Today we will see the 400 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and the 100 backstroke. There were a few scratches today that will open up the field for some other swimmers. Olympian, Matt Grevers, has yet to qualify for the World’s team and is hoping to make it today in the 100 backstroke. Katie Ledecky should be strong in the women’s 400 free after a strong 800 on day 1.
As a reminder, all of the links you need to follow today’s action can be found here.
Women’s 400 Free – PRELIMS
Coming out of the prelims of the women’s 400 free, there weren’t a ton of really exciting swims, as a lot of folks tried to save their energy for final. Some swimmers, however, may have saved just a hair too much energy – the biggest news out of the prelim was a tie for 8th place, and with no extra lanes, that will force a swim-off for 8th place, barring a scratch.
Fortunately, though, youth rebounds well, and the swim-off will be between 15-year old Becca Mann and 16-year old Quinn Carrozza after they put up matching 4:13.09’s in prelims. Either would’ve had to put a big charge into their finals swim to make the team anyway, but that task gets even taller with a third swim on the day.
Top seed honors went to Katie Ledecky in a very comfortable 4:07.32. We’re not going to see any World Records from her in finals, but based on the way she split her prelims swim, she’s going to get down into the 4:05 or 4:04 range at least.
This race has had two favorites emerged as the meet has worn on, and those two are Ledecky and the second seed Chloe Sutton, who was also a controlled 4:09.78, and also looked very good in the morning. She closed in a 30-second split, which was good relative to this field, and she should get down to a very good mark in finals as well.
Grouped behind them is a couple of 4:10’s from Haley Anderson, Gillian Ryan, and Lindsay Vrooman. The 6th and 7th seeds went to Chelsea Chenault and Leah Smith in 4:11.3 and 4:11.9, respectively.
Georgia’s Shannon Vreeland had maybe her first little chip-in-the-armor, ending up in the B-Final in 4:13. There’s quite a few notable names in the lesser finals tonight, perhaps showing a little fatigue.
Georgia’s Amber McDermott placed 10th, and joked afterward that she wasn’t “too upset” that she missed the swim-off by .02 seconds.
Men’s 400 Free – PRELIMS
Nobody cracked 4:50 yet in prelims of this men’s 400 free, but a whole lot of guys looked pretty easy into some 3:50’s. That included Connor Jaeger, winner of the 1500 earlier in the meet, in 4:50.02. He looked faster than that as he ran away from his heat, but he should get better competition in finals.
Michael McBroom from Texas took the 2nd seed in 3:50.22, meaning that the top seeds in this 400 are the same as the 1-2 in the 1500. That’s in stark contrast to the trend we saw last year where the 1500 and the 400 were very different fields.
Michael Klueh, who raced next to McBroom in the morning, is the 3rd seed in 3:50.59, and Virginia’s Matt McLean was 4th in 3:51.08 (McLean was a heat winner as well).
The final should be a great one, as most of the swimmers involved in this final have been swimming very well. That includes the 5th seed Charlie Houchin (3:51.43) and Conor Dwyer (3:51.59). We’ll find out tonight how, as Dwyer has worked with Bob Bowman on his speed, his endurance has held together. His success so far in this meet has come in shorter races.
Zane Grothe (3:53.70) and Andrew Gemmell (3:53.86) round out the top 8.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke – PRELIMS
There was a little bit of thunder in the prelims of the women’s 100 breaststroke; after missing out on the Olympic Team in this event last year, Jessica Hardy pronounced her intentions to not let that happen again in 2013 with a 1:06.29 for the top seed overall. That includes going out in 31.1 – faster than all but three swimmers in the individual 50 final went on Thursday.
Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson couldn’t match Hardy’s opening speed (few can), but closed in about the same split for a 1:07.35 second seed.
In 3rd is Tennessee’s Molly Hannis; remember that she’s the swimmer who went toe-to-toe with Larson in this 100 breaststroke at SEC’s. She final’ed in the 200 breaststroke earlier in this meet, which is huge news for her, which is a big sign for her in this 100. If there was anyone who had the chance on paper to make the jump ahead of those top two, it was Hannis.
Micah Lawrence broke out a very good mark in prelims as well with a 1:07.97. That’s a bit off of where she was in prelims in 2012, but with her spot on the team secured, she should be loose in finals.
Santa Barbara’s Katy Freeman was 5th in 1:08.33, and Texas’ Laura Sogar was 6th in 1:08.84. Sogar’s been faster than that 5 times this year.
Ashley Wanland (1:08.97) and Justine Mueller (1:09.10) round out the top 8 in the A-FInal.
This was a fast prelims round, so some name swimmers with good times (Andrea Kropp, Megan Jendrick, Emma Reaney) wound up in the B-Final with 1:09’s. The biggest fall was Arizona’s Ellyn Baumgardner, who came in as the 3rd seed but wound up only 19th in prelims in 1:10.56.
Men’s 100 Breastsroke – PRELIMS
Kevin Cordes will have a comfortable margin on the field coming out of the 100 breaststroke prelims with a 1:00.02 to barely miss breaking a minute for the first time of his career.
The second seed went to Mike Alexandrov in 1:00.87; he’s been a monster all year, and put up another consistently sub-1:01 time. He’s not going to have a huge taper, but he’s playing the “fast all season” method about perfectly.
Behind them is Georgia’s Nic Fink in 1:00.96, continuing a strong meet for the two-time defending SEC Champion in the 100 yard breaststroke.
BJ Johnson, who’s already on the team, sits 4th in 1:01.42, and Clark Burckle is 5th in 1:01.76.
Josh Prenot, 50 meter champion Kevin Steel, and Scott Weltz round out the A-Final. For Steel, that’s a personal best, though he used up a lot of speed on the front 50 before fading a little coming home. He’s got his Worlds spot secured, though, so tonight he’ll be gunning for a spot on the National Team and a bonus second swim in Barcelona, so expect him to let-loose.
Women’s 100 Backstroke – Prelims
A sleepy prelims session was woken up, or caught off-guard one might say, by a 59.27 swim from Liz Pelton for the top seed. The time was not a surprise in that everyone knew Pelton was capable of that sort of a time and is swimming well, but we haven’t seen a lot of swimmers really attack preliminary sessions at this meet. That time jumps Pelton to the top of the American Rankings this year, and sits her 3rd in the world.
If there were a race to do it in, though, this 100 backstroke was it, with a very deep field that has at least 6 swimmers very capable of breaking a minute. Ultimately, though, it was only Pelton and her future teammate Missy Franklin who were the only to do so, with Franklin touching in 59.39.
The two swam side-by-side in this race, so they ended up pulling each other way ahead of the field. Another Cal Bear Rachel Bootsma took the 3rd seed in 1:00.21; she was the 2013 NCAA Champion as a freshman.
Sarah Denninghoff continues to light up this meet in everything after her first session and sits 4th in a lifetime best of 1:00.39. Olivia Smoliga had one of her better swims of the meet so far with a 1:01.00 for 5th, and the A-Final will be wrapped by Kathleen Baker, Megan Romano, and Kendyl Stewart.
Men’s 400 Free – PRELIMS
The young backstroke storm is coming, and while they were held off in the 200, they look ready to pounce in this 100. Ryan Murphy took the top seed in 53.62, swimming this race with confidence that belies his 17 years by posting the best front-half split.
Close behind him, though, is Olympic Champion Matt Grevers, who is still fighting for his spot on the World Championship roster, in 53.72. He’s the second-fastest swimmer in history in this event, so it would be foolish to count him out.
David Plummer is 3rd in 53.83, and Eugene Godsoe was 4th in 54.27. Both of them have already won at least one event at this meet, so they are very well in the mix only a few tenths behind Murphy and Grevers.
Cal’s Jacob Pebley is 5th in 54.40, Wisconsin’s meteroically-rising star Andrew teDuits is 6th in 54.62, and the A-Final is finished off by Penn State’s Shane Ryan and Machine Aquatics’ Jack Conger.