15-Year Old Ledecky, Cullen Jones, Stun on 7th Night of Trials

  104 Braden Keith | July 01st, 2012 | Featured, National, News, Previews & Recaps, U.S. Olympic Trials

Day 7 of the 2012 US Olympic Swimming Trials at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, will be one of the best of the entire session. With 4 finals and 1 semi, we’ll get a to see many of the big names, and many of the more compelling storylines of the entire meet.

That includes another Ryan LochteMichael Phelps battle, this time in the 100 fly where Phelps has a decided advantage. But that 100 fly will even have bigger stories aside from Lochte-Phelps. There’s Tyler McGill shooting for his first Olympic spot; Davis Tarwater looking to avoid heartbreak again, and young stars Tim Phillips and Tom Shields trying to break-through.

We’ll also get a Missy Franklin 200 backstroke swim where she still might be in the hunt for an American or World Record. Then there will be the men’s 50 free final that will determine once-and-for-all just how successful Anthony Ervin’s comeback is going to be.

Be sure to refresh, as we’ll be updating with event-by-event recaps as fast as we can.

Women’s 200 backstroke Final

All of a sudden on Sunday, the hype for a Missy Franklin World Record got red-hot. It spread through the major media with apparent disregard from what we saw in previous races. Aside from her 100 back, very early in the meet, Franklin looked under-rested at this meet (intentionally or not), and though she had an outstanding time in the women’s 200 back to win and claim her 4th individual Olympic spot (and 2nd title of this meet), her 2:06.12 wasn’t close to her American Record in the race. That’s the World-leader this year by about five-tenths.

Elizabeth Beisel didn’t let Franklin get too far away from her, and thanks to a great third 50 put Liz Pelton away and scored the other individual spot in this race for London. Beisel’s 2:07.58 is the fastest she’s ever been in textile, and will give her a second race along with the 400 IM. Now we’ll have to see how well she does when she has a much lighter schedule in London.

Pelton was 3rd in 2:08.06 and won’t make the Olympic Team. She hasn’t had a “bad” meet per se, she just hasn’t been great either. Bonnie Brandon, who with her impressive size has a great future, was the only other swimmer under 2:10 with a 2:09.52.

Youth truly was the story in this 200 backstroke; only a single swimmer (Teresa Crippen in 7th) is out of her teens. That includes 16-year old Kylie Stewart in 5th in 2:10.68 – that juts misses her best time by .07 seconds.

Men’s 100 Fly Final

Michael Phelps paced this 100 fly just-about perfectly, and pushed his first 50 meters just as much as he needed to in order to come away with a win in the men’s 100 fly in 51.14. He used his trademarked back-half on that swim (the only finalist to close in under 27.1) to post both a winner and a world-leading time, which basically ensures him the ability to complete the same 8-event schedule that he took 8 gold medals in at the 2008 Olympics.

But Tyler McGill didn’t let him feel comfortable in this race. McGill wasn’t able to pull off the upset, but he did fight for a second-place swim in 51.32.

Ryan Lochte, who would say after the race that he actually trained this morning and was using this “for fun” rather than admitting any designs on a medley relay spot.

Tom Shields took 4th in a best-time of 51.86, including a great second-half. The sky is his limit in his senior season at Cal next year; even though he didn’t make the Olympic Team, with how many improvements he’s made in his stroke on top of the water this summer, he’s going to be nearly unbeatable in short course.

And then there’s the SwimMAC boys: Davis TarwaterTim Phillips, and Eugene Godsoe. They went 5-6-7 in this race, but all of them took the first 50 with blazing speed. They were the three-fastest to the turn, but just ran out of gas. None of the three will go to London.

Women’s 800 Free Final

Katie Ledecky’s 800 free win in 8:19.78, when all of the dust settles, will be the most unreal swim of this meet so far. She went out in a 2:01.67, which is unreal-good for an opening leg. That’s the kind of front-end speed that you only see in textile from the all-time greats like Kate Ziegler, Rebecca Adlington, and Laure Manaudou.

Moreso than every other swimmer in this field, who all swam with a traditional, balanced, even-tempo stroke, Ledecky swam with a gallop. Picture Michael Phelps in the 200 free, only she did it for a full 800 meters. She was generating much more power out of each stroke than one would usually see out of a distance swimmer, and she didn’t crack! She doesn’t have a ton of experience, but she just didn’t crack. She pushed and pushed and pushed, turning halfway in a 4:08, and still having enough to close in under 30 seconds.

And all of this from just a 15-year old. That was the best swim of the entire week. Period. I’m not sure that an American crowd has gotten behind an 800 freestyle like that in the last decade, at least. Her coach Yuri Suguiyama stayed pretty calm until the last turn. When it became obvious that she was going to win, he just erupted and screamed as loud as he could.

She now ranks 2nd in the world this year, behind only last year’s World Champion Adlington, and as the fifth-fastest American in history. She also moved closer to Janet Evans’ 15-16 National Age Group Record in that race; this puts her 2.5 seconds back, and 8-seconds better than anyone else in history in the group. And she’s still got a whole year to go after that record.

As for the runner-up, Kate Ziegler has bounced back in her time training in Virginia (both of these girls are from the D.C. area) to take the second spot in 8:21.87. For a veteran like her, that can’t be overlooked as the third-best swim of her career, and third-best in the world this year. Ziegler is settling back into her old routines with her former program at the Fish after a big chunk of time away, and suddenly the Americans have to gold-medal contenders for London, which it didn’t look like we would be able to say even once at this time last year.

Haley Anderson coming off of her open water Olympic qualification with a best time in this 800 in 8:26.60, and Chloe Sutton was 4th in 8:28.12. Sutton has really focused on improving the power in her lower-half since making the full-time transition to pool-swimming, and that seems to have made her more of a 400 freestyler at this point of her career.

As if a 15-year old winning weren’t enough, 14-year old Becca Mann took 5th in 8:28.54. That breaks an epic, 34-year old National Age Group Record  for 13-14’s set by Sippy Woodhead that had been 8:29.35. That is one of the oldest records in American swimming, and can’t be overshadowed even by the amazing Ledecky swim. In her third final, Mann completed an outstanding meet that is one of the best we’ve ever seen by a swimmer that young.

Men’s 50 Free

The unbelievable session continued into the men’s 50 freestyle. For the first time of this meet, SwimMAC’s Cullen Jones coupled his great start with an outstanding finish, and that all came together in a 21.59. That’s the second-best swim in the world this year, and the fastest that he’s been outside of 2009, which was the best year of his career (suited or not).

Anthony Ervin took 2nd in 21.60, completing his comeback with an Olympic berth. He drove hard at the end of this race and his nearly-flawless technique carried him to another best time in the race, and he will have a chance to compete in his first Olympics in 12 years.

SwimMAC’s Josh Schneider maxed-out at a 21.78, a best time, and Jimmy Feigen was 5th in 21.93. Those five Americans, all under 22 seconds, is a slew more than we had in the whole of 2011.

Matt Grevers took 6th in 22.09.

Women’s 50 Free Semifinals

Just as the American men had 5 swimmers under 22 seconds, the American men followed-up with 5 swimmers under 25 seconds in the two semi-finals. All of the top 50 freestylers made this final safely, including another top-seed from Jessica Hardy in 24.56. She and Tucson Ford’s Christine Magnuson are the top two seeds (Magnuson in 24.72), and both have really made a transition from their own primary strokes to these sprint freestyles, and thus far it’s paying off for both.

Dara Torres looked much better coming off of the blocks in this semi-final than she did in the prelims, and she swam a 24.80. I wasn’t sure that she could really get that low, but she still

Madison Kennedy and Kara Lynn Joyce, who have been training together at SwimMAC just the last few weeks, touched juts apart in 24.96 and 24.97.

Margo GeerKait Flederbech, and defending National Champion Lara Jackson, all from Tucson Ford, round out the A-Final.

Full day 7 results available here.

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104 Comments on "15-Year Old Ledecky, Cullen Jones, Stun on 7th Night of Trials"


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Allstar9
4 years 2 months ago

So is it just me, or was that 100 fly a little slower than expected? Glad McGill got in there though.

TX Swimmer
4 years 2 months ago

Kathleen Ledecky kicked butt! We have a new female distance star.

john26
4 years 2 months ago

OMFG

aswimfan
4 years 2 months ago

Ledecky wow!

She is without a doubt this generation’s Janet Evans.

Adlington better watch out!
I hope Ledecky will be able to at least. re-do this swim in London

gosharks
4 years 2 months ago

Agreed! Ledecky’s emergence has been long overdue for the United States. And a great time by Ziegler, to boot!

aswimfan
4 years 2 months ago

Ervin goes to London!

Although Jones’ swim surprised me more. i really thought Adrian and Earvin would have taken the spots.

Suddenly there are now many contenders for the 50 minor medals in London (with Cielo presumably takes the gold)

Rafael
4 years 2 months ago

Is Craig Lord keeping on with his usual talk? just after the race he writes an Article Saying Cielo in Under Attack… Cielo without being 100% got 21.38.

This Race is Probably Cielo for Gold, Fratus Ervin Jones (Even with me doubting he can keep up with pressure) Magnussen and Maybe Manadou for the rest of the medals

4 years 2 months ago

Maybe a little theatrical from Craig, but he’s the best in the business.

aswimfan
4 years 2 months ago

I agree

IPHSWIM
4 years 2 months ago

Don’t rule out George Bovell – 21.89 unrested at Indy Grand Prix and is flying under the radar and working with the great Mike Bottom at Club Wolverine!

Liliana
4 years 2 months ago

That was a hideous race by MP, dead last at the start. Also, hideous lie by Lochte. Doing 100 fly “for fun”, really? STFU

gosharks
4 years 2 months ago

Relax.

aswimfan
4 years 2 months ago

Lochte has been training his butts off in 100 fly it seems

TX Swimmer
4 years 2 months ago

Lochte claimed he had a training session this morning. True or not he is swimming this meet on little rest and will need to be considered in the Medley relay prelim because 51.65 is terrific!

4 years 2 months ago

Why would Ryan be considered for a slot with Tyler at 51.32 (and with a PR even faster than that?). That would be pretty cruel to take away McGill’s only good shot at a gold to give Lochte another of many, especially when… Ryan is quite a bit slower.

TX Swimmer
4 years 2 months ago

I am just saying he should be considered. If he is on fire in his events before the medley relay in London he has to considered. He has swum the butterfly leg well in short course events.

bbrswimmer
4 years 2 months ago

he should be considered for prelims if and only if mcgill does poorly in london

aswimfan
4 years 2 months ago

Tyler McGill deserves to be on the prelims 4×100 medley. period.

Jean Michel
4 years 2 months ago

Huge times !!!! fantastic Jones and Ervin ! well deserved !

Jean Michel
4 years 2 months ago

Lochte was fast on 100 butterfly ! he will be ready in London for all races ! I bet on him

aswimfan
4 years 2 months ago

The sad thing is the hugely talented Pelton doesn’t make it to London.

This trials must not be a happy memory for her:
scratched 100 back final (which she shouldn’t have), third in 200 IM and third in 200 back.
That must hurt.

Craig H
4 years 2 months ago

Ya, I remember thinking that it seemed like a really poor decision to scratch the 100 back. I think she could have beaten Bootsma for the #2 spot.

Keith
4 years 2 months ago

Anything’s possible but it was unlikely. Her odds were better in the 200IM and 200 Back. Kukors opened the door for her a bit. Pelton doesn’t have Bootsma’s raw speed and turnover. Pelton’s pb was a 59.99 from two years ago. Bootsma went 59.1/59.4 in Omaha coming off a 59.6 last year. At this point I think it’s evident that Bootsma is the consistently better 100 back swimmer and Pelton’s other swims certainly didn’t portend she could be a threat to go under 59.5. Pelton’s best times would have been good enough in the 200 back and in the 200IM especially, not so in the 100 back.

4 years 2 months ago

What mean – scratched?

Allstar9
4 years 2 months ago

The 50 free just blew my mind! I did see Jones getting in just because his meet has been going so well. Those times though? Very impressive I say.

Jean Michel
4 years 2 months ago

Now Jones and Ervin can even medal in London !!! that’s great sprint news

Jean Michel
4 years 2 months ago

5 guys under 22 !!! that’s the best times assembled on 50 free for a long time

Allstar9
4 years 2 months ago

exactly! Medal chances?! I think SO!! USA!

scott o'connor
4 years 2 months ago

Incredible that the two oldest guys made the team in the 50. Great job! Tyler McGill needs to teach them his start (reaction time).

drdov
4 years 2 months ago

Phelps just swam the worst 100m fly he could imagine
Everything that he could do wrong he did
It was a shocker
But he still wins with world’s best
Who else can do that?

4 years 2 months ago

Technically I don’t he was sharp all week but peformed well so I would expect much better times in London as well as attention to detail.

beachmouse
4 years 2 months ago

Nice to see three swimmers with African American heritage onto the team. Hope that it helps USA Swimming continue to build their diversity initiatives and show that world class swimmers have a lot of different skin colors.

4 years 2 months ago

I’m still not sure why we place so much emphasis on diversity in America. We are Americans so who cares?

Eric
4 years 2 months ago

because there is still a stereotype, that unfortunately some people still believe, that black people can’t swim.

Sans Pallegrini
4 years 2 months ago

It does matter and while you may not want to care, the role itself (of diversity in swimming) is bigger than just getting more black kids into competitive swimming: it’s to save lives.

junker23
4 years 2 months ago

Think about the opposite – Not placing an emphasis on diversity would definitely be bad.

Jean Michel
4 years 2 months ago

With these guys on fire on 50 , we can hope for the best 400 free Us relay !!! it is possible .

fatsmcgee
4 years 2 months ago

Being from her hometown I was hyped for Ledecky before trials, but WOW. She doesn’t seem to stop improving and she’s just a novice on the world stage. As Ledecky has proven this week she’s also got some serious speed and is really versatile! Without speculating too hard, I wouldn’t be shocked to see her mature and do serious damage in the 200 through 800 in the coming years.

Also, who could have guessed Ervin would make the team a year ago? Unless you count Brendan Hansen, who really never stopped working out, that has to be by far the most successful comeback in swimming this year. Crazy. Crazy awesome.

Jean Michel
4 years 2 months ago

I agree Beachmouse . Goood observation , great point

Jean Michel
4 years 2 months ago

When i saw Ervin 6 months ago competing in a meet , i knew he would qualify ! His speed skill is unique … and that’s says how good he is ! great talent back ! Way to go Anthony !

bond
4 years 2 months ago

I think Josh Schneider is done with swimming.

completelyconquered
4 years 2 months ago

More money in football anyways.

junker23
4 years 2 months ago

Not for a guy that has basically no shot of even being on a practice squad.

Sure, it could happen, but I’d put it at a solid 1%.

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The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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