8 Big Things from Us & You: Arena Pro Swim Series – Austin – Day 3

Here are 4 big things we picked up from the final night of the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin, plus 4 things you pointed out in the comment section:


1. Seliskar rising: It was an outstanding weekend for high school senior Andrew Seliskar, and the 200 fly was his finest moment. Seliskar tied his own lifetime-best with a huge 1:55.92. And while the 18-year-old beat a very talented field (including names like Tom Luchsinger and Tyler Clary), most impressive was how he won. Seliskar powered away early and was never seriously challenged, looking a cut above the opposition the entire swim. That’s the kind of performance USA Swimming wants to see from one of its most promising young stars.

2. Age is just a number: Saturday’s winner interviews were filled with enough “youths” to fluster Schmidt from “New Girl.” The night saw five different event winners 18 years of age or younger: Seliskar, 18; Katie McLaughlin, 17, and Cassidy Bayer, 15, who tied for the 200 fly title; Michael Andrew, 15, in the 100 breast; and of course a certain 17-year-old girl named Katie Ledecky. It was truly a great showing for the up-and-coming talent in swimming, who perhaps took advantage of some worn-down veterans, but also showed they have a place at the big kids table.

3. Hosszu breakthrough: It’s not often that Katinka Hosszu goes winless at a meet. After all, she recently went 16-for-17 on wins at one meet and won 4 different races at the Short Course World Championships. But it took her until day 3 to finally break through in Austin, and she had to come from behind on Caitlin Leverenz in the 200 IM to pull it off. That’s probably a testament to how strong the fields have been in Austin so far, but it was also an encouraging sign to see Hosszu close as well as she did in that IM race – it showed some of the competitive fire that’s driven her otherworldly exploits over the past few years.

4. Katie Ledecky: What more is there to say? Ledecky rolled through 600 meters under world record pace in her 800 free tonight and finished with the second-fastest time in history. It’s January. She’s been focused on short course racing and her high school season as of late, and she had no one pushing her in Austin. She was also coming off of wins in the 100, 200 and 400 frees over the past two days and had a 100 back and 200 IM mixed in there this morning to fatigue her too. And she still nearly broke a World Record. In January. In the middle of training. It’s official, guys and gals: she’s not human.


5. Ledecky’s weakest event: Commenter TeamWeiss brings up an interesting point about Ledecky’s primary events:

Strange to say this about a race in which she is 3 seconds faster than the next fastest woman in history but I think her 800 record is the softest of her three records. That being said, it would be tough for her to break it here but then again she last broke it at an age group meet, so why not.


Our take: A very interesting question! Ledecky’s 1500 free is on a different planet from anyone in history (her 15:28.36 leads any other swimmer by 14 seconds and she’s one of only a handful of swimmers ever under 16 minutes), but then again, not being in the Olympics probably makes the all-time rankings a bit softer. The 400 is much more competitive, given that it includes elite distance swimmers as well as 200/400 types, and Ledecky is the only one in history under 4 minutes there. TeamWeiss seems to make a pretty good case, but this might be a discussion for our comment section to continue.

6. Coughlin’s 75s: Commenter Justin Thompson notes that Natalie Coughlin seems to be struggling to finish her races:

Not a bad time for Coughlin in her first 100m Back in a while. Similar to the freestyle she puts together a great 75, but just can’t finish well.

-Justin Thompson

Our take: That’s not the worst place to be at this point in training. Certainly Coughlin has focused in on the sprints much more now than she did ten years ago, though, and it’ll be key to her 2016 Olympic hopes to bring the back halves of her races up to speed.

7. Michael Andrew’s best stroke: Commenters Samuel Huntington and Sven combined to discuss the primary events for Michael Andrew, a common theme on SwimSwam over the years:

It looks like MA has become a breaststroker, with a very solid fly as well. Free and back are up in the air right now.

-Samuel Huntington

His backstroke was on over the summer and his breaststroke didn’t seem to have it’s old mojo. Now he seems to have figured breaststroke out again. I imagine that once he gets all of his strokes on point, we’ll be in for a good show.


Our take: It seems like we have this discussion every time Andrew pops a big swim. Sven seems most on point in noting that if the 15-year-old can get all his strokes popping at once, the IMs will probably become his most dangerous area of focus.

8. Grevers and the 200 back: Commenter Ole99 takes us back a day to when Matt Grevers branched out into the 200 backstroke:

Back for a second to Grevers and the 100 back. From the outside, I really think the 200 back work helps him. Very similar to what he did leading up to London if I am remembering things correctly.


Our take: We’re seeing more and more of this strategy come out with various elite athletes. Nathan Adrian competing in the 200 free short course as a training test for the 100 free long course comes to mind. Whatever Grevers is doing, it’s clearly working. His 53.27 in the 100 back tonight was spectacular.

Full Day 3 recap here


We’ve been keeping tabs on the team battle between the college men of Texas and Cal this week. There’s not much to report from night 3, but since we did it every other night, here’s one more look at how many “A” and “B” finalists each team had:

Night 3

Texas Cal
Event A finalists B finalists A finalists B finalists
200 fly 0 0 0 0
100 breast 1 0 0 0
100 back 1 1 2 0
200 IM 0 1 1 1
1500 free 0 0 1 0
TOTALS: 2 2 3 1


Though neither team had a full lineup, the final tallies had Cal leading with 11 A finalists and 4 B’s. Texas was just behind with 10 A’s and 4 B’s. Those numbers included swimmers who qualified for a final but scratched out.

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6 years ago

Hi Everyone! SO I know this has nothing to do with Austin, but my kid is looking for a high level short course championship meet to go to in February. And suggestions? He is self-trained since we live in such a small town, and preferably as we live in Idaho, we would like a West Coast meet. We were looking at going to the Texas Sectional (they said we could go since there is only one swimmer), but the meet schedule wouldn’t work extremely well for my son since his 4 best events are on the first day. Plus College Station is just a little inconvienent to go to since you have to fly into a different major city then… Read more »

Sean Redmond
Reply to  SwimMomKristina
6 years ago

You should look at San Diego Swimming They host a prelims and finals meet over President day weekend in Coronado, CA.

Jim C
6 years ago

The 800 is Ledecky’s softest record–but that does not make it her weakest event of the three where she has world records. Her training is focused on the 400 free, which I consider her strongest event. The 1500 is probably her weakest–but the 800 record is soft because of the double she swam at Pan Pacs,

26 men swam a faster 400m final than Ledecky, while she probably would have won the men’s 1500 had she swum that instead of the 800. But I still consider her 100m and 400m double Thursday to be the highlight of her meet.

Reply to  Jim C
6 years ago

I definitely would not say the 1500 or 800 is her weakest event – she does have the world record in both. If anything the 200 is her weakest event (of the events she swims on a more national/international level) because while she is one of the best in the world in the 200, she is still challenged by others and has a long way to Pelligrini’s record. And saying her 1500 is her weakest event… she is the fastest in the world by a huge margin and has absolutely destroyed the world record, with no one even in sight of her.

Jim C
Reply to  Sophie
6 years ago

I consider the 1500 to be the weakest of the 3 events in which she has a WR. She is 10.62s faster than Lotte Friis 2013. But she is 4.34s faster than Jazmin Carlin 2014 in the 800 in a race held in January. The 1500m time is better than the 800m time by a relatively small margin–but that was not true before Pan Pac, and I doubt it will remain true for long.

Gina Rhinestone
Reply to  Jim C
6 years ago

Mathematics! If katie were to have kept swimming after that 8.11. , she would have had to swim 700 metres in 7.05 to beat the Conor in question.

Jim C
Reply to  Gina Rhinestone
6 years ago

USA Swimming listed Nick Norman as winning the 1500 in 15:38.68. I thought I could trust their site, and I figured Ledecky could go faster than that.

6 years ago

Number 4 days that ledecky swam the 200 and 400 IM. Didn’t she not swim the 400 IM on Friday but swam the 100 back on Saturday?

Jim C
Reply to  Daromo
6 years ago

She only swam the 200IM in the morning.

bobo gigi
6 years ago

I said you it would be a night for the youngsters.
Katie McLaughlin
Cassidy Bayer
Andrew Seliskar
Michael Andrew
Katie Ledecky

bobo gigi
6 years ago

Order of events about Katie Ledecky’s power right now?
I would say:
1. 400 free and 1500 free tied
2. 800 free behind
3. 200 free well behind

She said yesterday she trained most of the time for the 400 free.
She also said that her last 3 weeks of training have been perhaps the 3 best of her career.

6 years ago

It seems like the backstroke wedges tend to drop about a half a second off the times.

6 years ago

Michael Andrew broke the National Age Group record in the IM last night. I think all his strokes are already popping!

Reply to  KRW
6 years ago

KRW – he broke the 100 breaststroke record. In the 200 IM, he was a 2:04, and the NAG Record is 1:59.

6 years ago

Let’s talk about what your thoughts are about going to college next year for the senior women or stay with their current programs where they have been hugely successful?
Katie L-to me a no brainier. Stay with she is. Why fix something that ain’t broken?
Katie Mc-
Abbie W-
Too much at stake to take the risk to try something new or different! Also Stanford and Cal have a lot studs already and hard to get the attention and specific work that you need or everyone else needs!! Right now I am sure the programs at home are geared for them directly!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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