The individual events at day 1’s prelims session at the 2013 Minneapolis Grand Prix, the first Grand Prix meet of the 2013-2014 season, are completed, and given that we’re only in mid-November, and that this was only prelims, the results were pretty impressive.
In the men’s 200 freestyle, North Baltimore training partners Yannick Agnel (1:34.10) and Conor Dwyer (1:34.27) took the top two seeds, followed by Tucson Ford’s Darian Townsend in 1:34.73.
The men’s side of this meet early on is dominated by two themes: pro swimmers, and international swimmers. Four out of the top five seeds in that 200 free are not Americans.
The men’s 100 breaststroke saw a bit more of the stars-and-stripes at the top of the lineup, with Stanford post-grad BJ Johnson taking the top seed in 53.09.
But Portugal’s Carlos Almeida was the 2nd seed in 53.70. Mike Alexandrov (53.80) and Eetu Karvonen (53.85) were next, and in 5th place, we saw a breakthrough from Nebraska high school swimmer, and Auburn commit, Jacob Molacek, who was a 53.93. That’s his lifetime best by over a second.
In the 100 fly, Adam Brown from the UK was the top seed in 47.29, and Brazilian Cesar Cielo, swimming his first full 100 fly in a long time, was 2nd in 47.34. For Cielo, that’s only a second shy of his best from his college days at Auburn.
Minnesota undergrad Kyler Van Swol took 3rd in 47.37.
The men’s top seed in the 400 IM was Michael Weiss, buoyed by his recent appointment to Team USA for the 2013 Duel in the Pool. Purdue’s Guillermo Blanoc (3:48.70) and Minnesota’s Brandon Hatanaka (3:49.57) rounded out the top three, with Dwyer sitting 4th in 3:49.67.
In the women’s pool (two courses are being used for prelims), the meet began with two Minnesota Golden Gophers on top in the 200 free. Kiera Janzen (1:46.70) and Tori Simenec (1:46.83) were the two fastest in the morning heats, with the favorite Megan Romano taking 3rd in 1:47.07. Minnesota took all of the top 6 seeds aside from Romano’s postion, showing off their deep freestyle group that hopes to reclaim the Big Ten title in the 800 free relay from Indiana after the two school’s great showdown last season.
Cal postgrad Caitlin Leverenz was 8th in that race in 1:48.66, her first of three races in the session. She also took the 6th seed in the 100 fly in a 55.50, and the top seed in the 400 IM in 4:15.85.
Minnesota took the top two seeds again in the 100 breaststroke, with post-grad Haley Spencer touching 1st in 1:00.72, and undergrad Kierra Smith touching 2nd in 1:01.77. Remember that this is their big mid-season invite, so in finals look for swimmers like Smith to try and make a statement.
The top seed in the 100 fly was yet another Gopher: Rebecca Weiland was the best in the morning in 52.42, followed by Olympian Claire Donahue (52.74) and former Division III NCAA Champion Hannah Saiz (54.35). The swimmer from the City of Mobile Swimming Association