Austin Pro Series: Day 3 Final Thoughts

by Robert Gibbs 4

January 17th, 2016 National, News, Pro Swim Series

Here a few final thoughts from the last night of the 2016 Arena Pro Series, the first major meet in the USA during the 2016 calendar year.

200 Fly: Adams Still at the Top; Lackluster Men’s Field

Cammile Adams has the fastest time among USA women since the last Olympics, has the fastest time in the US this year, and is clearly the woman to beat in this race at Olympic Trials this summer.

Maybe “lackluster” isn’t the best word here.  Singaporean swimmer Zheng Quah had to beat Olympians Simon Sjodin and Tyler Clary and last year’s winner Andrew Seliskar, among others, to take the win tonight.  But this event didn’t have quite the same pop it might have had if tonight’s final had included Michael Phelps, Jack Conger, and Joseph Schooling, all of whom were originally slated to swim the event.

100 Breast: Both Olympic Trials Races Are Going to Be Tight

Katie Meili has had one of the strongest showings of any USA woman not named Katie Ledecky in the past year, and looked strong tonight as she overcame a field of Olympic and World Championships medalists including Alia Atkinson, Breeja Larson, and Jessica Hardy.  The USA women are going to need a very strong breaststroke leg if they want to defend their Olympic gold medal in the 4×100 medley relay, and Meili, Molly Hannis (who finished third tonight) and Lily King (who won USA Nationals last month), are all trending in that direction.

On the men’s side, Andrew Wilson, Kevin Cordes, Sam Tierney, and Nic Fink all stayed neck and neck for most of the race, which could be a harbinger of things to come in Omaha this summer.  Throw in veteran Cody Miller and youngster Michael Andrew (this may be his best shot of making an Olympic Trials A-final), and it’s going to be a race to watch.

100 Back: Hosszu and Grevers Do Their Thing

What more can you say?  Katinka Hosszu and Matt Grevers picked up the wins here as they continue their dominant runs this season.

Perhaps more noteworthy was that the commentary on the live feed focused on Grevers, Ryan Murphy, and David Plummer as the three men vying for an Olympic spot in this event.  Somewhere out there the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, former world record holder in the 100 SCM and current American record holder in the SCY versions of this event, Nick Thoman, is lying in wait.

200 IM: Can Anyone Beat Hosszu and Phelps This Summer?

Right now, this event looks like Hosszu’s best chance of winning her first Olympic medal, as she won this event by over two seconds tonight not too long after swimming the 100 back.  None of the US women’s times were anything remarkable, although it would’ve been interesting to see what Katie Ledecky could have done in this event tonight, given her remarkable run during this meet.

Yes, Kosuke Hagino is still out there.  And yes, Ryan Lochte only lost by 0.43 tonight after swimming the 100 breast while Phelps was fresh.  However, Phelps is looking much crisper than he did even a year ago at most of the Pro Series events, and even if Lochte does choose to forgo the 200 back in order to focus on this event, Phelps looks like he has the edge.

Should something happen to Phelps or Lochte that prevents them making it to the A-final of this event in Omaha (e.g., some freak injury or rare jungle fever), Josh Prenot is increasingly looking like the favorite to step in.

800/1500 Free: The Legend Continues

Katie Ledecky.  If you haven’t seen this yet, stop whatever you are doing, and watch.

Like many races, the men’s 1500 free was likely a pretty close preview of what the A-final in this event in Omaha will look like, including likely contenders Connor Jaeger, Andrew Gemmell, Michael McBroom, Zane Grothe, and True Sweetser.  Gemmell, who represented the USA in this event in London in 2012 but didn’t do much with it in 2013 and 2014, picked up second behind fellow Olympian Jaeger, with the fastest time he’s had this quad in a non-championship meet.

 

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SwimminIsGood
7 years ago

Conger DID swim the 2fly…and had a “lackluster” prelim swim….and that’s why he wasn’t in the A final (tho he could have swim in the B final, if he didnt scratch)l. No doubt, he’ll be in top form come trials, though.

Caitlin
Reply to  SwimminIsGood
7 years ago

I’m glad you pointed that out. Rowdy Gaines on the commentary even mistakenly said Conger didn’t swim it when he did and placed 14th. Guess people expect Conger to be in the top 8 and don’t look.

Just Saying
7 years ago

1. Zheng Quah was over a second away from the FINA A cut in the 200 fly which does make it a “lackluster” field.
2. Michael Andrew was indeed in the 100 breast tonight and finished almost a full second behind the other four Olympic team contenders that you named in the event. He does not deserve extra attention solely because of his age.

Steve-O Nolan
Reply to  Just Saying
7 years ago

Yeah, I could go both ways on this – I was initially going to say he improves pretty steadily throughout a year, so he could get close by Trials. But, I could also buy it if argued that the rest of the field will drop a bunch more time than he will on their tapers.

But still, it’s definitely his best shot.

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