Women’s 400 Free
Young Gillian Ryan, even at only 16 years old, is already showing the nerves of a polished distance veteran. In the women’s 400 free, she was able to scoot by two swimmers many years her senior on the final 100 meters to take a gold medal in 4:11.58 (about two seconds slower than she was at Nationals) – in her first non-junior international meet. Andreina Pinto, who is a 20-year old currently training at Florida, took the silver in 4:11.81.
The real surprise was Chile’s Kristel Kobrich. She had the lead at the 300 meter mark, but faded hard on the final lap to take bronze in 4:13.31. The swimmer who specializes in the 1500m non-Olympic event doesn’t usually fade at the end of races like that, but she’s in the middle of a transitory period into the Olympic 800 and 400 distances.
The other American, Ashley Steenvoorden, finished 8th in the final in 4:20.51. She was the USA Swimming National Champion in this event, but it’s understandable because of the timing of these Pan Am Games, into NCAA’s, and then again into the Olympic Trials that she probably didn’t put much in the way of rest into this meet.
Men’s 200 fly
Drama, drama, drama. After about 30 minutes of heated back-and-forth, about whether or not Brazil’s Leonardo de Deus should be disqualified for displaying a Yakult logo on his cap, a successful appeal by the Brazilian contingent gave him a deserved gold medal. Read more about the issue and the outcome here.
As it was though, de Deus’ 1:57.92 was good for gold. Even aside from his cap, he almost lost the race on the final stroke of the race. He went out extremely hard (he had about a body-length lead through 150 meters). The man who is normally a very strong closer might have overestimated that skill just a bit too much in this particular meet, and he took one stroke and a huge glide to cover about the last 4 meters of the race. He ultimately had just enough to take the win, in what was a big-time upset.
The runner-up was the USA’s Dan Madwed in 1:58.52. Madwed hung back through the first 100 meters, made a bit of a move in the 3rd 50, and then really went after the closing length. He was able to out-touch Brazil’s Kaio Almeida, who was in bronze at 1:58.78. Former Florida swimmer Omar Pinzon, representing Colombia, was in contention through 150 meters, but really fell apart on the last length and touched 4th.
Robert Margalis was 6th in 2:01.95.
Women’s 100 breaststroke
Tucson Ford swimmer Annie Chandler used a massive height advantage to launch herself to victory in the women’s 100 breaststroke. The 6’0 former NCAA Champion had a 5-inch height advantage over silver-medalist Ashley Wanland and a 6-inch height advantage over bronze-medalist Ashley McGregor in the race.
As it was, she rode that height to a big win in 1:07.90, which was the 3rd-best time of her career and left her only .12 away from Annamay Pierse’s Meet Record in the event. Her fellow American Wanland, a senior at Wisconsin, capped another 1-2 American finish with a 1:08.55, and the Canadian McGregor, who will be swimming for Texas A&M in the fall, took bronze in a career-best 1:08.96.
Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson broke another National Record by bettering her prelims time, and took 4th in 1:09.11. Future Minnesota Gopher, and current Canadian, Kierra Smith was 5th in 1:10.23.
All-in-all a nice race, considering that the swimmers were on the ready bench for nearly 45 minutes while the men’s 200 fly was being sorted out.
Men’s 100 backstroke
The men’s 100 backstroke tacked up yet another win for the Brazilian men, who have now won 6 of the 7 golds in the meet. They’re on pace to surpass their dominating 2007 meet, where they took 10 golds, though the American men should have a distinct advantage when we get to the 200+ freestyle races.
As for this swim, Thiago Pereira took a win in 54.56 by a lunge. The 200-meter man used his endurance for a great back-half, and simply out-timed the USA”s Eugene Godsoe to the touch. Godsoe’s time was 54.61, followed by another Brazilian medal from Guilherme Guido in 54.81. The other American, David Russell, made a solid back-half effort to earn a podium spot, but he came up just short in 54.87.
And how about the name on the 8th-place finisher from Paraguay in 57.63. It was none other than Ben Hockin, the British National Record holder who was suspended in 2008 when he decided to start competing for Paraguay without telling British Swimming about it.
The Americans are still holding on to the top of the medal table, on the strength of a 7-event sweep thus far from the women. The Venezuelans are having a great meet as well, with 4 medals, and that’s even waiting for National swimming hero Albert Subirats to swim his only individual event (the 100 fly) on Thursday.