2017 U.S. Open: Collegians, Old Pros Highlight Day 4 Finals

by Robert Gibbs 2

August 05th, 2017 National, News


While Ryan Lochte‘s return to competition may have been one of the biggest stories heading into the U.S. Open, his first official race after the end of his suspension wasn’t exactly overwhelming.  It was another 33 year-old pro, however, Arkady Vyatchanin, who stole the show on day four.

Vyatchanin won bronze in both backstrokes at the 2008 Olympics while representing Russia, but has struggled to find a swimming home in recent years.  He indicated last year that he would seek to switch his sporting nationality to the United States, where he lives and trains, and sure enough, he appeared in tonight’s live results without the asterisk that indicates a foreign swimmer.  He was the only man under 54 in the 100 back, with a time that should crack the top six and put him on the U.S. National team if he is indeed eligible (and we believe he is).

Lochte, meanwhile, didn’t fair quite so well in his first meet back, settling for a 5th place finish in 55.16.  He’ll have one more shot to make the U.S. National Team tomorrow in the 200 IM.  He is the world record holder in 1:54.00, and even his seed time of 1:56.22 is almost three seconds faster than anyone else in the field.  So, on paper he would seem to have a better shot of making the National Team in that event, although the questions remain just where his conditioning is.

Outside of those two old pros, it was (almost) all about US college swimmers tonight:

  • Alabama’s Robert Howard has been looking great all week — first winning the 100 free in 49.04 and now anchoring Alabama’s winning medley relay in 48.53 tonight.  You don’t see a split that fast too often outside of a major international championship meet, and Howard, who will be a junior next season, could be one to watch come NCAAs.
  • Ian Finnerty of Indiana came tantalizingly close to breaking the one minute mark in the 100 breast.  His best time from last season would’ve placed him 3rd at NCAAs had he made finals and repeated that time, and that event could be wide open after Wil Licon and Fabian Schwingenschlogl both graduated.
  • Meaghan Raab (Nashville Aquatic Club/Georgia) and Elise Haan (Wolfpack/NC State) both won narrow races over fellow college swimmers.  Haan’s been knocking out personal bests in long course all season, and while she was a little off her time from U.S. Nationals here, the Wolfpack will be looking for the rising junior to continue to make improvements in short course as well they continue to push their way toward the top tier of teams.
  • The Texas men picked up their third individual event win of the week behind rising junior Jeff Newirk, whose 1:48.17 is a lifetime best.  He’s one of several Longhorns who skipped Trials, but that time could have snared him a spot on the World University Games roster, had he done it at Trials.
  • The Texas A&M women swept all three relays with their win the 4×100 medley relay tonight, and the Aggies continue to look like a team on the rise as we head towards the college season.
  • With Vyatchanin no longer need an asterisk, British breastroker Chloe Tutton was the only international swimmer to pick up a win tonight, earning the breaststroke sweep.

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4 years ago

Rumor has it Robert Howard wasnt even rested or shaved for this meet, still dropping bombs like its nothing. He wasnt even suited when he won the 100 freestyle.

Speed Racer
4 years ago

I believe Meghan Raab is NAC/UGA and not Tennessee Aquatics.