Two stellar fields in the 100 free events will take the pool on night 1 of the Arena Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. On the men’s side, training partners Yannick Agnel and Conor Dwyer will go head-to-head as they did in the 200 free at the last Grand Prix stop in Minneapolis. Agnel won that race, but Dwyer is the top seed in the more sprint-based 100 tonight. They’ll also have to contend with a field that includes Anthony Ervin, Jimmy Feigen, and Nathan Adrian among others.
The women’s event is headlined by the young Simone Manuel, who continues to impress in big situations. She’ll have to face SwimMAC’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and former Georgia Bulldogs Megan Romano and Allison Schmitt (who is making her return to competition here).
Also of note: Katie Ledecky will take on her Danish rival Lotte Friis in the 400 free and Amanda Kendall sits second in the 100 fly as she tries to regain her once-promising career.
Prelims recap here.
Live results here.
Live stream here.
Women’s 100 Free – Finals
In a tough field of big names, it was 17-year-old Simone Manuel who once again rose to the top, defending her top seed to win the event in 54.38 in a race that was still anyone’s to win at the flags. Allison Schmitt, back in competition after a disappointing 2013, was the runner-up in 54.86.
There was a tie for third place between SwimMAC’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Georgia post-grad Megan Romano, with each woman going 54.94.
The entire field seemed primed for this finals showdown, as every swimmer went faster than their prelims time. Amanda Weir took fifth place, Canada’s Victoria Poon was 6th, and veteran Natalie Coughlin just beat out youngster Katie Ledecky for 7th after the two tied in prelims.
In the B final, Amanda Kendall held onto 9th place, going 55.81, which was two tenths faster than her morning swim. Just a hair behind her was Jessica Hardy, who went 55.82.
Men’s 100 Free – Finals
Maybe seeing James Magnussen go 47.7 in the land down under was a good thing for Nathan Adrian. The American sprint star pulled out a surprising 48.26 to blow away a great field here in the 100 free. For a swim in mid-January, that’s an awfully promising time for one of the many great sprinters in a crowded world field.
Adrian blasted out to a lead in the front half, splitting 22.96 on the way out. Second behind him was French star and NBAC trainer Yannick Agnel, who went 49.31 – that was not even a full tenth ahead of his training partner Conor Dwyer, who went 49.39 for third. Just missing the top-3 prize money was Anthony Ervin, who took fourth in 49.42.
Local hero Jimmy Feigen joined that crew under 50 seconds, going 49.57 for fifth. Fellow Texas alum Dax Hill was 6th, Matt McLean took 7th and Alex Coville finished 8th.
U.S. Olympian Cullen Jones highlighted the B final, winning in 50.63.
Women’s 200 Breast – Finals
Micah Lawrence won in front of a very familiar crowd in the 200 breast. The SwimMAC pro, who grew up in the Austin area, went 2:25.73, splitting her race with incredible consistency to win the event. Lawrence went out in 33.7, then hit her pace on the next three 50s and never slowed, going 37.38, 37.24 and 37.32.
She was followed by former Texas Longhorn NCAA champ in this event Laura Sogar, who went 2:26.14. Canadian Rachel Nicol, who trains and represents SMU, was 2:28.09 to take third in a race where the top three really separated themselves from the field.
Another Canadian, Tera Van Beilen, was fourth and Lithuania’s Raminta Dvariskyte took fifth in the event.
Missouri Tiger Abigail Duncan won the B final in 2:33.34, a time that would have gotten her 5th in the championship heat.
Men’s 200 Breast – Finals
Early in the 200 breast, BJ Johnson, who swept the breaststroke races at the Grand Prix circuit’s first stop in Minneapolis, jumped out to a lead, looking to extend his breaststroking dominance. But top seed Ross Murdoch was too much for Johnson to handle – the Scotsman flew past the field in the final 50, swimming an incredibly patient race to wind up with a 2:12.15 win. Johnson held second in 2:13.19.
Olympian Scott Weltz took home the third-place prize money, going 2:14.48. He got in just ahead of NBAC’s Conor Dwyer, who shaved another second and a half off his lifetime best, going 2:14.92 in a race he doesn’t swim very often.
Another North Baltimore swimmer, Gabriel deSousa, took 5th, and 17-year-old Andrew Seliskar was 6th.
The consolation final was a great race itself, with Mike Alexandrov of Club Trojan going 2:16.64 to beat Tennessee post-grad Brad Craig.
Women’s 400 Free – Finals
2013 was an incredibly good year for Katie Ledecky. It looks like 2014 isn’t off to a bad start either.
Ledecky won the 400 in her usual dominating fashion. Once the swimmers fell into their pace, the winner was never in question even though the field included several internationally-known swimmers. Ledecky went 4:04.46 to win by almost a full 5 seconds over Denmark’s Lotte Friis, who was 4:09.35. Chloe Sutton took home third place in a show of consistency, going 4:12.11, almost exactly what she went in prelims.
Quinn Carrozza held onto the fourth seed, going 4:14.66, and the University of British Columbia’s Savannah King was 5th, a tenth ahead of Ledecky’s new training partner Isabella Rongione. 13-year-old Madison Homovich went about a second faster than this morning’s great swim, but still moved down to 7th place in the final.
A lot of great swims out of the B heat – Leah Stevens cut two and a half seconds off her prelims swim to win in 4:16.10. 10th was Gabrielle Kopenski, just 14 years old, who cut three seconds off her lifetime best, going 4:18.20.
Men’s 400 Free – Finals
Yannick Agnel continues to impress on American soil after joining Bob Bowman’s North Baltimore Aquatic Club for his training. After a runner-up finish in the 100 free, Agnel showed his fantastic freestyle range, winning the 1500 free just 4 events later. Agnel went 3:49.78 to best a tough field of distance specialists. Michael McBroom, who swam most of his college years in Austin, fought hard, going 3:50.47 and sticking with Agnel up and down the pool; he finished second.
Tunisian Olympian and Club Trojan member Ous Mellouli was third in 3:50.85. Tyler Clary showed off his versatility alongside Agnel, going 3:52.86 for fourth place – Clary typically swims backstrokes and IMs, but showed here he’s got an awfully tough freestyle as well.
Clary’s Club Wolverine teammate Michael Klueh finished 5th, going 3:52.94. Jeremy Bagshaw was 6th for California, North Baltimore’s Matt McLean took 7th and 18-year-old Mexican national Julio Andres Olvera Alejos finished 8th.
Women’s 100 Fly – Finals
As she did at this event last year, Canadian Noemie Thomas blew away the field in the 100 fly, going 58.54. The 17-year-old held onto her top seed in dominating fashion, winning by almost a second.
Two of the youngest swimmers in the field surrounded the oldest competitor in the top three of this event. 30-year-old Audrey Lacroix took second place, giving Canadians a 1-2 sweep. Lacroix was 59.47 followed by SwimMAC’s 16-year-old sensation Kathleen Baker, who was 1:00.22.
Former Pan-Am’s gold medalist Amanda Kendall went 1:00.61, a little slower than she was at prelims, to take fourth. Remedy Rule was fifth, and former Auburn star Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace took sixth.
There was a good battle for 9th that put a generational twist on a California rivalry. Palo Alto high-schooler and future Stanford Cardinal Ally Howe went 1:00.75 to top California alum Caitlin Leverenz for control of the B heat.
Men’s 100 Fly – Finals
California pro Tom Shields was all over the 100 fly field in this one, going 52.72 to win handily. It’s a good sign for U.S. swimming enthusiasts to see Shields, well-known for his outstanding underwater work, continuing to find more and more success in long course swimming, where the impact of underwaters is cut down significantly.
A pair of athletes representing Stanford took home the second and third place prize monies – Eugene Godsoe went 53.69 and Jason Dunford was hot on his heels at 53.73.
SwimMAC’s Nick Thoman took fourth, going 54.10, just .07 ahead of NCAP 17-year-old Andrew Seliskar. Rounding out the field were Stanford grad Bobby Bollier, Canadian Coleman Allen and Germany’s Christian Diener.
Tom Luchsinger of NBAC blew away the B final, going 54.10, a time that would have tied him for fourth had he made the main event. Michael Andrew got back within a few tenths of a lifetime-best after a disappointing morning session, going 55.23 for 11th.
Women’s 400 Free Relay – Finals
SwimMAC Carolina continued to put together big-time relays out of their pros and other strong swimmers, winning in 3:54.32. Typically an IMer, Katie Meili had a great leadoff for SwimMAC, going 57.5. Kathleen Baker carried the baton from there, going 56.92 on her split. Other relay members were Kathryn Saurborn and Kelsi Hall.
They just got in before Scottsdale’s team, which made a late charge on anchor Victoria Toris’s 57.4 split and had the entire team of Hannah Holman, Samantha Fazio and Taylor Ruck under a minute on their splits. Santa Clara Swim Club took third.
Men’s 400 Free Relay – Finals
Another relay, another SwimMAC win. The team of Nick Thoman, Dax Hill, Roy-allen Burch and Cullen Jones went 3:24.58 for an easy win. Hill was the fastest split, going 50.52 on the second leg.
Stanford’s B team took second place, riding 50-point splits from Alex Coville and Eugene Godsoe to go 3:28.13. Swim Ontario finished third in 3:28.20.
The Grand Prix will continue with Day 2 tomorrow. The event lineup includes the 400 IM, 200 free, 200 back, 50 free and the 800 free relay at finals. Prelims will begin at 9:00 AM Central Time.