The first night of the 2013 Austin Grand Prix was fast (both by the stopwatch and by the wall-clock), but even with such a small entry list, it was thick with Olympians and Olympic medalists. Keep in mind that this was the first meet where the new prize money was in effect (though Minneapolis medalists were awarded after-the-fact), meaning $500 went to each race winner, $300 to each runner-up, and $100 to each third-place finisher, assuming the athletes are remaining as amateurs.
Women’s 100 Free
American high school star Missy Franklin dominated the women’s 100 free in finals just as she did in prelims, winning in 54.68 – a very good time for this early in the year. This is the second-straight season in which Franklin has been very quick (46-mid) at this season-opening Austin Grand Prix, showing that even with the distractions of her senior year of high school and the post-Olympic hoopla, she’s still finding focus to do the work that she needs to do in the pool.
16-year old Simone Manuel took 2nd in 55.52, followed by SMU swimmer Nathalie Lindborg in 56.16. Both Manuel and Lindborg took the race out very fast (this is something that the latter commonly does), but it was the much younger American who held on for a runner-up finish. Lindborg’s teammate, Isabella Arcila, was 4th in 56.48; with three in the top six of this race, it’s clear why SMU is so confident headed into this year’s Championship season that they’ll be able to match or even improve-upon their impressive 16th place finish at NCAA’s last year.
Men’s 100 Free
Nathan Adrian dropped another one-up on his newfound Australian rival James Magnussen by posting a 48.32 win in this 100 free; that swim just edged out Magnussen’s 48.39 from earlier in the day (at the BHP Aquatic Super Series) as the fastest time in the world early in 2013, though both swims are quite impressive for January.
For Adrian, that not only dropped a Meet Record, but it also took down a legendary Pool Record from all the way back in 1988 – one owned by another Cal Bear, Matt Biondi, at 48.42. Biondi’s swim stood as the American Record for over a decade, so this is no small-change pool mark at the Texas Swim Center.
Texas post-grad and volunteer assistant Ricky Berens was the only other swimmer under 50 seconds in the race, as he took a runner-up spot in 49.35; that won him the $300 second-place prize and knocked his teammate Jimmy Feigen to 3rd in 50.01.
Matt Grevers was next in line in 50.01, followed by Anthony Ervin (50.49). Ryan Lochte won the B-Final in 51.09.
Women’s 200 Breaststroke
The SMU women continued to excel at this meet as sophomore Rachel Nicol won the women’s 200 breaststroke easily in 2:28.79. That’s her best time by more than a second, which thrusts yet another breaststroker into the ranks of the Canadian elites.
She was the only swimmer under 2:30 in a 5-woman final; 14-year old American Allie Szekely was 3rd in 2:32.68.
Men’s 200 Breaststroke
In the first big upset of the weekend, PASA professional BJ Johnson upset the National Teamers with a 2:13.02 to win the men’s 200 breaststroke. That ranks as the 5th-best swim of his career already, and as the fastest outside of a National Championship meet. If he’s on a normal training cycle right now, then this could be a big year for Johnson.
The two men he out-touched to top the podium were 2012 U.S. Olympian Clark Burckle (2:13.36) and National Team member and former Olympian Mike Alexandrov (2:13.97). Johnson was just a little bit better on the back-half of his race (specifically with a great third 50) to overtake his competitors for the victory.
Israeli Imri Ganiel, who will hope to swim for Texas next fall, took 4th in 2:19.81; New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders was 5th in 2:21.15. Former Texas swimmer Nick D’Innocenzo looked better in the B-Final than he did in the prelims and finished 9th in 2:24.88.
Women’s 400 Free
Chloe Sutton has said many times in the past at mid-season meets that her goal is to negative split these middle-distance races. She did it in prelims, and though there was no public declaration of her intent this time, she very nearly did it in the final as she took a good win in 4:09.35. Her splits ran 2:04.5-2:04.8, very nearly hitting it even in each direction.
With women’s middle distance swimming taking a big leap forward in the last two years, it’s now more the norm than the exception to see swimmers going under 4:10 unrested in this event; impressive considering that as recently as 2007, only three American women, period, were under that barrier.
Canadian Barbara Jardin in 4:10.27. She held with Sutton very well in this race, until the final 80 meters or so where Sutton inched away just enough to create a visible margin at the finish. 16-year old Quinn Carrozza from the host-team Longhorn Aquatics, finished 3rd in 4:11.16, followed by Missy Franklin in 4:12.56.
Kate Ziegler, one of the aforementioned three to go under 4:10 in this race in 2007, couldn’t do it here as she finished 6th in 4:14.46.
Men’s 400 Free
Canadian Ryan Cochrane built up just enough of a lead in this men’s 400 to hold off the famously-furious finish of Texas Longhorn Michael McBroom in this 400 free 3:52.07-3:52.41. It looked like McBroom was ready to make his move as he neared the last turn, but then Cochrane found one last bit of afterburner to hang on for the win.
Michael Klueh, who is starting to wind back up after a good short course meters season in Europe (that culminated with the Short Course World Championships) took third-place for a $100 check in 3:54.82. His new training partner Tyler Clary was 4th in 3:55.16.
Women’s 100 Fly
Just like she was in prelims, Canada’s diminutive Noemie Thomas was the only swimmer to break a minute in this women’s 100 fly final, swimming a 58.88 for victory. The swimmer, whose best race is the 50 fly but who is becoming really dangerous in this 100 as well, took the swim out very hard and didn’t let up to cruise to victory.
Her countrymate Audrey Lacroix, swimming now in her 30’s, was 2nd in 1:00.14.
Men’s 100 Fly
Stanford volunteer assistant Eugene Godsoe is having a great winter so far, though much of it has been in short course and most of it has been in backstroke. His first win of the 2013 season on Friday was neither of those, however, as he won the 100 fly in 53.54 to out-touch the more pure butterfliers Bobby Bollier (53.57) and Dan Madwed (53.77).
Ryan Lochte was 4th in 54.14.