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Hold on tight folks, we’ve got quite the lineup for the Charlotte Grand Prix’s first night of full fledged finals. The morning session left us with a little disappointment after Bowman and Phelps decided to scratch the 200 free, but don’t fret, there’s plenty of exciting racing to go around tonight, including the greatest of all time himself.
The night starts out with the Iron Lady, Katinka Hosszu, in the 200 free trying to take hold of the overall Grand Prix series standings. She’ll face off with the comeback kid Allison Schmitt, who showed off her impressive drops in time from prelims to finals last month at the Mesa Grand Prix. The men’s side has a pack of Wolverines in the midst but is ultimately led by an NBACer in Conor Dwyer in a Phelps-less field.
The women’s 100 breast should provide some hype tonight even without the star that rocked it in Mesa, Alia Atkinson. A handful of college comeback kids (grads, post grads, and upperclassmen included) are in the mix to prove that short course isn’t their only specialty. Emma Reaney, Katie Meili, Molly Hannis, and Laura Sogar will try and chase down top seed Micah Lawrence tonight.
Michael Phelps finds himself in his familiar event tonight in an unfamiliar lane five. Pavel Sankovich will be out quick but watch out for Phelps to come back strong like he always does to make it a race at the end.
New hometown hero, Tyler Clary will try to make his SwimMAC fans proud by getting a victory in the 400 IM. He’ll have his hands full with Chase Kalisz, who recently put his name into the record books as the fastest man to swim this race short course. Who did that record belong to before? Mr. Clary himself.
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Women’s 200 Free
While the rest of the field was all smiles during the traditional ceremonial walkout, Katinka Hosszu looked all business and that’s exactly how she swam the race. She led the whole way through even though Allison Schmitt had a killer underwater on the last turn that almost cut her lead. Hozzsu was breathing to Schmitt’s side on the last lap, keeping her eye on her through the finish. When asked about being pushed by Schmitt, a happy Hosszu said “I wasn’t thinking about much except finishing, the last 50 really hurt”. With ten meters to go, Hosszu put her head down and touched Schmitt out with a time of 1:56.30. Schmitt bettered her time from Mesa, finishing second with a 1:56.41. The standout freshmen from UVA, Leah Smith, dipped under the two minute barrier, swimming an impressive 1:59.64. The teenage star from SwimMAC, Kathleen Baker touched fourth with a 2:00.17 while Cierra Runge was right behind her with a 2:00.24. Becca Mann, who still has the 400 IM to swim later tonight, finised sixth with a 2:00.62. Gillian Ryan and Melanie Margalis rounded out the final with times of 2:00.80 and 2:01.34, respectively.
Men’s 200 Free
In a Phelps-less field, Conor Dwyer seized the opportunity to lead from lane 4, and man did he make a statement. The race belonged to Dwyer right from the start and he never backed down, swimming to the win with a time of 1:47.86. His teammate Matt McLean was a second behind with a strong 1:48.73, good for second place. Anders Lie Nielsen was the last man under 1:50, grabbing third with a 1:49.88. Tyler Clary, whose main event is later tonight in the IM, swam to a fourth place finish with a time of 1:50.44 while distance specialist Connor Jaeger swam to fifth with a 1:50.92. Three members of Club Wolverine rounded out the A final: Dylan Bosch (1:51.23), Michael Wynalda (1:51.51), and Michael Klueh (1:51.63).
Women’s 100 Breast
Hello outside smoke. Jessica Hardy was all by herself in this race in lane one and was more than pleased with the result. “For this time of the year, I’m more than grateful to be able to get under 1:07”. What’s even more important than the time for Hardy is that even though training at this point in the season is tiring, she’s having fun. Micah Lawrence was the top seed going into tonight and came out with a second place finish with a great time, touching in at a 1:07.58, also bettering her time from Mesa like Hardy. There was a tie for third with Katie Meili and Emily McClellan, both touching at 1:08.77s. Molly Hannis had great first half speed but faded to fifth with a time of 1:09.15. Lilly King wasn’t able to better her impressive time from this morning but garnered a sixth place finish in a 1:09.93. Emma Reaney and Laura Sogar closed out the final, sticking close to their morning times with a 1:10.52 and 1:10.56, respectively.
Men’s 100 Breast
There was no one swimming by themselves in this race until the end where the veteran Mike Alexandrov ran away with it. Finishing first with a 1:01.48, he was just a second off a top ten time in the world this year. Brad Craig was right behind him for second in a 1:02.25 while Brendan McHugh who is swimming in his first meet after breaking his arm swam to a third place finish with a 1:02.72. Matthew Ackman was fourth with a 1:02.89 and Cody Miller grabbed fifth with a 1:03.03. Two Louisville Cardinals, Kameron Chastain and Thomas Dahlia, touched in sixth and seventh with times of 1:03.34 and 1:03.62, respectively. Ross Palazzo finished the heat off with a time of 1:04.65.
Women’s 50 Back
There’s no time to waste in the splash and dash stroke sprints and Sveta Khakhlova jumped on it as soon as the starter said go. With a time just outside of the top ten, Khakhlova touched first with a 28.68. Ali Deloof was just a fingernail behind her, finishing in a 28.71. Kathleen Baker was back in action after her 200 free and was able to grab third place in a time of 28.93. Carolina Colorado, who swam some impressive backstroke swims in Mesa last night grabbed fourth place with a 28 flat. Isabella Arcila (29.29), Fernanda Gonzalez Ramirez (29.42), and Megan Romano (29.51) finished right with each other for fifth, sixth, and seventh place. Even though Ashlyn Koletic finished in eighth place, she was able to shave off a hundredth from her prelim time.
Men’s 50 Back
Junya Koga, the Japanese star who now trains in Ann Arbor with Club Wolverine, took the men’s 50 backstroke title in 25.00, which is just short of his 5th-ranked season best. Koga was the last swimmer to pop up from underwater in this final, hitting the 15-meter line on-the-money, and he had about a half-a-body-length lead as well. American David Plummer couldn’t match him underwater, but was able to make up a lot of ground above-the-water for 2nd in 25.17.
Women’s 100 Fly
Katerine Savard and Claire Donahue were neck and neck for 95 meters, but it was ultimately Savard with the perfect finish that landed her the first place finish. Savard swam a 58.60 while Donahue was just behind her with a 58.84. Kristel Vourna and Kelsi Worrell were the last two women under a minute, finishing third and fourth with a 59.74 and 59.99, respectively. The field dropped off a bit with Kate Mills (1:00.86), Ariana Vanderpool-Wallace (1:01.00), and Ellen Williamson (1:01.06) touching in for fifth, sixth, and seventh. Ivy Martin, who is a dominant sprint freestyler, showed off her versatility with an eighth place finish in a time of 1:01.41.
Men’s 100 Fly
The number of camera phones out at the start of this race was alarming. This was Micahel Phelps‘ only race of the night and he did not disappoint. While most of us thought he’d be playing catch up on the second fifty, he sure proved the entire crowd wrong. Out in a 24.43, Phelps was out faster than the whole field, including Sankovich who is historically known for his front half. Even though he finished first with a 52.13 (his exact time from Mesa), Phelps said there are things he needs to clean up, including his start and turns. Pavel Sankovich finished right behind Phelps with a 52.72, which is a great swim for him. Joseph Schooling and Thiago Pereira grabbed the third and fourth spot with a 52.95 and 53.65, respectively. Tim Phillips, who trains down at SwimMAC, finished fifth with a 53.97. The rest of the field fell behind with Dylan Bosch (54.05), Mario Todorovic (54.46), and Ben Colley (54.70) closing out the heat.
Women’s 400 IM
This was Katinka Hosszu’s race right from the start. Her fly looked effortless, the backstroke smooth, her breaststroke looked long and strong, and her freestyle kick on the last hundred was making white water. Even though Hosszu was five body lengths ahead, she said “swimming the 400 IM with not a lot of competition was very hard”. After already winning the 200 free earlier, Hosszu captured another win in a time of 4:37.85. Becca Mann finished strong for second place in a time of 4:42.29 while Elizabeth Beisel, who was showing off in a practice suit, grabbed third in a time of 4:44.45. Vien Nguyen had a strong breaststroke leg to make up some ground on Beisel but wasn’t able to close and finished fourth with a 4:45.48. Hannah Moore was right behind her for fifth place with a time of 4:47.08. Rounding out the top heat was Tanja Kylliainen (4:48.70) in sixth, Brooke Zeiger (4:51.64) in seventh, and Emma Nunn (4:52.92) finishing eighth.
Men’s 400 IM
It’s been said that those who can swim breaststroke decently can be exceptional at the individual medley, Chase Kalisz proved that point today. While the race seemed close through the fly, Clary took the lead at the halfway point. Kalisz’s breaststroke was unbeatable though and that’s where he made his move. Having one of the most impressive back halves in IM history, Kalisz secured the win in a time of 4:16.38. Tyler Clary wasn’t able to make up any ground and finished second in 4:19.57. Andrew Seliskar was right behind the Olympian, grabbing third with a 4:19.72. Jay Litherland, who is one of the Dynamo triplets, was fourth in a 4:21.61 while Ty Stewart was fifth with a time of 4:24.91. Jay’s brother, Kevin Litherland finished sixth in a 4:26.97. Connor Jaeger (4:30.04) and Connor Green (4:30.75) rounded out the heat for seventh and sixth place.
Women’s 50 Breast
Molly Hannis‘ quick turnover proved useful in this stroke splash and dash, getting her out in front for the first 40 meters. Jessica Hardy came on strong at the end, ultimately winning the race in a time of 31.17, giving her two wins on the night. Hannis grabbed second with a 31.24 while Micah Lawrence finished third with a time of 31.36. Fourth through sixth place was separated by only .36 seconds with Emily McClellan (31.60), Katie Meili (31.89), and Lilly King (31.96). Two Longhorns closed out the sprint with Gretchen Jaques grabbing seventh with a time of 32.65 and Laura Sogar touching eighth in a 33.29.
Men’s 50 Breast
Mike Alexandrov swam to his second win of the night, grabbing the victory in a 28.01. Brandon McHugh was able to get in for second with a 28.31 while Brad Craig was third in a 28.72. Imri Ganiel and Kameron Chastain went fourth and fifth with times of 28.75 and 28.94. Christopher Steeples snatched sixth with a 29.07 while Juan Arellano garnered seventh in a 29.21. Matthew Ackman finished out the heat with a 29.31.