It’s time for the last session at the 2013 USA Swimming World Championship Trials and it’s time for the last few spots on the World Championship roster to be awarded.
At the conclusion of the session, USA Swimming will announce the full roster and give out a slew of awards.
The events in Saturday’s finals session include the women’s 1500 free, the men’s 800, both 200 IM’s, and both 50 freestyles.
The sprints that will punctuate the meet will be perhaps the most exciting. In the men’s race, it’s a matter of which one of the stars will be left out, as there’s a lot of guys who can be better than 22 seconds, and in the women’s race it’s a matter of who will be able to get under 25 seconds and establish them as star-class in this race.
Women’s 1500 Free – TIMED FINAL
It’s the Katie Ledecky show in the women’s distance freestyles in the United States. She was ahead of the World Record pace for the first half of this race, swam a World leader time of 15:47.15 to just jump Great Britain’s Jazmin Carlin, broke Janet Evans’ National Age Group and Meet Records, and none of those facts is the most impressive part of this swim.
The most impressive part of this swim was how hard Ledecky took the swim out. Though in post-race interviews she said she was trying to be ‘controlled,’ she had little to lose in the race. As the winner of the 800, she had the option to swim this 1500 regardless of how she finished here. She ended up taking this race out in an 8:22.61, which might sound familiar, because she won the individual 800 in 8:22.41. That’s a two-tenths-of-a-second difference, and though her pace withered ever-so-slightly, she certainly didn’t die. She mustered enough energy to close in 29.1, which was the fastest 50 of any split of any race for the entire field.
Few people can take out a distance race like Ledecky does, but Carlin was out in 8:24, so she wouldn’t be too far behind if things play out the same way.
This World Record, that they’re both five seconds away from, looks like one of the more probable victims of the World Championships.
In 2nd place was Chloe Sutton in 16:07.75. She’ll have the option to swim this race in Barcelona, though with how good she’s looked in the shorter 400 and 800 at this meet, she might give strong thought to whether she needs to accept that challenge. Haley Anderson, who’s already qualified for open water, placed 3rd in 16:12.29. That’s her best time by 6 seconds.
North Baltimore’s Gillian Ryan was 4th in 16:19.20, which is just ahead of the top time out of the early heats Alicia Mathieu from Florida.
Women’s 200 IM – FINALS
If you get to the breaststroke leg of a 200 IM, and you are looking at Caitlin Leverenz’s feet, it’s time to start scheming for second place. Leverenz had a full second lead on everybody, including Elizabeth Beisel, who final’ed in both the 200 fly and the 200 back, at the halfway mark, and built that lead by another second on the breaststroke leg before cruising home to a 2:10.13 victory.
Despite a meet that she said wasn’t what she’s hoped for, that’s the 4th-best time in the world this year and a great finish for her. It’s her first qualification for Barcelona, allowing her to avoid the trap that caught a few other Olympians this year.
Beisel and Georgia’s Melanie Margalis came down to the wire, but it was Beisel who held on for 2nd in 2:12.11, which locks up a second individual swim for her in Barcelona. Margalis was 3rd in 2:12.34, and Celina Li was 4th in 2:12.73.
After DQ’ing the 400 IM, and having a conservative start in prelims, Li finally started going after the block again and got out very well. The result was a best time by half-a-second as she heads into her freshman season at Cal.
Jana Mangimelli almost left a very interesting storyline. She was sitting in 2nd place until about the last 25 meters of the race, which would’ve been notable given that she and the Georgia NCAA program parted ways (on who’s terms, nobody has commented on the record) mid-season this year. She ultimately was 5th in 2:12.75, which is a best time for her as well.
T2’s Justine Mueller was 6th in 2:14.03, followed by Jasmine Tosky in 2:15.00 and Shannon Vreeland in 2:15.68.
Longhorn Aquatics’ Karlee Bispo won the B-Final in 2:14.62.
Men’s 200 IM – FINALS
If there’s one real takeaway from this meet that every swim fan in the world will be interested in, it’s that maybe Ryan Lochte wasn’t in as bad of shape as he led us all to believe. That, or he’s incredibly tough. Lochte leapt to the top of the World Rankings and is three-tenths of a second faster than anybody else has been after a 1:55.44 to win the 200 IM title and grab at least a 7th event.
Lochte was out in 53.0 – four-tenths of a second faster than his own opening split at the 2011 World Championships where he broke the World Record that still stands.
He lost that pace on the second 100 meters, but that’s still a statement-making swim for Lochte in this race.
Close behind him was his former training partner Conor Dwyer in 1:57.74, and also out of the NBAC stable Chase Kalisz was 3rd in 1:58.52.
For Dwyer, that’s about a half-second time drop from last year’s Olympic Trials and a nice recovery from his DQ in the 400 free on Friday night.
Texas’ Austin Surhoff went another lifetime best of 1:58.80 for 4th place, followed by Cal’s Josh Prenot in 2:00.33.
Dynamo Swim Club’s Gunnar Bentz was 6th in 2:00.88, followed by Kyle Whitaker (2:01.31) and Georgia sophomore Ty Stewart (2:01.45).
David Nolan won the B-Final in a very good 2:00.35, which finally breaks him through for a new personal best: one he’s been waiting since the 2010 Jr. Pan Pac Championships. If anyone has benefited from the many developments in Stanford, including new head coaches for both men’s and women’s programs and a new-look professional training group, it’s Nolan.
Men’s 800 Free – TIMED FINALS
A new distance rivalry is developing in the US – just as they did in the 1500 earlier in the meet, and just as they did in the 1650 freestyle at the 2013 NCAA Championships, Connor Jaeger and Michael McBroom went 1st and 2nd in the men’s 800 free.
Both swimmers were under the U.S. Open Record and Meet Records in this swim. The old Meet Record stood since 2007 at the hands of Erik Vendt (7:49.75) and the U.S. Open Record belonged to Stanford’s Chad La Tourette in 7:47.27 in 2009.
The two never separated by much more than a meter in this race, but a little bit of a move in the middle of the race gave Jaeger all the edge he needed to win in 7:46.78, with Michael McBroom taking 2nd in 7:47.13.
The swim is key for McBroom, as it gives him the tie-breaker with Matt McLean (2nd in the 400 free) to swim the men’s 800 free in Barcelona, though it’s unlikely that McLean would’ve chosen to swim the race either way.
Andrew Gemmell took 3rd in 7:57.83, followed by Michigan’s Ryan Feeley (8:01.28), Auburn’s Zane Grothe (8:02.06), and Florida Gators Arthur Frayler (8:02.31).
Women’s 50 Free – FINALS
Natalie Coughlin got a fantastic start off the blocks and ended up winning wire-to-wire in 24.97, which is within a tenth of a second of her season (and career) best times of 24.90. Second behind her was exciting young phenom Simone Manuel in 25.01, re-breaking her own National Age Group Record set in the prelims. She, like Coughlin, added an individual swim to her including in the 400 free relay with that performance.
The question becomes can either swimmer final, let alone medal, at the World Championships.
Christine Magnuson was 3rd in 25.05, just missing adding a second swim of her own.
NCAA Champion Margo Geer was 4th in 25.13, and SwimAtlanta’s Amanda Weir was 5th in 25.18.
Jessica Hardy was 6th in 25.19, and Ivy Martin was 7th in 25.20.
Men’s 50 Free – FINALS
A big Cal 1-2 finish came in the men’s 50 free, as Nathan Adrian won in 21.47 to break the Meet Record and jump to the top of the world rankings, atoning for his miss at the Olympic Trials last year. After the race he said the key to not making the mistake again was to “swim faster”. Simple words, wise words.
He will be joined by his teammate Anthony Ervin, who was a 21.70 for 2nd place, and somehow got his hand into the wall ahead of Josh Schneider (21.87) and a tie between Cullen Jones and Jimmy Feigen at 21.88.
That’s an impressive 5 swimmers under 22 seconds in the same race; there’s 17 swimmers who have cleared that barrier worldwide, and almost a third of them now are Americans.