and kept on the gas until the last 50, where she let off ever so slightly.
The battle for 2nd, as expected, looks like it will come down to Elizabeth Beisel from Florida and Elizabeth Pelton from Cal, who were 2:08.44 and 2:09.10, respectively, in prelims. Beisel scratched the heats of the 200 free, but Pelton swam them (though not very well). Expect Pelton to drop the B Final of the 200 free tonight, meaning she and Beisel should be on a more equal playing field coming into this 200 backstroke final. Equal enough to make up 7-tenths? Time will tell.
USC’s Kendyl Stewart sits 4th in 2:10.22, followed by SwimMAC’s versatile 16-year old Kathleen Baker in 2:10.23.
Kylie Stewart (no relation) from the Dynamo Swim Club is 6th in 2:11.46, and the A-Final will be completed with Clara Smiddy from the AquaKids sharks and Bonnie Brandon from Arizona. Brandon was the World Short Course silver medalist in this race in 2012.
Sarah Denninghoff (2:12.54) and Melanie Klaren (2:12.94) both had lifetime bests to be 9th and 10th. 15-year old Kaitlin Harty from Greenwood Memorial, who came from out of nowhere to win the 200 back at the Charlotte Grand Prix, couldn’t quite hold that speed, but got was solid with a 2:13.35 for 11th.
Note that Megan Romano was a DFS for this 200 backstroke.
Men’s 200 Back – PRELIMS
Tyler Clary, the Olympic Champion, will be looking for a double tonight to help some of his countrymates (and possibly even teammates as relay alternates – Michael Wynalda) make the World Championship team after already qualifying for the 200 fly on Tuesday night. He takes the top seed in the 200 back into the final in 1:57.00.
He’ll be followed by a young trio that over the last half-decade have traded the title of “best young backstroker” in the country and several National Age Group Records: Jack Conger from Machine Aquatics (and headed to Texas next year) in 1:57.51, Ryan Murphy from Bolles (and headed to Cal next year) in 1:57.55, and Jacob Pebley from Cal in 1:57.97.
All three of those young swimmers had previously been 1:57’s in their careers, but now they’ll have to see which one can step up, because with the names lurking, it’s likely to take a 1:56 to qualify in finals.
Among those behind them are Drew teDuits, the NCAA Champion from Wisconsin, in 1:58.38. He, like the three ahead of him, is a teenager, though he’s a much later bloomer. That’s another lifetime best for him, bu half-a-second.
Six out of the eight finalists in this race will be teenagers, as Sarasota’s Alex Katz is 7th in 1:58.95, and Tennessee sophomore Sean Lehane (from the same town in Illinois as Kevin Cordes) is 8th in 1:59.58.
The other two, though, are the gold and bronze medalists from last year’s Olympics: Clary, and the great Ryan Lochte, who is the 6th seed in 1:58.73, pushing 15 meters the whole way. That’s not a good time for Lochte, but he’s playing this meet smart. With thinner lineups, he seems to be holding back a lot in prelims and waiting to push himself in finals. That was evidenced in the 100 free on Tuesday, and at least in prelims Wednesday seems to be playing out similarly.
Women’s 50 Fly – PRELIMS
The women’s 50 fly prelims busted way open when Dana Vollmer scratched the race, and three swimmers were able to separate themselves in prelims: 18-year old USC Trojan Kendyl Stewart (26.26), 2013 Olympian Claire Donahue (26.31), and 2008 Olympian Christine Magnuson (26.32), who are the top three seeds.
No official National Age Group Records are kept for 17-18’s in the 50 fly, but back to 2001 (as old as the USA Swimming database is reliable), Stewart’s is the best time by four-tenths of a second, meaning she probably, but not officially, would have that record.
She was torched off the blocks by Donahue and Magnuson (gave up over a tenth to both). Stewart hasn’t ever been a great starter, but she can be a bit quicker than she was in this prelim.
Felicia Lee sits 4th in 26.94, tied with NCAA 100 fly champion Olivia Scott. Janet Hu from NCAP, who will be a high school senior next year, is 6th in 26.98, and the A-Final is capped off by Cal’s Cindy Tran (27.06) and Florida’s Natalie Hinds (27.08).
Rachel Bootsma slipped out of the A-Final to 9th in 27.12, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell (the old fastest 18-year old) is 10th in 27.30, and Tennessee’s Kelsey Floyd will swim her second B-Final with a 27.36.
Also notable, 13-year old Cassidy Bayer is in the B-Final with a 27.62.
Men’s 50 Fly – PRELIMS
This is another wide-open race for finals, but the top seed coming out of prelims goes to Tucson Ford’s Matt Grevers (23.47), who only qualified for this meet at the last-minute two weeks ago.
Behind him are the two more true butterfliers, Tim Phillips from Ohio State (who has a ton of pure speed) and Tyler McGill, who is an Auburn post-grad.
Cullen Jones, who swam this race at Worlds in 2011, is the 4th seed in 23.86, and the field is rounded out by a top 6 who all have the speed to jump up and win. That includes Eugene Godsoe (23.92), Giles Smith (23.99).
The other two A-finalists are Queens University bound swimmer Matthew Josa (24.12) and MIT’s Wyatt Ubellacker (24.15), representing the NCAA’s smaller divisions.
The biggest surprise to miss the top 8 was Tom Shields in 24.33, especially after a very good swim in the 200 fly on Tuesday.