Day four of the Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara ended the 2015 series, and gave way to some very big swims. Here are five things we noticed:
#5 – MAYA DIRADO THROWS DOWN SOLID 200 BACK TIME FOR SILVER
Although Stanford grad Maya DiRado is known mostly for her individual medley and fly swimming, her earlier days consisted of plenty of backstroke events.
Tonight, she demonstrated why with a very swift personal best time 2:08.50 to claim silver behind Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu. In doing so, DiRado also beat world record holder Missy Franklin in the process. Franklin finished third over a full second behind her in 2:09.84.
This is also not the first time that DiRado has raced the 200m backstroke this season. In Australia at the BHP Super Series, DiRado was a 2:10.40, which was at the time a personal best for her by 0.74 seconds.
With her 200m backstroke success this season, it could point her in the direction of a larger event schedule heading into the Olympic year.
#4 – NO AMERICANS IN THE MEN’S 100m FREESTYLE FINAL
The 100m freestyle final featured something not normally seen at an Arena Pro Swim Series meet: a championship final without a single American swimmer.
Tonight, all eight swimmers racing in the men’s 100m freestyle compete under a different flag. The final was won by Russian sprinter Vlad Morozov in 49.28. Morozov is looking to be one of Russia’s top medal hopefuls for this summer’s World Championships.
Argentina’s Frederico Grabich was second in 49.50. Brazlian Nicolas Oliveira rounded out the podium spots with a third place 49.60.
The remaining finalists included Alexander Sukhorukov, Joao De Lucca, Marcelo Chierighini, Dylan Carter, and Geoff Cheah. With all of those swimmers, a total of five different countries were represented including Trinidad & Tobago as well as Hong Kong.
Brazilian swimmers made up the bulk of the final.
#3 – MARGO GEER DIPS UNDER 55-SECONDS TWICE
Margo Geer has been swimming extremely well in-season this year, dropping under 55-seconds in the 100m freestyle a total of four times now since January. Two of those times came today, as Geer was a 54.74 in prelims, and then later came back to swim a 54.92 for a fourth place finish in finals.
These swims mean good things for Geer, who will be heading to the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia as a member of the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay squad.
In-season, Geer’s best time last year was a 54.91, and she only managed to dip under the 55-second mark once before the national championships in Irvine, California. Prior to this season, Geer had only been under 55-seconds in-season twice in her entire swimming career.
Although she wasn’t on top of the podium, it means good things for the American relays. With so many great sprinters, the women’s relay is now promising plenty of depth, especially with the way swimmers like Geer are competing.
#2 – CONNOR JEAGER PUTS UP THIRD FASTEST 1500m FREESTYLE THIS SEASON
Connor Jaeger swam a very solid 1500m freestyle on the final night of competition, bettering his season-best to put up the third fastest time of the season thus far. Previously, Jaeger was ranked third as well with a 14:58.13 from the Arena Pro Swim Series Charlotte, however he took a chunk off that time with a 14:56.43.
That time is the seventh fastest Jaeger has ever been in the 1500m freestyle, and is the fastest he’s ever been outside a national championships or major international meet. Prior to his swim in Charlotte, Jaeger’s best in-season swim was a 15:00.97 from last year’s Santa Clara Grand Prix.
The only two swimmers now ahead of Jaeger in the world rankings this season are Gregorio Paltrinieri and Mack Horton.
#1 – MICHAEL PHELPS GETS BACK IN THE 200 IM RYTHYM
Michael Phelps swam what looked like an average 200m IM tonight with a time of 1:59.39, but by looking back at the patterns in his swimming career it’s an indication that he might be doing a lot better than what everyone thinks. Phelps has been around that range in the 200m IM at this meet throughout his career, consistently putting up times between 1:57 and 2:00.
Tonight’s swim is the fourth fastest he’s ever been in a final at this meet out of the eight 200m IM finals he’s contested in. He was faster in 2003 when he broke the world record, becoming the first man under 1:58. He was slightly faster in 2005, 2006, and 2008 as well.
Phelps’ time from tonight’s final is a direct indication that he’s getting back into a rhythm of the seasonal plan he’s followed for most of his career. He seems to be right on target in a few events. The 200m IM has been one of the best events thus far in his comeback, and tonight, his first 100 almost mimicked his first 100 from his 2003 world record in the event at what was then the Santa Clara International Swim Meet.
There, he was out in 25.72, and at the 100 clocked in at 55.14. Tonight, Phelps was a 25.83 going out and a 55.46 at the 100.