2014 Charlotte Grand Prix: Friis and Jaeger dominate opening day distance races

The 2014 Charlotte Grand Prix begins on Thursday with a very light schedule (almost light enough to refer to as “day 0”), with the men’s 800 freestyles x 9 heats, and the women’s 1500 freestyles x 6 heats, being the first out of the blocks.

These early races, heated as timed finals, will have plenty of stars worth watching. The women’s 1500 will include European Record holder Lottie Friis of Denmark, Chloe SuttonBecca Mann, and Gillian Ryan. Also interesting out of that last heat will be Indiana’s Lindsay Vrooman, who will be swimming her first major meet as a post-grad (she did swim a 2:05 in the 200 at “Bucceto’s Open,” a little local meet in Bloomington, two weeks ago).

The men’s race will be similarly stacked. Connor Jaeger, another brand-new pro, is the top seed, but names like fellow Michigan Wolverines Ryan Feeley and Sean RyanConor Dwyer, Club Wolverine pro Michael Klueh, Georgia’s Matias Koski, open water/NCAA star Arthur Frayler, and two-of-the-three Litherland triplets (Mick and Kevin) will dot the race.

The session begins at 4 Eastern, and is expected to run until right around 7 Eastern.

2014 Arena Grand Prix at Charlotte

Women’s 1500 Free

With her American rival Katie Ledecky grabbing headlines earlier in the day with her college commitment to Stanford, Lotte Friis fired back with her own headline-grabbing swim to open up the Charlotte Grand Prix. Friis blasted a 16:07.14 to win the first and fastest heat of the timed final event.

That time for Friis ranks second in the world for 2014, behind only Mireia Belmonte-Garcia of Spain. It’s also Friis’ first win of the Grand Prix Circuit after she finished second behind Ledecky at both Austin and Mesa.

2014 LCM Women 1500 Free TYR World Ranking

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Friis will be joined in the world top 5 by the two women who pushed her for the heat and overall win. Becca Mann, recently transferred to North Baltimore Aquatic Club to train with Friis, hung just behind her teammate the whole way, finishing in 16:08.86, now the third-fastest time in the world.

And one more NBAC swimmer, Gillian Ryan, made it a 1-2-3 sweep, going 16:12.64 to claim third place as well as jump to 5th on the world ranks.

Fourth sits Indiana grad Lindsey Vrooman, who went 16:29.63. Behind her was a tight battle for fifth, with Chloe Sutton going 16:32.07 to top North Baltimore’s Cierra Runge and her 16:33.06.

7th and 8th come out of the later heats. Heat 2 winner Kelsey Cummings of Club Wolverine went 16:45.84 to claim 7th, while heat 3 winner Vien Nguyen was just behind in 16:46.42.

Men’s 800 Free

Done with his collegiate eligibility after a highly-successful career at the University of Michigan, Connor Jaeger kicked off his professional career with a dominating win in the men’s 800 free.

The NCAA champ in the mile went 7:58.59 to blow away the field to grab the first men’s event of the Charlotte Grand Prix.

North Baltimore’s Matt McLean, seeded at a yards time, blew away a late heat to move all the way up to second. His 8:03.08 beat every other swimmer besides Jaeger.

Behind Jaeger, a solid battle for second in the opening heat came down to Jaeger’s Club Wolverine training partner Michael Klueh and high schooler and Georgia commit Kevin Litherland. The veteran Klueh came out with the touch, 8:06.18 to Litherland’s 8:06.64. They wound up third and fourth, respectively, after McLean’s swim.

Former Wolverine teammates Sean Ryan and Ryan Feeley dueled for fifth, with Ryan getting the nod at 8:08.30. Feeley went 8:09.03 to take sixth.

North Baltimore’s Nezir Karap, who won heat 2, wound up seventh overall with an 8:13.50. Behind him was Evan Pinion in 8:14.02 to round out the top 8.

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9 years ago

That’s a best time for Matt McLean! He’s looking good at NBAC…

9 years ago

I don’t remember that NBAC has entered relays in the past… It appears that they focus on individual events. Relays at the end of a long day does not necessarily help the development of the athlete…

Reply to  whoknows
9 years ago

That’s what you have to do at championship meets.
4×100 bumps up against 200 free semis…
4×200 bumps up against 200 fly finals and 100 free semis…
at least at the Olympics.

9 years ago
Reply to  Rafael
9 years ago


Reply to  Rafael
9 years ago

Some of those times are completely ridiculous. I’d say the only realistic ones are:

400 fr
800 fr

400 fr
1500 fr
100 bk
200 br

possible but unlikely

100 free
200 back


Most absurd:
100 fly men

9 years ago

US Swimming needs to work on the ‘there-their-they’re’ problem, too!

Reply to  Rafael
9 years ago

Are humans supposed to grow gills and flippers over the next two years? 20.89 to MEDAL in the 50 free. What planet are they from?

lane 0
9 years ago

Does anybody else think that NBAC should’ve entered relays. Their 4X200m freestyle relay would be epic with Phelps, Angel, and Dwyer.

bobo gigi
9 years ago

Lotte Friis hasn’t swum many beautiful races since she left Fabrice Pellerin last year.
We’ll see in Charlotte but she will have a tough opponent with her training partner Becca Mann who looked very good in Mesa.
I’m still expecting the big breakout swim from Gillian Ryan. Ok, I’m waiting for a long time now. But I continue to believe in her. She won the 800 free US title in 2011! Since then she doesn’t improve. I think she only needs a turning point in her mind, a stimulus to become a world contender. Perhaps it will happen at Michigan. She has a huge motor. It’s all mental in my opinion.

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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