A successful Olympic Trials test meet wrapped on Sunday, and all reports from on-deck are that it was a successful meet and that the facility is well-prepared for the big meet that starts two weeks from Monday.
Though there wasn’t an overabundance of fast times at this meet, there were enough to keep it interesting, and maybe most importantly a lot of swimmers who were better in the evening than they were in the morning. That’s good practice for these athletes, many of whom will return and try to do the same starting on June 25th.
Kevin Cordes went another best time to top the men’s 100 breaststroke final in 1:01.23 – bettering an impressive field that included his teammates, and 200 meter contenders, Clark Burckle (1:02.60) and Carl Mickelson (1:03.44). GPAC’s Brendan McHugh finished in the top four as well with a 1:03.11 for 3rd-place.
Cordes is now the 5th-best American in the event in 2012. His 28.79 in this race looked very good relative to his competition, but (surprisingly) relative to the best he’ll face at Trials, he actually needs to get out in this race probably at least a few tenths faster if he wants to compete for a spot in London.
Wisconsin’s Ashley Wanland won the women’s 100 breaststroke in 1:08.74, holding off a furious finish from Amanda Beard (1:08.86). Wanland was three-quarters of a second ahead at the turn, but the 200 specialist Beard made up almost all of that ground on the back-half of the race, though she ended up just short. Annie Chandler was 3rd in 1:09.01, and Ellyn Baumgardner was 4th in 1:09.14. Baumgardner has only been faster than that at the finals of Summer Nationals last year.
In the men’s 100 back, Minnesotan David Plummer continued an improbable run toward the Olympics by winning in 54.61. He would say afterward that he was “happy with that swim,” even though it’s close to what he went in the same race last week – and he’s now a week into the beginning of a taper. He did, however, chase down Matt Grevers a bit; after Grevers turned first, he finished 2nd in 54.64.
Arizona’s Mitchell Friedemann was 3rd in 56.20.
Youth reigned in the women’s race, where 17-year old Olivia Smoliga won in 1:01.15. 13-year old Keaton Blovad from the Phoenix Swim Club was 2nd in 1:03.20. That’s Blovad’s best time. As she continues to climb up the all-time National Age Group rankings (she now sits 16th overall), this is the fourth time this season that she’s been a 1:03. If she can dip down into a 1:02 at Trials, she’ll really move into elite company. She’s already faster, for example, than Missy Franklin was at this age (though Missy got really fast as a 14-year old).
Wisconsin’s Beckie Palm won the women’s 200 fly in 2:16.38. That’s a best-time for her by 5 seconds; the Swedish National came to Wisconsin with a lot of potential, and it looks like she’s finally ready to fulfill that. She should be a star for the Badgers next season. Her big finishing kick just overtook an outstanding youngster Bailey Nero, a 15-year old from Fort Collins, Colorado.
- Tucson Ford’s Whitney Burnett, who is back in Arizona after training for a short while in Fullerton, won the women’s 200 IM in 2:16.43. Katherine Drabot took 2nd in 2:19.31; she was a bit faster in prelims, and now ranks in the top-25 in the 13-14 age group nationwide this season.
- Kevin Quinn won the men’s 200 fly in 2:03.55.
- South Africa’s Darian Townsend won the men’s 200 IM in 2:01.35. He got out very fast in this race in 25.63.
- 15-year old Leah Stevens from the Lakeside Swim Team in Kentucky won the women’s 800 free in 8:44.97.
- Alexander Nickell won the men’s 1500 free in 15:50.38.