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 Sutton, Becca 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 Ryan, Conor 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
- Live results
- Psych Sheets
- Live stream
- Thursday, May 15th – Sunday, May 18th, 2014
- Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center, Charlotte, NC
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.
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.