After day one of the 2014 Orlando Grand Prix was dominated by internationals, and especially the two Hungarians Hosszu and Verraszto, Friday could be more of the same.
The best battles of the day should be the women’s 200 fly, where Katinka Hosszu and Canadian veteran Audrey Lacroix matchup, and the men’s 50 free, where Cesar Cielo and Bruno Fratus from Brazil will take on the likes of Americans Cullen Jones and Jimmy Feigen, with a few other big names thrown in (Britain’s Adam Brown, for example).
After those two races, the day will roll into the 100 back, the 400 free, the 200 breast, and some 800 free relay action.
Women’s 200 Fly – Prelims
To little surprise, the top two seeds for tonight’s final will be Canada’s Audrey Lacroix and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu. The pair bring plenty of international experience and were able to cruise to early wins in the circle-seeded heats. Lacroix, last year’s meet champ and current meet record-holder, is first in 2:11.25; Hosszu sits second with a 2:13.54.
The third seed goes to Canada’s Katerine Savard, who won the 100 fly over Lacroix last night.
Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz is also safely into the A final with a 2:17.11 for 6th. Joining her are a pair of 15-year-olds: Lauren Case of Chattahoochee and Delaney Walz of Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Club.
A couple more big names: American Olympian Claire Donahue barely snuck into the B final, taking 16th in 2:21.22. Just behind her and swimming in the C tonight will be new Florida Gator Theresa Michalak.
Men’s 200 Fly – Prelims
The men’s race looks like a rematch at the top of last night’s 400 IM, with American Tyler Clary taking on Hungarian David Verraszto. Though Verraszto dominated the IM last night, Clary takes the top seed for the butterfly, going 2:01.08. Verraszto is 2:03.65 in a tie for the third seed with Yeziel Morales of Puerto Rico. The 2-seed is 20-year-old Canadian Alec Page of Island Swim Club.
Florida high schooler Joseph Schooling went 2:04.82 for the fifth seed for tonight. He represents Singapore in international competition. In fact, 7 0f the top 8 swimmers in this event are foreign athletes, with Clary the only American in the top 10. Other A finalists are Luiz Pedro Ribeiro Pereira (Brazil), Eric Hedlin (Canada) and David Arias Gonzalez (Colombia).
Women’s 50 Free – Prelims
Amanda Kendall continues to power her way back to the nation’s elite swimmers. After a good performance in the 100 fly on Thursday, she took the top seed in the women’s 50 free on Friday morning as well in 25.63.
That swim as actually within .02 seconds of her lifetime best, and she’s now posted the three best swims of her career since returning to swimming after an inauspicious end to her college career.
The 2nd seed went to SwimMAC’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, of the Bahamas, in 25.84. Two Canadians were the 3rd and 4th seeds; Sandrine Mainville and Victoria Poon were both 25.9’s. They’re training partners at the club PPO in Montreal, a program that’s been reported as in danger of losing Canadian funding, but they continue to push through with success at these Grand Prix meets.
Melissa Gates is the 5th seed in 26.08, and Megan Romano was 6th in 26.09. 15-year old Fernanda Delgado was 7th in 26.26, and SwimMAC’s Katie Meili was 8th in 26.36.
Men’s 50 Free – Prelims
Brazil’s two top sprinters when healthy are Cesar Cielo and Bruno Fratus. It’s been a while since they’ve both been healthy at the same time, but with both now feeling good and training in the United States, they looked strong in prelims of the 50 free in Orlando.
Bruno Fratus was a 22.24 for the #1 seed, which knocked almost two-tenths of a second off of Anthony Ervin’s Meet Record set last year. Cielo was a ways behind, in relative terms, with a 22.55, but that will still give him a center lane for finals.
Jimmy Feigen was the 3rd seed in 22.69. followed by fellow American Karl Krug in 22.88. Adam Brown was 5th in 22.93, Miguel Ortiz was 7th in 22.94, and Auburn commit Renzo Tjon a Joe was 8th in 22.98.
Of those top 8, only three are Americans, but all 8 train in the United States.
Women’s 100 Back – Prelims
Interestingly, Katinka Hosszu, dealing with event limits, dropped the 100 fly (a stroke that historically is more in her wheelhouse) and kept the 100 back (a stroke that she’s still very good at) at this meet. She took the 2nd seed in that race with a 1:02.21, behind Great Britain’s Lizzie Simmonds in 1:01.31. Both are capable of broaching the minute barrier, even in February, so that should be a good battle in finals.
Another 200 backstroker, Canadian Dominique Bouchard, is the 3rd seed in 1:02.54, and her countrymate Hilary Caldwell was 4th in 1:02.63.
Megan Romano was a 1:03.09 for the 5th seed, and T2 Aquatics’ 16-year old Elise Haan, the only junior in the top 8, was 6th in 1:03.28.
Men’s 100 Back – Prelims
Germany’s Yannick Lebherz was only 5th in the 100 back at last year’s Orlando Grand Prix. But even with a similar time this year, he’s going into finals as the top seed with a drastically different field.
It is not a field totally without competition, however. Arkady Vyatchanin, the man without a country, is the 2nd seed in 56.11; Junya Koga from Club Wolverine is 3rd in 56.45; and Germany’s Carl Schwarz was 4th in 56.73.
Overall, this was somewhat of a lackluster prelims round, but as we saw on Thursday, the men have been saving their best for finals.
Women’s 400 Free – Prelims
Some of the slower heats of the 400 free prelims are still being worked through, but the big stars are mostly done, which includes the top-seed Chloe Sutton. Sutton was pleased with her swim in the 200 on Thursday, and so a 4:12.93 in prelims of the 400 should leave her fairly pleased as well, as it will give her the center lane headed into finals.
Meanwhile, Katinka Hosszu took advantage of the allowed triple on Friday, and swam the 400 free in 4:13.24 for the 2nd seed. Thus far, they are followed by Courtney Harnish in 4:14.99, which is just shy of her lifetime best at 14 years old. Her target meet is likely Y Nationals in a few weeks, so she could do some really spectacular yards swims at that meet based on what she’s done here.
Men’s 400 Free – Prelims
The Canadian Olympic medalist Ryan Cochrane took the top seed in the men’s 400 free, with a 3:54.36, coming out of prelims. He’ll be one of a trio that should push forward in finals tonight, with American Michael McBroom having been a 3:57.21 in 2nd and Hungary’s David Verraszto in 3rd in 3:58.16.
There were a few other young, successuful swims in this race. 18-year old Mexican Andres Alejos was a 3:58.95. The young Alejos has a chance of joining the tradition of one of Mexico’s best recent male swimmers, Arturo Perez Verti, who’s also a distance swimmer.
Women’s 200 Breast – Prelims
A group of 200 breaststrokers did really well in the sprint distance on Thursday, and now they’re back in their wheelhouse with a solid prelims performances.
Micah Lawrence took the top seed in 2:30.80, followed by three NCAA Champions in the 200 yard breaststroke Laura Sogar (2:31.04), Alia Atkinson (2:34.70), and Caitlin Leverenz (2:35.82).
A pair of in-state teenagers came in behind them, with Sydney Pickrem from the Clearwater Aquatic Team (2:36.54) and Olga Lapteva from the Bolles School (2:36.84)as the 5th and 6th seeds. Justine Bowker (Mueller in a past life) is the 7th seed in 2:37.06, and Mercedes Toledo from Venezuela rounds out the A-Final in 2:37.48.
Men’s 200 Breast – Prelims
American Sean Mahoney, who appears to be back at Bolles, is the top seed in the 200 breaststroke in 2:15.30. This is his first Grand Prix meet of the season, and he looks much better here than his last time in the water in January (he was a 2:25 then in the 200 breast at a senior circuit meet).
There aren’t a ton of male 200 breaststrokers at this meet, so Mahoney’s only competition for this title, and the $500 prize check that goes with it, should be Melquides Alvarez Caraballo, who is also representing Bolles at this meet, and was a 2:15.90 in prelims.
Brazilian Felipe Lima is the 3rd seed in 2:18.42.