2013 US Worlds Trials Preview: Conor, Connor, or Klueh in the Men’s 400 Free?

by Olivier Poirier-Leroy 23

June 20th, 2013 National, News

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former National level swimmer from the beautiful west coast of BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook.com: a comprehensive tool that designed for swimmers to track and analyze their results.

With 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Peter Vanderkaay hanging up the swimsuit, Matt Patton presumably retired as well, World Trials gives some of the promising young mid-distance talent a golden opportunity to make their presence felt on the national scene. The battle will most likely be between Connor and Conor, with a bunch of new blood filling up the rest of the ranks.

The Favorite…

Connor Jaeger is coming off a pair of individual NCAA titles in the 500 and 1,650 yard freestyle and also helped the Wolverines capture a 12th NCAA title. His time of 3:46.93 ranks the fastest heading into trials, and was also a full second faster than he went at trials last year. With that kind of improvement, and some rest Jaeger should be able to get into the low 3:40’s, making him the clear and away favorite. A solid swim at Trials will put himself squarely into the medal contender discussion leading into Worlds.

The Challengers…

Hot on his heels will be former Florida Gator Conor Dwyer, who at Santa Clara was just over a second behind Jaeger, and also about two seconds off the time he swam in London. With some of the front end speed that he displayed in swimming a 49.5 in the 100 at Santa Clara, expect Dwyer to take it out strong with some of that new-found speed thanks to some altitude training (and beyond) with former Michael Phelps coach Bob Bowman.

IX3 Sports’ Charlie Houchin, who swam a 3:48.32 last year at Trials, will need to be faster to qualify for Worlds in this event. In Charlotte he cranked out a 3:50.64, showing some good in-season form.

Club Wolverine’s Ryan Feeley has qualified for the World University Games in the 10km open water, added to his lack of 400m competitive swims this season (the exception being a 4:04 at Summer Juniors) suggest his focus is on the WUG. Fellow Wolverine, Michael Klueh, on the other hand has been swimming the 400 a lot in competition this season, most recently a 3:52 flat at Santa Clara. Klueh has raced this event at Charlotte, Austin, Orlando, as well, telegraphing his focus on this event.

Michael McBroom, who broke 3:50 for the first time at Olympic Trials last year, was only a second off of his best time in Charlotte, suggesting that he is due for a sizable drop. With a 15 minute 1500m, expect McBroom to be bringing it home with authority.

Matt McLean also swam solidly in Charlotte, swimming a 3:51.57 placing behind McBroom and Jaeger. He also won the 200 at that meet, with the 6’6 member of University of Virginia Aquatics swimming a solid mid-season 1:49.03. Whether McLean makes the team will depend if he can best the 3:47.11 he swam in August 2011 at Nationals.

Tyler Clary’s 400 performances this year have been slower compared to his mid-season swims of last year. He swam a pair of 3:52’s at Santa Clara, and though he had a conflict free opportunity to take a run at his best of 3:49.91, he’s opted not to swim the 400 free this season.

17 year old Liam Egan, of Crimson Aquatics, dropped a couple seconds off his 2012 best at Santa Clara. With a full rest it will be interesting to see what he can do with his best time of 3:55.67. Fellow up-and-comer Janardan Burns of the Mission Viejo Nadadores swam a 3:57.05 in Austin, and with a full rest expect him to lower his lifetime best of 3:53.26 in Indy. Distance specialist Chad La Tourette, who missed out on the Olympics last year in the 1500 is looking to capitalize on his new training surroundings at Mission Viejo to get back to his form of 2009 when he swam a 3:46.93.

Predictions

First, here is my top 8, with the times I’d guess for them.

1. Connor Jaeger 3:43.45
2. Conor Dwyer 3:46.65
3. Michael Klueh 3:47.12
4. Matt McLean 3:48.88
5. Charlie Houchin 3:49.02
6. Janardan Burns 3:49.40
7. Chad La Tourette 3:49.92
8. Liam Egan 3:51.12
9. Ryan Feeley 3:52.15

Below is the full top 8 from three members of our team, with the times indicating the athlete’s best performance from January 1, 2010, onward.

  Olivier’s Picks Matt & Reed’s Picks Braden’s Picks
1. Connor Jaeger, Michigan, 3:46.93 Conor Dwyer, NBAC/Gator Swim Club, 3:46.24 Conor Dwyer, NBAC/Gator Swim Club, 3:46.24
2. Conor Dwyer, NBAC/Gator Swim Club, 3:46.24 Connor Jaeger, Michigan, 3:46.93 Connor Jaeger, Michigan, 3:46.93
3. Michael Klueh, Club Wolverine, 3:48.17 Michael Klueh, Club Wolverine, 3:48.17 Michael Klueh, Club Wolverine, 3:48.17
4. Matt McLean, Virginia, 3:47.33 Charlie Houchin, IX3, 3:47.98 Michael McBroom, Texas, 3:49.89
5. Charlie Houchin, IX3, 3:47.98 Michael McBroom, Texas, 3:49.89 Matt McLean, Virginia, 3:47.33
6. Janardan Burns, Mission Viejo, 3:53.26 Matt McLean, Virginia, 3:47.33 Charlie Houchin, IX3, 3:47.98
7. Chad la Tourette, Mission Viejo, 3:48.76 Andrew Gemmell, Georgia/NCAP, 3:52.24 Michael Weiss, Wisconsin, 3:53.62
8. Liam Egan, Crimson Aquatics, 3:55.67 Ryan Feeley, Michigan, 3:49.21 Jacob Ritter, Texas, 3:53.05
  Darkhorse Darkhorse Darkhorse
  Adam Hinshaw, Cal, 3:53.86 Zane Grothe, Auburn, 3:52.82 Reed Malone, New Trier Swim Club, 3:53.35

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23 Comments on "2013 US Worlds Trials Preview: Conor, Connor, or Klueh in the Men’s 400 Free?"

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Liam Egan is a BEAST!

Insane to believe McLean does not have a 3:44 or 3:45 in him now. I’d bet right now he takes it.

Liam Egan very good, he is a good distance swimmer. I think he can go 3:52.

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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