2014 Austin Grand Prix: Agnel caps dominant freestyle weekend with 1500 win on final night

The final night of action at the 2014 Austin Grand Prix serves up a slate of good races. Budding superstar Katie Ledecky will swim an interesting double – she sits second to Caitlin Leverenz in the 200 IM after prelims and will also swim with the final heat of the 800 free against Denmark’s Lotte Friis.

French sensation Yannick Agnel will tackle the men’s distance event, the 1500 free, after he’s been first or second in every freestyle race so far this weekened excepting the 50, which he didn’t enter.

In addition, a loaded 100 back field including Matt Grevers, Nick Thoman, Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley, Eugene Godsoe and Arkady Vyatchanin will go to town late in the meet.

Find our Texas Grand Prix championships central here for links to everything you need, including live results and a live stream. In the meantime, keep hitting refresh after 6 p.m. Central to follow along with our live analysis of the night’s results.

Prelims recap here.

Afternoon Swims Update: The top times to come out of the early heats in the distance freestyle events are 13-year-old Madison Homovich‘s 8:49.49 in the women’s 800 free and 16-year-old Brian Tsau‘s 15:57.23 in the men’s 1500. Homovich swims for North Carolina Aquatic Club and Tsau represents Nation’s Capital.

Women’s 200 Fly – Finals

Canadian National Record-holder Audrey Lacroix held her top seed in the 200 fly to open things on night three, cutting two and a half seconds off her prelims swim to go 2:09.18. She needed that drop, too, as second-place Remedy Rule dropped enough time herself to get under Lacroix’s prelims mark, going 2:11.24.

Noemie Thomas, who won the 100 fly Friday night, took home third, going 2:13.04, just beating out Caitlin Leverenz. Leverenz was 2:13.25 – she’ll have a shot at taking the title in a different event tonight, as she’s the top seed in the 200 IM.

Mount Pleasant’s Megan Kingsley took fifth followed by Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics’ Ally Howe. Victoria Edwards, who swims for Longhorn Aquatics in Austin, was seventh and 13-year-old Madison Homovich wound up 8th – she’s the top swimmer in the 800 free so far today with the top 8 seeds yet to swim.

In the B final Longhorn Aquatics 14-year-old Dakota Luther cut about three and a half seconds off her prelims swim to outlast First Colony’s Alicia Finnigan. Luther was 2:16.67 while Finnigan was 2:16.97.

Men’s 200 Fly – Finals

North Baltimore took another event win in the men’s 200 fly with former UNC college star Tom Luchsinger, who went 1:57.93 to win. 17-year-old Andrew Seliskar hung around the whole way and started to make a late charge to keep things interesting, but Luchsinger had too much left in the tank, cruising out to the win ahead of Seliskar’s 1:58.57.

Cal’s Tom Shields almost snuck in for the runner-up spot, going 1:58.85 – he already picked up a win this weekend in the 100 fly.

Former Stanford Cardinal Bobby Bollier ended up fourth, the last swimmer under two minutes. Conor Dwyer, who’s been all over the place at this meet swimming everything from butterfly to IM to sprint freestyle, took fifth, going 2:00.88. Badger Swim Club’s Ryan Feeley was 6th, Ramiro Ramirez of ITESM 7th and Jersey Wahoo Zachary Fong 8th.

Alec Page ran away with things in the B final to hold his 9th spot. The 20-year-old went 2:02.76 to win the heat. Swim Ontario’s Evan White moved up to take 10th in 2:03.49.

Women’s 100 Breast – Finals

In a tough field of up-and-comers 26-year-old Jessica Hardy showed why she’s still a household name on the American breaststroking scene. The Trojan went 1:07.05 jumping out to a lead and riding open water to victory in the 100 breast. She beat top seed Laura Sogar, who needed a strong finishing push to pass SwimMAC’s Katie Meili for second place.

Sogar wound up going 1:07.76 and Meili, an Ivy League star for Columbia, went 1:08.46.

Canadian Rachel Nicol went 1:08.79 representing SMU in fourth place, and her countywoman Tera Van Beilen was fifth. Missouri’s Abigail Duncan took home sixth place, while 16-year-old Aquajets product Olivia Anderson took seventh. Justine Mueller of T2 finished 8th.

A pair of SMU swimmers paced the B final. Tara-Lynn Nicholas went 1:11.33 for 9th and Raminta Dvariskyte was 10th in 1:11.86.

Men’s 100 Breast – Finals

Ross Murdoch extended his dominance in the breaststroke races in Austin, winning the 100 breast in 1:00.58. The 20-year-old Scot won the 200 with ease and looked to do the same in the 100. Although he came up a good margin short of American Mike Alexandrov off the start, it didn’t take long for the speedy Murdoch to erase that lead with his high-tempo stroke.

Alexandrov finished second competing for Trojan Swim Club, going 1:01.38. Tennessee Aquatics Brad Craig was third in 1:02.20.

Alexandrov’s Trojan training partner Glenn Snyders was fourth. The New Zealander went 1:02.35, and Stanford pro BJ Johnson was a few tenths behind. Sixth went to 2012 Olympian Scott Weltz in 1:02.78, and Craig Benson and Brandon Fischer rounded out the field.

In the B final 14-year-old Michael Andrew provided some fireworks, cutting a full second off his prelims swim and his lifetime-best to smash the National Age Group record of 1:04.74. Andrew went 1:03.83 – he seems to be getting better and better with more swims this weekend after a quiet start, and he’s still got two races left to swim tonight.

Women’s 100 Back – Finals

She won the 200 back last night, and now Canada’s Hilary Caldwell has made it a sweep. The 22-year-old went 1:01.57 to nip current Grand Prix points leader Megan Romano at the wall. Romano was 1:01.72 for second place.

Another Canadian took third; that was Dominique Bouchard who is swimming for Oakville now after a stellar collegiate career with the Missouri Tigers.

SMU’s Isabella Arcila took fourth, while 15-year-old Swim Ontario backstroker Danielle Hanus was fifth. Future Stanford Cardinals Ally Howe and Simone Manuel wound up sixth and seventh, and T2’s Justine Mueller rounded out the field in her second-straight A final.

Remedy Rule touched out a pair of swimmers for the B final win – she went 1:04.55, just ahead of Helene Neuhaus and Cameron McHugh who tied for 10th.

Men’s 100 Back

A powerhouse 100 backstroke field did not disappoint, putting together a race that was up in the air until the very finish. Ultimately, though, Matt Grevers won, which maybe shouldn’t have been a surprise – he’s been the world’s best backstroker for several years now.

Grevers went 53.72 representing Tuscon Ford Aquatics of Arizona. That was enough to beat former Russian Olympian Arkady Vyatchanin, who made a big closing push to go 53.88 for second. Cal freshman Ryan Murphy was just a tick behind that, going 53.98 for third.

SwimMAC’s Nick Thoman settled for fourth (54.09) in a murderer’s row of a lineup. Behind him were Murphy’s teammate Jacob Pebley (54.53), Stanford pro Eugene Godsoe (54.66) and German nationals Christian Diener (55.68) and Felix Wolf (56.34).

Craig McNally of Scotland won the B final with a nice swim of 55.55. In that same heat, Michael Andrew was not able to break his second NAG record in a row, although he still went 57.41 for 11th place. That’s just .03 off of the NAG record he set this morning.

Women’s 200 IM – Finals

Coming off her 4th place 200 fly finish, Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz got a better result in the 200 IM. The U.S. Olympian went 2:13.44 to win easily over Palo Alto Stanford’s Karlee Bispo. Bispo moved up from the fourth seed, charging home on the freestyle leg to take second in 2:16.03.

SwimMAC’s Katie Meili picked up her second third-place finish of the night, going 2:16.13 – Bispo ran by Meili at the finish, but the SwimMAC postgrad was able to hold off a surging Katie Ledecky, who split an event-best 29.9 on the freestyle. Ledecky finished 4th in 2:16.27 and will now gear up for her 800 freestyle battle with Lotte Friis.

Former Texas Longhorn Laura Sogar went 2:18.69 competing for her original Bluefish club. Courtney Monsees, Destiny Nelson and Megan Kingsley rounded out the top 8.


Tera Van Beilen took 9th place in her second swim of the night, winning the B final in 2:19.91 after taking 5th in the 100 breast a few events ago.

Men’s 200 IM – Finals

NBAC’s Conor Dwyer added to his lead in the overall Grand Prix points race by winning the 200 IM. The former Florida Gator went 2:00.03 for an easy win. He also won the 400 IM last night.

Second place was top seed Josh Prenot, a sophomore at Cal. The Golden Bear went 2:02.05, a solid 2 seconds better than his prelims swim. 17-year-old Andrew Seliskar took third – that’s his second top-3 finish of the night after taking runner-up position in the 200 fly. Seliskar was 2:04.32.

He was followed by two more 17-year-olds, Curtis Ogren of Palo Alto Stanford and Evan White out of Swim Ontario. Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss took sixth followed by Alec Page and Sean Grieshop.

Cal-Davis’s Scott Weltz went 2:05.47 to blow away the B final. Second place in that race was future Texas Longhorn Jared Butler and 14-year-old Michael Andrew, who went 2:09.77 (a second slower than prelims) in his sixth swim of the day. Two of those swims were 13-14 NAG records in a successful weekend for the Indie Swimming pro.

Women’s 800 Free – Finals

Danish national record-holder Lotte Friis led early, but Katie Ledecky completed a thrilling comeback, gaining on Friis steadily from about the 350-mark onward and erasing the two-second lead the Dane had built up. Ledecky first took the lead at the 650-meter turn and powered away from there to go 8:26.70. That’s a bit off her 8:13.86 World Record from last summer, but still an awfully good swim for January 19th.

Friis took second in 8:28.65. Those two were completely checked out from the rest of the pack early on.

Canada’s Savannah King finished third in 8:38.87, a tenth ahead of Chloe Sutton, who went 8:38.93. Ledecky’s new training partner Isabella Rongione finished fifth in 8:47.39 and behind her was the top swim out of the morning heats, 13-year-old Madison Homovich of NCAC. Leah Stevens was 8:49.68, just behind Homovich’s 8:49.49 and NCAP’s Megan Byrnes took 8th place.

Men’s 1500 Free – Finals

Yannick Agnel has owned the freestyles at this event. The Frenchman went 15:07.76 in his first true distance race in recent memory, winning against a field of seasoned distance specialists with big international resumes.

Agnel’s 15:07.76 would have ranked him in the top 20 in the world over all of 2013. Second place was American Michael McBroom swimming for The Woodlands. He went 15:16.62, losing track of Agnel early and never reeling him back in. McBroom actually ran third much of the way, passing Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli at around the 1000-meter mark. Mellouli, who now trains with Agnel at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, finished third in 15:19.09. Mellouli swam a gutsy race, but perhaps burned out his treads a little early trying to run with Agnel, and he felt it late in the race.

Eric Hedlin took fourth in 15:19.29, almost running down a decelerating Mellouli over the final couple 100s. Club Wolverine’s Michael Klueh took fifth in 15:28.17, and another NBAC-er, Matt McLean, ended up sixth.

Brian Tsau, the fastest time out of the morning heats, took seventh for NCAP, and the second-fastest morning swim was Chip Peterson, who ended up 8th overall.

Women’s 400 Medley Relay – Finals

Longhorn Aquatics won the last women’s event in their home pool, going 4:22.71 in the 400 medley relay. The team was made up of Victoria Edwards, Cationa Macgregor, Dakota Luther and Laine Reed and were buoyed by Edwards’ and Reed’s bookend splits. Edwards was 1:05.23 leading off and Reed went 56.71 on a blazing anchor leg.

MSSAC took second in 4:26.81, powered by Sherry Patel‘s 1:02.2 butterfly split. They got in just ahead of Cypress Fairbanks’ 4:27.51.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay – Finals

Swim Ontario won the final event of the night, going 3:49.42 in the 400 medley relay. The splits were solid across the board, but Evan Van Moerkerke‘s 50.9 anchor was a dagger for any team trying to make a late charge. Van Moerkerke was joined on the relay by Matthew Swanston, Evan White and Bryce Kwiecien-Delaney.

ITESM of Mexico was second in 3:56.90 and the Virginia Tide wound up third with a 3:57.30.

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9 years ago

This is perhaps a bit off topic, but if Agnel can win olympic gold in the 200 freestyle twice in a row – and I believe he can – he will be a swimming legend. Not even Thorpe was able to do that.

9 years ago

That is very impressive; I thought 15:10 would win it and that it would be Meloulli or McBroom.

That has Bowman written all over it. Bowman even made Phelps swim at least one 1500 for time in competition every year. But unlike Phelps, Agnel has the chops over it; he might be under 14:50 tapered if he trained for it specifically/tapered.

Reply to  liquidassets
9 years ago

14:50 is not a medal time.. and takes a lot of stamina for this race.. he would have much loss on 100/200 free to do a no medal 1500 free..

Reply to  liquidassets
9 years ago

I think he can be faster than that. Mellouli is a World Champ medalist and he’s at about the same time he always is at this point in the year. Maybe a hair slower

Reply to  liquidassets
9 years ago

Phelps once said the order in which he trains for events goes:
1500 m freestyle
400 IM
200 fly

9 years ago

Bobo, was that a good time for Agnel? What is his best time in 1500? Pretty average event for a Grand Prix. That was the only event any of them swam today so it wasn’t a matter of overswimming events this weekend for any of them.

I think Sun is safe!

Reply to  weirdo
9 years ago

That was Agnel’s best time by 9 seconds. The last time he swam the 1500 was about a year ago in Nice, he was a 15:16.

bobo gigi
Reply to  weirdo
9 years ago

It’s of course a good time for Yannick. New PB for him.
And yes, Sun Yang is safe.
But Yannick has no intention of swimming a 1500 free in a world meet.
He isn’t crazy!
200 free and 400 free are enough for him.

bobo gigi
9 years ago

15.07.76 for Yannick!

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

Bobo you gotta stop doubting your guys!

bobo gigi
9 years ago

Agnel is well ahead!
I didn’t think he would win that race.
Where are Mellouli and McBroom?

Philip Johnson
9 years ago

Agnel is a beast!

bobo gigi
9 years ago

Fast start for Yannick in the 1500 free!
Please, stay alive!

bobo gigi
9 years ago

And Katie has won.
It looked much faster while I watched the race.
Friis is really a machine. fast pace. But no speed change unlike Katie. If it was on track, I’d buy her as a rabbit. She would be perfect for a world record attempt. 🙂

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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