2014 Mesa Grand Prix: Phelps’ Quick Return Highlights Day One Prelims

  130 SwimSwam Staff | April 24th, 2014 | Arena Pro Swim Series, Featured, National, News, Previews & Recaps

On Thursday morning, the focus on Michael Phelps’ return at the Mesa Grand Prix will cross over from ‘what has happened’ to ‘what did happen,’ as the Greatest of All Time competes in his first competitive race since the 2012 London Olympic with the prelims of the 100 fly.

That’s just one of many great stories on this day. The women’s 100 free is absolutely stacked, with a field going 30+deep in recognizable names. Depending on who shows up big, that could be the best race of the entire meet in just the first event.

Also watch Breeja Larson race in the 200 breaststroke for the first time as a pro, and Kevin Cordes get his first long course action of the season a month after being named the CSCAA Male Swimmer of the Year for the second straight season.

The races to be swum on day 1 are the 100 free, 200 breaststroke, the 400 free, and the 100 fly, in that order. All will be swum as a single A-flight, with the exception of the 400 free which will swim 4 men’s heats and 5 women’s heats as a B-Flight after the completion of the rest of the prelims.

All the Links You Need to Follow the 2014 Mesa Grand Prix

Women’s 100 Freestyle

Fresh off an astounding short course season, 17-year-old top seed Simone Manuel displayed an excellent balance of early speed and closing ability to win the final circle seeded heat, touching in 55.06 to earn the number one spot heading into finals.  Manuel (and the rest of the field, for that matter) was down early to Natalie Coughlin, who exploded off the blocks and took the early lead in the final heat, flipping in 26.21 at the 50 mark.  Although Coughlin was a half second faster than Manuel going out (fastest in the event at 26.21), the high school senior from First Colony Swim Team reeled her in down the stretch.  Coughlin settled for a tie with Amanda Weir for third in 55.43, still putting her in a good lane for tonight’s final.

Between Manuel and Weir/Coughlin was Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt of North Baltimore.  Competing in her first meet since the Austin Grand Prix in January, Schmitt really laid the hammer down on the final 50, closing in 27.99–the fastest in the field–to finish in 55.11.  That’s a great prelims swim for Schmitt, who admitted in an ESPN article that she hasn’t been training at her usual level until relatively recently.

U.S. World Championship team members Megan Romano and Katie Ledecky grabbed the next two spots.  Romano finished in 55.44, just 0.01 behind Weir and Coughlin, while Ledecky cruised through her first 50 before coming home the way a sub-4:00 400-freestyling-woman should (27.53-28.09 were her splits) to touch in 55.62.

Margo Geer, who just closed her great NCAA career as an Arizona Wildcat, and Cheyenne Coffman rounded out the top 8 in 55.88 and 55.95, respectively.

Katie Hoff also looked great in her long course comeback debut, finishing ninth out of lane one in 56.04.  It’s been a big week for Hoff; the 24-year-old now training at Hurricane Aquatics also got engaged earlier this week.

Men’s 100 Freestyle

Although it was announced yesterday the first race of Michael Phelps’ much-publicized comeback would have to wait a couple more hours after he elected to scratch this event, the top eight finishers in the men’s 100 freestyle is loaded with plenty of familiar faces that will lead to a great race tonight.

Reigning Olympic champion Nathan Adrian was challenged over the final 50 by fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte, but the Cal Bear had too much early speed (he was out in 23.60), touching with a final time of 49.98.  Lochte, who sits fourth at 50.25, was over a half second back at the first wall, but closed that gap quickly with some excellent underwater work.

Fellow Florida Gator alum Conor Dwyer took the second spot out of the first circle seeded heat in 50.17.  That’s off his season-best 49.39 from the Austin Grand Prix, but still a very solid prelim swim.

The big (and only, really) surprise in the big final tonight will be Matthias Lindenbauer of Louisville.  The 20-year-old from Dortmund Germany was out pretty slow (24.65) before roaring home in 25.72 to cut 0.07 off his lifetime best to jump up to 5th overall with a time of 50.37.

Barring scratches, Darian Townsend (sixth, 50.44), Jimmy Feigen (seventh, 50.48)and Josh Schneider (eighth, 50.52) will be the other three A-finalists tonight.  All three are training under the “New York Athletic Club” moniker at this meet.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

The morning field of the women’s 200 breast wasn’t particularly impressive, but with eight finalists who are all some combination of Olympians, World Championship athletes, or NCAA champions, we could see something impressive tonight.  Micah Lawrence from SwimMAC Carolina, the only swimmer under 2:30, will be in lane four tonight as the first seed after her 2:28.37 morning swim.

2011 NCAA champion and former short course American/U.S. Open record holder Breeja Larson took the second circle seeded heat easily to finish second overall in 2:30.59.  Alia Atkinson, another former Aggie, was second in the heat in 2:31.86, placing her fourth overall.  Stina Colleou of the University of Utah, the NCAA consolation champion last month in this event, sits third just behind Larson in 2:30.69.

Raminta Dvariskyte jumped from her tenth place seeding up to fifth with a 2:33.65, clipping her season-best 2:33.70 from the Austin Grand Prix.  USC’s Stina Gardell is sixth in 2:33.69

A pair of World Championship Team members, Caitlin Leverenz and Laura Sogar, round out the field.  Both were well off their personal bests, but have all of the talent to put together an outside smoke tonight.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

Following the DQ’s (BJ Johnson), declared false starts (Kevin Cordes, Martin Liivamagi), and no-shows (Tommy Brewer) from many of the top seeds, Azad Al-Barazi from Trojan Swim Club ended up as the first seed in 2:16.40, a best time for the former University of Hawaii swimmer who competes internationally for Syria.  Al-Barazi out-touched Mike Alexandrov, another swimmer who has Trojan ties, finished second in 2:16.54.  Like many other big-name swimmers at this meet, Alexandrov is now competing for New York Athletic Club, as well.

Former NCAA champion Carl Mickelson was third in 2:17.65, followed by three relatively unknown names: Colombian national record holder Jorge Mario Murillo Valdes (2:18.06), Grand Canyon University/Egyptian representative Youssef El Kamash (2:20.40), and Brandon Fischer of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (2:20.96).

Prep swimmers Carsten Visserling (who has many NAG records in his name) and Gunther Cassell were seventh and eighth in 2:21.23 and 2:21.55, respectively.

Women’s 400 Freestyle

No surprise here: world record holder Katie Ledecky dominated the field, finishing in 4:05.27, nearly four seconds ahead of second place.  The 17-year-old swimmer from Nation’s Capital looked smooth and controlled en route to her heat win, getting out in front early like usual (58.38 going out) before settling in over the final 300 (1:01.81-1:02.51-1:02.56).

Becca Mann was one of five (yes, five) NBAC representatives the make the A-final with her second place 4:09.21.  Future Wolverine Gillian Ryan (4th, 4:10.90), future Cal Bear Cierra Runge (5th, 4:11.29), Allison Schmitt (6th, 4:12.12) and Danish multi-time World Champion Lotte Friis (7th, 4:12.66) are the other four we’ll see tonight.

Virginia’s Leah Smith, coming off her breakout freshman season as a Cavalier, finished third in 4:10.23.  Venezuelan national record holder Andreina Pinto snuck ahead of Chloe Sutton and Elizabeth Beisel to finish grab the eighth and final spot in 4:15.31.  Sutton touched in 4:15.85 for ninth, while Beisel was tenth in 4:15.91.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

Results of final heat were not available at this time.

Women’s 100 Butterfly

Top seed Claire Donahue looked great coming off from her recent three-week training stint in New Zealand, finishing in 59.56.  Leveraging her blazing early speed, Donahue was out in a field-best 27.79, and also closed the race pretty well (her 31.77 was the second fastest in the field).  16-year-old World Junior gold medalist Katie McLaughlin and 18-year-old NCAA third-place finisher Marne Erasmus of SMU were the closest competitors, tying for second in 1:00.04.

26-year-old Colombian national record holder Carolina Colorado cut nearly a full second off her seed time to finish fourth in 1:00.48.  Looking back, that appears to be Colorado’s top time since the 2008 Olympic Games, and likely is the fastest non-super-suited swim of her career.

Two swimmers with unique comeback stories filled the next two spots this morning.  In her second swim of the morning, Katie Hoff continued her long course comeback with a very solid 1:00.67 for fifth place.  Like Colorado, that’s Hoff’s fastest swim since 2008.  Amanda Kendall, who made her return at the Austin Grand Prix earlier this year, finished sixth in 1:00.74.  Andrea Ward of Gaucho Aquatics and Kathleen Baker of SwimMAC Carolina, one of the fastest prep swimmers in the history of this event, finished seventh and eighth in 1:01.04 and 1:01.31.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

He’s baaaaaaack.  In the first comeback swim for greatest swimmer and Olympic champion of all time, Michael Phelps earned the top seed in 52.84, with friend and competitor Ryan Lochte just behind in 52.94.  Both Phelps and Lochte stuck to their traditional strategies, cruising through the opening 50, rocketing off the turn wall, and kicking it into another gear down the stretch.  Just to give an idea of how fast they came home for a preliminary Grand Prix race, here’s their splits, alongside the rest of the top eight:

Phelps: 25.15 – 27.69 (52.84)
Lochte: 
25.21 – 27.73 (52.94)
Jason Dunford: 24.68 – 28.65 (53.33)
Luis Martinez: 24.98 – 28.58 (53.56)
Eugene Godsoe: 25.39 – 28.36 (53.75)
Albert Subirats: 25.14 – 28.77 (53.91)
Matthew Josa: 24.97 – 28.94 (53.91)
Justin Lynch: 25.27 – 28.66 (53.93)

Only Godsoe, the second U.S. representative in this event at Worlds last summer for Team USA, was within eight tenths of a second of Lochte or Phelps coming home.  Stay tuned for a bigger breakdown of this event in a separate post.

FAN WATCH:

On a side note, Fort Collins Area Swim Team have had the fans (or fan) of the session so far… Tessa Thull and Bailey Kovac… props to you and your rowdy fans in the stands.

Honorable mention:

  • Supporters of Taylor Shewchuk of Scottsdale Aquatic Club.
  • Supporters of Breeja Larson

In This Story

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130 Comments on "2014 Mesa Grand Prix: Phelps’ Quick Return Highlights Day One Prelims"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
WHOKNOWS
2 years 1 month ago

WRONG: It’s time for Michael Phelps to get down to business in Mesa.

RATHER IT SHOULD BE: It’s time for Michael Phelps to have some fun in Mesa participating in the sport he loves!

jarrettbrown
2 years 1 month ago

Why is the USA Swimming coverage always so horrible? Are they that cheap that they can’t afford the rights to the Universal Sports feed?

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

I agree.
It’s hard to see individual swimmer with only two static cameras.
It’s crazy that USA Swimming which has such great resources cannot afford more/better cameras.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years 1 month ago

The live feed on Usaswimming really sucks today !!!! can’t see an entire 100 free prelim !

jarrettbrown
2 years 1 month ago

I have a high pitch squeal going on. So yeah…

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

Schmitt is back in shape!

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

Romano has great turn and underwater. Coughlin is dying in the last few meters as expected. Manuel looks strong.

liquid4TheGoldenGirl
2 years 1 month ago

lol I know what you mean about Natalie. I love my Golden Girl but it is frustrating to see her die and get passed at the end of 100’s! ;-P That’s a good prelim swim for Ledecky, I believe her PB is 55 low and she is inching her way down slowly to 4×100 relay contention. If she doesn’t make it, it’ll still be great for her 200.

YouGotLezakd
2 years 1 month ago

Hoff missed the A final! 🙁

2 years 1 month ago

my feed sucks right now!!

Congrats to Manuel and Schmitt for being the top seeds in the 100 free

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

I see the video technicians are trying to improve the feed by playing with video angle and focus. Well, USA Swimming should give them more/moving camera to work with

mcgillrocks
2 years 1 month ago

Sounds like they’re having technical difficulties. I’m hearing the camera people instead of the announcer.

Lili
2 years 1 month ago

I see the stream is as horrible as ever. Phelps may retire and unretire 100 times, but the stream will remain the same.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years 1 month ago

What a bunch of amateurs ! How can they expect people to get more interest in this way ?

2 years 1 month ago

Live results are not working for me. Anyone else having this issue?

Josh
2 years 1 month ago

It may be your browser (if none of the live results info works). I know that one from past experience. Try a different browser if possible.

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

You may also need to clear browser history (the cache) for the past day or past hour whichever you last accessed the live results.

jarrettbrown
2 years 1 month ago

Anyone else find it entertaining that the techs have no clue that everyone can hear them or is it just me.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years 1 month ago

they have no clue on what’s going on ….hehehehe amateurs !

lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

51.98 for hoffer

lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

51.8 for Michael Andrew
51.6 for Matthew Josa

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

MA in 51.89

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years 1 month ago

M . Andrew : 51.89

GO PHELPS
2 years 1 month ago

No Phelps in the 100 Free?

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

Those are PBs for both Hoffer and MA I think, and now MA is faster than Hoffer in 100 free LCM.

lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

beat you to it aswimfan

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years 1 month ago

ERvin : 50:77

lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

MA has been 51.4 I think

Flyin'
2 years 1 month ago

He was seeded at 51.30

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

Dwyer will smash it in 200

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years 1 month ago

50.17 for Dwyer and 50.48 for Feigen

lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

Lochte in 50.25
Adrian in 49.98

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years 1 month ago

49.98 for Adrian ! it really looked like they all take it in easy this morning …..

2 years 1 month ago

I think outdoor GP meets are always a little slower than Austin/Orlando/Char.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years 1 month ago

Yes Mel , it seems always a bit faster indoor ….

anon
2 years 1 month ago

why?

joeMomma
2 years 1 month ago

Perspective

2 years 1 month ago

Is Nathan Adrian the only one to swim below 50 secs in the 100 free so far

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

Adrian the only one under 50

TheTroubleWithX
2 years 1 month ago

Ledecky was only .05 off her seed time, which I’m assuming was her personal best.

liquid4TheGoldenGirl
2 years 1 month ago

I believe her PB is somewhere in the 54+ from the LZR/rubber years, and she regularly went 55 textile. But a 56 for her at this stage is respectable, not too far behind the leaders and not one of her best events.

bodybyfood
2 years 1 month ago

THETROUBLEWITHX was talking about Ledecky; sounds like you’re refering to Hoff?

liquid4bothKaties
2 years 1 month ago

DOH!! lol, yeah I’m now at the age where I think my brain stores 2 Katies together to save space. 😛

Dan
2 years 1 month ago

Per USA swimming times search, 55.57 is her best. During the LZR/rubber suit years, the best time I could find was 1:00.97, as a 12 year old (pretty good).

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

Hoff’s PB (in rubber) is 54.28 from 2008 Missouri Grand Prix. If Im not mistaken, that was the first time/meet where swimmers wore the just launched LZR. Coventry became the first swimmer to break WR in LZR when she broke the legendary Egerszegi’s 2:06.62
Coventry didn’t believe it hersefl, and on the same day Coughlin broke her own WR, and she said she didn’t think she went that fast.

What these two ladies said were the first alarm that there was something sinister/magical/different about LZR.

liquid4bothKaties
2 years 1 month ago

THETROUBLEWITHX: Yeah, Ledecky’s time is encouraging as she slowly inches her way toward 4×100 relay contention, meanwhile improving her 200 speed, eh.

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

the video streaming quality is pretty bad.
very pixelated. It’s hard enough to see individual swims with only two static cameras available, but the bad quality make viewing is not great experience.
Only diehard fans would torture themselves watching these prelims with such bad quality streaming.

YouGotLezakd
2 years 1 month ago

Ervin missed the A final! Did not see that one coming…..

Radovan
2 years 1 month ago

For better stream, click on the red Live button, so it shows DVR, and then chose HD in quality section… it shows stram a second latter, but it’s much better picture…

2 years 1 month ago

thanks it worked

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

Thanks!
It’s much better.

whoknows
2 years 1 month ago

It seems as though USA Swimming could budget some money for better equipment – or at least rent better equipment. Hire some professionals. Arena cannot be happy with the transmission…
BTW – I thought that increase in dues was suppose to help with getting better coverage for USA Swimming… who ever is in charge should be taken to task.

Lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

Michael Andrew vs Ryan Hoffer in the D final!

Jiggs
2 years 1 month ago

more like Michael Andrew vs Jesus in the D final!

Lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

Alexandrov 2:16
Vissering 2:21
Ogren 2:22

anon
2 years 1 month ago

Regarding the live feed…it’s not that bad anymore. I just went on..and it’s not static. While I would love a nbcsports feed–even if it’s not live at the time (so as to attract a bigger audience to tv)–wouldn’t mind it stored on youtube in FULL so that no races are cut off. (Anyone see the FULL replays of nbc covered gymnastics competitions on the USA gymnastics youtube channel?)…I’m also sure that’s pretty expensive.

Regarding actual swimming, the live results show Jimmy Feigen is swimming for NYAC? I thought he trained at Texas?

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

What I meant by static is that there is no camera that moves along the pool. As far as I know, there are only two fixed caneras with moving angle.

Lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

2:16.67 for Johnson
2:17.65 for Mickelson

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

No Cordes?

Are you kidding me?

Lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

Cordes not swimming

pvdh
2 years 1 month ago

No Cordes?!?!

Lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

19 heats of 400 freestyle…BORING

pvdh
2 years 1 month ago

Where are you seeing 19? the timeline says 5 heats

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

19 in total.

According to Omega Live timing, it’s 10 heats for women and 9 heats for men.

Lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

oh good they’re only swimming the 10 fastest heats…STILL BORING

Lane 0
2 years 1 month ago

It’s been a long time since Dwyer swam the 400 freestyle

bdg
2 years 1 month ago

Any predictions on Phelp’s 100 Fly time?

I’m going with 51.58 to take the fastest of the year.

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

I think it’s 52 low. But I won’t be surprised if he goes under 52.

Flyin'
2 years 1 month ago

52 high or 53 low

WHOKNOWS
2 years 1 month ago

53.0

anonymous
2 years 1 month ago

Does Phelps have much experience swimming unshaved?

WHOKNOWS
2 years 1 month ago

Wow Leverenz swimming the 400!

liquidassets
2 years 1 month ago

I’ve seen her do that before, it helps her 4IM. She’s also swum a lot of 2Flys for the same reason.

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

IM swimmers always swim crazy amount of events or events that they never/dont normally swim.

pvdh
2 years 1 month ago

I honestly wouldnt be surprised if Phelps has the fastest time in the world this year after finals

RiceOwls
2 years 1 month ago

53 year old David Guthrie into the D final of the 200 breast?

liquidassets4TheOldGuys
2 years 1 month ago

53 year old David Guthrie snuck into D final with a 2:32.2, his seed time of 2:27.9 would have made C final. Only 50 swimmers in the event, but he is 3x older than several of the teenagers he beat. FYI he said on SwimSwam comments that he trains some USRPT and is sponsored by the same supplement company as Michael Andrew, et. al… I didn’t realize that Masters swimmers had sponsors!!!

B.J. Johnson’s 2:16.6 3rd fastest in 2Breast but DQ’d, anyone know why?? Dolphins??

aswimfan
2 years 1 month ago

Ledecky in 4:05.27. easy.

liquid4bothKaties
2 years 1 month ago

Yeah ?Great prelim time! Puts her in great position to go under the world leading 4:03.8 tonight.

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