Despite only 8 events taking place on the first morning of the 2016 Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin, a number of athletes have pulled some amazing event doubles.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable doubles, some of which may wind up being repeated in quicker succession at tonight’s finals:
Sarah Sjostrom: 100 free/100 fly
- The Swedish star’s 100 free is the top seed by nearly half a second, and her back-half split much better than everyone in the field except the distance-based Ledecky.
- But Sjostrom’s true main event is the 100 fly, where she’s almost a second ahead of a field that includes Olympic champ Vollmer. Sjostrom’s 56.72 ranks just three tenths of a second out of the top 10 performances of all-time.
Dana Vollmer: 100 free/100 fly
- Vollmer pulling the same double with almost as much success is perhaps more impressive at age 28 and coming after Vollmer had a baby and took a brief retirement. Her 100 free was only about a second off her lifetime-best, and puts her 3rd behind only Sjostrom and Abbey Weitzeil.
- The fly was Vollmer’s best race post-retirement, and the veteran beat everyone in the field (excepting the world record-holder Sjostrom) by more than a full second.
Katie Ledecky: 100 free/400 free
- A true master of freestyling range, Ledecky qualified fourth in the 100 free with a new lifetime-best of 54.45, an in-season drop that starts putting Ledecky legitimately within range of an Olympic relay spot (with a solid taper at Olympic Trials).
- Her 400 free was as casually brilliant as Ledecky typically is in preliminary swims. Her 4:01.45 blew out the field and actually ranks just outside the top 10 swims of all-time in the event. It’s also easily the fastest time in the world this season (from fall 2015 through present).
Katinka Hosszu: 100 free/400 free
- What’s a list of event doubles without the Iron Lady? Hosszu swam through an ongoing spat with her federation to earn two A final bids. The 100 free has her sitting right behind Ledecky and just about three tenths out of second place.
- In the 400, she has a great shot to beat all non-Ledecky comers, sitting third behind Leah Smith at 4:06.58. That’s only about a second off her her lifetime-best and Hungarian record.
Michael Phelps: 100 free/100 fly
- Compared to his career-bests, neither of Phelps’ times were mind-blowing. But for the 30-year-old to be this strong through a tough sprint double is a good sign for his prospects to swim a full lineup at U.S. Olympic Trials. Phelps was 49.94 in the freestyle, good for 6th place overall.
- Phelps is one spot higher in the fly, sitting 5th, but the best sign was that his back-half split was better than everyone in the field except Tom Shields. It’s worth watching to see if Phelps perhaps scratches the freestyle tonight to go after a loaded fly field.
Ryan Lochte: 100 free/100 fly
- Lochte, now 31 years old, also pulled the same double, with a little more success. His 49.55 sits #3 in the 100 freestyle, and not that far behind Olympic champ Nathan Adrian (though Adrian is notoriously good at saving extra speed for finals).
- The fly was event better for Lochte, coming in as the top seed at 52.58 and showing nearly the best front-end speed of anyone in the event.