2016 ARENA PRO SWIM SERIES AT AUSTIN
Women’s 200 Freestyle:
Missy Franklin was the first swimmer to dip under 2:00 minutes this morning, although she looked very reserved winning her heat in 1:59.65.
Once Franklin broke the seal, Katie Ledecky once again showed that she is the world’s most dominant swimmer. She absolutely crushed her heat, leading from the very beginning and swimming an under control 1:56.
This will probably be the most anticipated race of the night, with Ledecky and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom both on top of their games last night in the 400 and 100 respectively. Now the two champions will meet in the middle. Sjostrom didn’t show much in the prelim, but expect her to challenge Ledecky with her speed tonight.
Men’s 200 Freestyle:
Much as they did yesterday, most of the top contenders were very conservative in the preliminary session. However, several of them took it a bit too far. Maxime Rooney found himself in the C-Final based, four seconds slower than his seed. Connor Jaeger was well back of his potential as well to make the B-Final.
On the flip side, Townley Haas and Long Gutierrez both made their way into the mostly veteran final tonight. Michael Phelps was sharp last night and will improve greatly from his 1:49 this morning. He’ll have to in order to get past the two French swimmers, Jeremy Stravius and Jordan Pothain, who qualified 1-2.
Women’s 200 Backstroke
Quinn Carrozza was the early pace setter in her home pool, breaking off a solid 2:12 that was a nice improvement over her seed. That swim earned her a spot in tonight’s final.
Katinka Hosszu once again showed her willingness to race hard at all times. Hosszu was a little shaky last night, especially in the 400 freestyle. She is competing despite a statement from the Hungarian Swimming Federation chiding her for not seeking permission to compete.
Tonight will also mark another significant step in the comeback of Kirsty Coventry, who put up a well paced 2:10. Missy Franklin will be in the final, so will her former teammate Kathleen Baker. Baker’s time was her first personal best in this event since 2013.
Men’s 200 Backstroke
Ryan Murphy put up an extremely fast winter time in his heat, and that time would ultimately qualify him first in 1:56.37. His teammate Jacob Pebley put up the next best time in 1:57.83, suggesting perhaps that the Cal men were making a team effort to put up strong performances this morning.
Don’t let the six second spread in times for the A-Final fool you, there should be a really competitive race tonight. Tyler Clary did not show everything he had, and a pair of huge (literally) veteran swimmers in Arkady Vyatchanin and Matt Grevers have also made it through.
Women’s 50 Freestyle
Dana Vollmer snuck in a decent swim (25.62) in the second heat. Vollmer’s comeback has showed good progress as she had a pretty fast second place showing last night.
The real action started with Madison Kennedy putting up the morning’s top time. No swimmer made it under 25, meaning this preliminary was still well back from a high world swimming standard. However, Sarah Sjostrom is in this final as well and should get well under tonight.
Abby Weitzel was also close to the barrier and is the youngest swimmer in the final. 38 year old Therese Alshammar just missed making the A-Final with a 25.42.
Men’s 50 Freestyle
Foreign swimmers dominated the top end of the 50 freestyle. NC State’s Simonas Bilis was the top qualifier. Don’t expect him to stay there however, with world leader Bruno Fratus just behind in second. Fratus was over a second slower than that world best set just last month.
Nathan Adrian was also well slower than his world #2 time. Michael Andrew made his first A-Final of the meet. Andrew already owns the NAG record (22.34) in this event, but he could lower it this evening.
Women’s 400 IM
Katinka Hosszu continued to have a nice comeback morning and qualified well ahead of any competitors. She’ll be joined in the final by a strong contingent of international medalists. Elizabeth Beisel, hunting for her third Olympic team, qualified 3rd. Caitlin Leverenz was unimpressive but made it into the final.
Becca Mann is the youngest swimmer to make the top eight. Brook Forde was seeded to do so but slid well back of her entry time into the B-Final.
Men’s 400 IM
It’s still unclear whether Ryan Lochte really has the will to continue to compete at the top level in this event. Although at one time it seemed like him and Michael Phelps would dominate this event as long as they were competing, today that is far from the case.
Still, Lochte still dips his toes in for this event, and he did so once again this morning to lead the way into tonight. Chase Kalisz, who has the best chance to continue the American streak of success in Olympic 400 IMs, qualified second out of the next heat. 400 meter races are usually very reserved especially in the men’s competition in this sort of meet, so expect the two of them to swim significantly faster tonight.