This morning, Caitlin Leverenz (USA) battled with Canadian youngster Sydney Pickrem for the top seed in the 200 IM, ultimately edging her 2:11.04 to 2:11.16 for that honor. In the final, Leverenz looked powerful for the entire race and came away with the win at 2:10.51, which brings her prelims record of 2:11.04 down under 2:11.
Leverenz’ comparative splits:
Prelims: 28.45/33.93/37.45/31.21 = 2:11.04
Finals: 28.14/33.05/37.31/32.01 = 2:10.51
She was slightly better in finals on the fly and the breast legs of her race, but the real difference maker for Leverenz was the backstroke leg. Noticeably, Pickrem went into the 100 mark dead even with Leverenz thanks to a strong backstroke leg, but in finals, Leverenz only gave up .11 to the Canadian and powered away on the breast leg. Had she finished as strong as she did this morning, Leverenz would have dipped below 2:10.
This ties Leverenz’ 9th best time ever, and it slides her up from #7 in the world this year to #5, just behind fellow American Melanie Margalis.
Winning silver by a fingernail was American teenager Meghan Small in 2:11.26 over Pickrem’s 2:11.29; Small led by .14 at halfway, then by just .02 at the 150 mark, and out-split Pickrem by .02 on the freestyle to claim silver and a new best time by nearly eight tenths. Pickrem settled for bronze, her 2nd medal of the meet after winning silver in the 400 IM behind Leverenz.