This post will be updated throughout tonight’s session with complete event recaps.
On the second night of the 2013 US World Championship Trials, barring even more bizarre outcomes than we saw on the first night, swimmers should begin to double-up in different events, shoring up a deeper event lineup for the Americans en route to the World Championships.
The 200 freestyles, and the relay implications they bring, will be the focus of tonight’s session, though the 200 backstrokes each will have an intense level of drama with huge battles (Beisel vs. Pelton, Murphy vs. Lochte vs. Clary) to take spots for Worlds. American Records are on notice too, especially by Kevin Cordes in the men’s 200 breaststroke.
Finals for the night: 200 free, 200 breast, 200 back, 50 fly, men’s 800 free relay.
Women’s 200 Free – FINALS
Missy Franklin is having no post-Olympic year let down; after a personal best in the 100 on Tuesday, she added a second win and a second World Championship qualification in this 200 free on Wednesday with a 1:55.56. That’s not a personal best for her, but it is over a second better than she was at last year’s Olympic Trials in the final, and puts her second in the world this year (behind only Camille Muffat of France).
Much of the difference was in the front-half, where visibly Franklin pushed much harder than we usually see from her. When looking at the splits, though, as compared to last year’s Trials, the drop came equally in the front half and back half. Instead, it seems that without Allison Schmitt, the rest of this field are just similar back-half swimmers to Franklin.
That includes Katie Ledecky, whose 29.62 closing split was the fastest in the A-Final, en route to a runner-up finish time of 1:57.63. That’s still not close to her best time of the year, when she beat Franklin in Mesa, but is a good result. Ledecky actually has a bit of a decision to make now, as the semi-finals of this 200 free at Worlds comes in the same session as the final of the 1500, where she’s a very good shot at a medal. The race is after the 1500, which is a considerable factor in the decision.
Georgia’s Shannon Vreeland remained hot with a 1:58.13 for 3rd place, meaning those top three all now have double qualifications (freeing up perhaps a few more spots on the US roster for Worlds). Perhaps one would have expected a few more swimmers under 1:58 in this race, but Vreeland proved to be a good relay swimmer in London last year.
The surprise performer is another Georgia Bulldog, the young Jordan Mattern, who was 4th in 1:58.27; that’s two-and-a-half seconds better than she’d ever been coming into the meet. She comes out of that great Georgia women’s middle distance program, and before that was a part of the same Colorado Stars program that Franklin swims for, so the pedigree was certainly there.
Stanford’s Maya DiRado (1:58.41) and the Terrapins Swim Team’s Chelsea Chenault (1:58.74) will await to see if the roster must be limited before finding out if there swims are good enough for Worlds. DiRado is already about a lock to be on the roster in the 200 fly, so she’ll have no concern, but Chenault calculates out to be the last swimmer in the priority queue for Barcelona as of now (behind Pelton, who was 6th in the 100 free).
Texas post-grad Karlee Bispo was 7th in 1:59.10, a small drop from prelims, and 16-year old Quinn Carrozza, her teammate, was 8th in 2:00.15.
Allison Schmitt won the B-Final in 1:58.62; that’s better than she was in prelims, but her stroke still lacked the explosiveness that won her this race at last summer’s Olympic Games. Her last chance at making the World Championship team will be in the 400 free on Friday.
Men’s 200 Free – FINALS
Ryan Lochte continues to play his meet perfectly, cruising through prelims and then blowing-up in finals. He led the men’s 200 free final wire-to-wire into a 1:45.97 – the 5th-best time in the world in 2013. He looked understandably tired, but not totally exhausted as we’ve seen him at some of the Grand Prix meets this year, which will be key headed into his second event, the 200 back, later in the session.
Conor Dwyer continued to excel after making the move to swim with Bob Bowman at NBAC, taking 2nd in a personal best time of 1:46.25. His development will continue to be key to the Americans retaining their crown in the 800 free relay with no Phelps. He now sits 7th in the world, as the Americans, Russian, French, and Chinese all have two swimmers in the top 10.
Those two will be joined on the 800 free relay in Barcelona by Virginia’s Matt McLean, who was 3rd in 1:46.78. As discussed in prelims, he and Charlie Houchin (4th – 1:47.36) both had similar best times in this race, and whichever one could go a PB in finals would mark the edge.
Ricky Berens sits 5th in 1:47.43, which will leave him on the bubble for World Championship qualifying. Thus far, the men’s races have not been as kind for the relay alternates, who have the lowest priorities for Worlds selection, in terms of roster size. The good news is that Berens was 5th in the 100 free as well, so the chances for him making the team look marginally better. 6th-place finisher Connor Jaeger was yet another lifetime best of 1:47.60; he’s already on the team in the 1500, and so will be part of a pool available for selection in the 800 free relay.
Jaeger’s training partners Michael Klueh (1:47.66) and Michael Wynalda (1:48.76) rounded out the A-Final; both finished their races very well, but were in too much of a deficit.
Texas’ Clay Youngquist won the B-Final in 1:48.99, and Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel capped his meet with a 1:49.83 tie-for-victory with Gunnar Bentz in the C-Final. For Dressel, that was only about four-tenths off of a third National Age Group Record of the meet.
Women’s 200 Breaststroke – FINALS
Texas’ Laura Sogar and Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson were nose-to-nose entering the last 50 meters of this 200 breaststroke: a familiar position for them. But, for the first time on a national stage, Larson pulled out the victory with a 2:23.44. That’s three seconds better than she was at Trials last year, and ranks her 3rd in the world this year.
Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen is still a clear favorite headed toward Worlds, but Larson can surely close with the Dane; making a podium, though, with no Rebecca Soni would be a victory for the American team as a whole.
Sogar, meanwhile, who led the first 150 meters, suddenly found herself in a battle for 2nd with SwimMAC’s Micah Lawrence the Olympian. Lawrence didn’t have a great prelims swim, but came on like a train on the last 50 and with a world-class closing split, snuck in for 2nd in 2:24.69, while Sogar was left 3rd in 2:24.86. That’s still a best time for the Texas swimmer, and those two sit 7th and 9th, respectively, in the world so far in 2013.
Lawrence was almost caught by a very long finish, but the board came up in her favor.
Katy Freeman of the Santa Barbara Swim Club was 4th in 2:25.51, which is the second-best time of her career and best since 2009.
North Baltimore/Georgia sophomore Annie Zhu took 5th in 2:26.52, followed by USC’s Andrea Kropp (2:28.60). She was four seconds off of her time from last year’s Olympic Trials, where she was 3rd.
Caitlin Leverenz (2:29.32) and Molly Hannis (2:31.17) were 7th and 8th, respectively; Hannis is more of a sprinter, so even making this final is a confidence-victory for her.
Arizona’s Emma Schoettmer took the B-Final win in 2:28.48.
Men’s 200 Breaststroke – FINALS
Even after some incredible yards swims in the college season, there were still a lot of questions surrounding Kevin Cordes’ potential on the international level. Could he do it in long course? What is the perspective on yards swim, in which most of the world’s best don’t swim (more so in breaststroke than any other discipline)?
He did not give a definitive answer to all of those questions, but he certainly gave an emphatic answer to all of those questions with a 2:08.34 in the men’s 200 breaststroke to win the National Championship. That’s the best time in the world so far in 2013, though there’s still a current and a former World Record holder (Akahiro Yamaguchi from Japan and Daniel Gyurta from Hungary) lurking.
Coming in 2nd was Stanford post-grad BJ Johnson, who is working on his Ph.D in engineering, but still found the time to train his way to an eight-tenths of a second lifetime best.
And so there will be two fresh swimmers in this race as compared to last year’s Olympic Games: the only time through the meet’s first two days that we can say that. Clark Burckle, who was one of those two Olympians, went out hard with his teammate Cordes, but was unable to hold on to that pace over the last 75 meters and slid to 4th in 2:11.70.
Georgia’s Nic Fink maybe missed an opportunity as he was unable to match his prelims seed. He was a 2:10.97 for third in finals, though his prelims swim would’ve put him to the touch with Johnson for that second spot. Still, Fink turned a serious corner on his long course career on Wednesday, and becomes a serious contender for Worlds in 2015 and Rio in 2016.
Cal’s Josh Prenot took 5th in 2:12.23, with a very consistent prelims-finals spread, and Cody Miller from Indiana took 6th in 2:12.91.
Mike Alexandrov had a solid 2:13.12 for 7th, which is a good forebear for the sprint breaststrokes, his best races, later in the meet.
Scott Weltz had a better B-Final swim, winning that heat in 2:12.55 to runaway with that race. He’s battled a lot of injuries this year, so all-things-considered, that’s a solid time for him.
Women’s 200 Backstroke – FINALS
The Colorado Stars’ Missy Franklin didn’t have quite the runaway in this 200 backstroke final as it looked like she could, but she did break the Meet and U.S. Open (fastest time on American soil) Records in the finals of the women’s 200 backstroke with a 2:05.68 for the win and the world-leading time.
As Franklin faded on the last 50 meters, on the back-end of this tough double, her future Cal teammate Liz Pelton clawed up to a 2:06.29 for a 2nd place finish, and thanks to Franklin’s win a spot on the World Championship team. That is Pelton’s lifetime best by over a second; she had a great NCAA Championship meet, and has been having a great long course season up to this point. Her first two races were just average (by her standards), but this 200 backstroke hit the potential that we’ve all been waiting for after she missed the Olympic Team in 2012.
Franklin and Pelton now sit as number one and number two in the world in 2013, about a second faster than any non-American has been.
Elizabeth Beisel placed 3rd in 2:07.64. That’s a good trials swim for her, matching what she went to make the Olympic Team last year, but Pelton was too good. Beisel still jumps to 4th in the world – the only non-American better than her is Australian champ Belinda Hocking.
Texas’ Sarah Denninghoff only made this A-Final on a Kendyl Stewart scratch, but she took full advantage by launching herself all the way up to 4th place in 2:10.16. That’s almost two-and-a-half seconds better than her lifetime best (which was done in prelims) and three seconds better than her best time coming into the meet.
Arizona’s Bonnie Brandon took 5th in 2:10.24, followed by the youngest A-finalist Kathleen Baker from SwimMAC Carolina in 2:10.92.
Kylie Stewart was 7th (2:11.51) and Clara Smiddy was 8th in 2:12.27.
Winning the B-Final was who else but another Cal backstroker, Melanie Klaren in 2:11.94. That’s three seconds better than her best time coming into the meet.
Men’s 200 Back – FINALS
Ryan Lochte again bided his time and effort, and though he was hurting badly the last 15 meters of this race, he held off a late charge by Tyler Clary for the win by margin of 1:55.16-1:55.58.
It was almost a flashback to the Olympic final, where Lochte went out hard, but coming off of the last wall Clary made a big move. This time, though, Lochte’s lead was big enough, and he held on for victory.
With so much focus in this race on youth and the 6 teenagers in the field, it was still the veterans that were served, not the youth, with those top two spots.
As good as Clary’s closing 50 was (29.6), Bolles’ Ryan Murphy had the best closing split in the final with a 29.47. That finished pulled him past his future Cal teammate Jacob Pebley for 3rd place in 1:56.37; Pebley was 4th in 1:56.73. Those are huge personal bests for both swimmers, and Murphy jumps to 3rd on the all-time 17-18 all-time American Rankings in the event (behind just two of the greats, Michael Phelps and Aaron Peirsol).
Jack Conger is now 4th on that same list after a personal best of his own in 1:56.82, and NCAA Champion Drew teDuits took 6th in 1:56.83. Though none of the teenagers in this amazing final were able to make the Worlds team, even in a post-Olympic year, that top-6 line was over two seconds faster than the top-6 line at last year’s Olympic Trials.
Women’s 50 Fly – FINALS
In the morning session, USC’s Kendyl Stewart was able to overcome her relatively-slow start for the top seed. In finals, though, she had no such luck, as former Olympic siler medalist Christine Magnuson roared to a 26.08 and the 6th-best time in the world this year. Magnuson’s history is as a 100 butterflier, though over the last two years she’s put a lot of focus on her 50 free.
That makes this 50 fly the perfect storm for her skills, as she becomes the first winner of these new-look 50 meter stroke races. She’s still not guaranteed a spot in Barcelona, but with a lot of doubles on the women’s side of the pool so far, she’s in a very, very good position.
Stewart went another best time in 26.19 for second. Her future is bright, and even brighter for as long as the 50 meter stroke races stay on the qualifying schedule.
Western Kentucky’s Claire Donahue placed 3rd in 26.23.
The top 5 all improved from their prelim times, including Felicia Lee in 26.54 and Auburn’s Olivia Scott in 26.65. That top 5 should all feel very good with their swims as they head toward the rest of the meet and the longer 100 fly.
Men’s 50 Fly – FINALS
In what was a very good day for the newly-revamped Stanford postgrad group, Eugene Godsoe won the men’s 50 fly in 23.29. Despite giving up 7-8 inches, he was able to hold of Matt Grevers for this win, as Grevers took 2nd in 23.50.
Few Americans have real experience in the 50 meter stroke races, especially as compared to their international counterparts, but after some swimming in Brazil, Godsoe probably was the most veteran 50 butterflier in this race.
Ohio State’s Tim Phillips was 3rd in 23.69, and 100 fly favorite Tyler McGill was 4th in 23.80.