Dressel Doubles, Lochte & Stadden Impress On Day 1 Of Mel Zajac

2018 MEL ZAJAC JR. INTERNATIONAL

The opening night of competition at the 2018 Mel Zajac Jr. International yielded plenty of impressive swims across the board, including some from the likes of Caeleb DresselRyan Lochte and Penny Oleksiak, along with a massive swim from U.S. junior team member Isabelle Stadden in the women’s 200 back.

Dressel started off his six event slate in Vancouver with a pair of wins, claiming both the 200 free and 50 fly. He was much quicker in prelims in the 200 than he was a few weeks ago at the Atlanta Classic (1:52.41), and dropped a very impressive 1:48.73 in the final for the win. That knocks his 1:51.96 season best down by over three seconds, and makes him the 4th fastest American this year.

Wearing a Mizuno race suit, Dressel trailed Florida training mate Maxime Rooney throughout the race, but blitzed home in a blazing 26.40 to beat out the 2015 National Champion. Rooney was 2nd in 1:49.84, and their teammate Mitch D’Arrigo (1:50.39) was 3rd, both missing their season bests by mere hundredths of a second.

Dressel followed that win up with another in the men’s 50 fly, dropping his prelim swim by nearly a full second in 23.69, his fastest ever at a non-Trials or championship meet. He’s now the 4th fastest American this year behind Jack Conger and Michael Andrew, who are tied at 23.37. Stephen Calkins of the University of Calgary Swim Club edged Sid Farber by .01 for 2nd, 24.51 to 24.52. Rooney won a swim-off at the beginning of the session to get into the A-final, and then placed 4th overall in 24.61.

The 33-year-old Lochte scratched the 200 back final after going 2:03.23 this morning in order to solely focus on the 400 IM. After his 4:30.35 prelim in Atlanta, the 2012 Olympic champ was 4:26.55 in the heats before exploding in the final. Lochte led from the get-go, producing 100 splits of 58.37(1:04.22)(1:12.93)(1:00.28) to dominate the final and win in 4:15.80. This was a statement swim for the veteran, as he moves into 18th in the world rankings and shows he can be competitive in this event despite his age. Reigning world champ Chase Kalisz is the fastest in the world this year, but Lochte is now the #2 American for the season.

Commonwealth Games finalist Tristan Cote (4:22.52) edged out the silver medalist from the Gold Coast, Mark Szaranek (4:24.19), for 2nd in the event, with U.S. junior Jacob Foster 4th in 4:24.80.

The 15-year-old Stadden dropped a stunning 2:08.37 in the women’s 200 back final, putting her 9th in the world for the season and tops among Americans. She came into the meet with a best of 2:11.17, dropping it to 2:10.39 in prelims and then another two seconds in the final. Her U.S. junior teammate Katharine Berkoff took 2nd, also putting up two best times in one day, finishing in 2:10.55 to become the 6th fastest American in 2018.

As for Oleksiak, she won the women’s 50 fly in a very solid 26.59, beating out U.S. junior Gretchen Walsh (27.14) who was 2nd in a new best time. The four-time Olympic medalist also posted the top time in the women’s 200 free, though she did it from the B-final. After a 2:06.42 prelim, she dropped a very strong 1:58.98 in the final, not far off her form at the Commonwealth Games and faster than her 1:59.32 from the Atlanta Classic. Mackenzie Padington won the event in 1:59.01, with 2nd and 3rd place finishers Kyla Leibel (2:01.48) and Walsh (2:02.14) both nailing down new bests.

OTHER EVENTS

  • Florida Gator Ben Lawless won the men’s 800 in 8:05.94, his 2nd fastest performance ever, followed by Cascade’s Alex Pratt (8:10.84) and U.S. junior Ross Dant (8:15.56).
  • Markus Thormeyer produced his fastest ever in season swim in the men’s 200 back, clocking 1:58.14 to beat out Florida’s Clark Beach (1:58.58), who notched a personal best.
  • Canadian Olympian Rachel Nicol (1:08.88) won the women’s 100 breast, with 15-year-old Bailey Herbert hitting her 2nd best of the day in the event in 1:09.11 for 2nd. In the men’s event, Jaren LeFranc (1:03.65) used a big back half to run down Jacob Foster (1:03.91) for the win.
  • In the women’s 400 IM, Kelly Fertel established a new best time of 4:44.46 to hold off Padington, who was 4:45.68 for 2nd. Fertel’s Gator teammate Savanna Faulconer (4:47.27) was 3rd, and Herbert had another PB for 4th in 4:50.97.
  • Taylor Kabacy (17:28.25) won the women’s mile over Samantha Zastre (17:34.78).

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Superfan
4 years ago

Wearing a tech jammer does matter!

Brutus
4 years ago

Locate is training with his COACH TROY who will require him to to the line in every part of his life, his wife and child will serve as great support also. At 36 he CAN be the fastest in the world in the 400 or 200 IM. It will make a great ending to his career in 2020! Go GATORS!

EX QUAKER
4 years ago

4:15 at an in-season meet at 33!!!!

Kristiina
Reply to  EX QUAKER
4 years ago

This time 7d place in RIO OLYMPICS! Lochte rockets back at top. After year-off.

Kristiina
4 years ago

Ryan Lochte made great comeback 400IM. Nearly at age 34(birthday 2nd august). 4.15 is very good time. He made three start including two 400IM per day. He do hard training only 3-4 months. Please upload many video links here. I find livestrean but no on- demand..

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Kristiina
4 years ago

He’s done hard training for about 20 years.

Swimnerd
4 years ago

4th fastest American this year in the 50 fly
Issac Davis was 23.65 in March

bobo gigi
4 years ago

And talking about Rooney, I’d like seeing him finally confirm his promising junior times this summer. He has stalled since his best year in 2015 when he won the US 200 free national title and the 200 free world junior gold medal. 1.47.10 in 2015/1.47.98 in 2016/1.47.47 in 2017. Same about the 100 free. After 2 years at Florida it’s time to have a breakout summer. He has the talent to go at least 48 low/1.45 low.

bobo gigi
4 years ago

Gator swimmers clearly more rested than last time. Great times overall. Sure that Dressel can much help the US 4X200 free relay in the coming years. In 2020 add Haas, Pieroni, Foster, Lasco, Callan, Kibler, Rooney, Conger and even Lochte and you have 10 strong guys for that relay.

Skoorbnagol
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Help it?
What about win the 200free individual?
If ur a gator you swim 200free and 200im.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Skoorbnagol
4 years ago

I agree. The guy swims 14 events (or whatever the number was) fast at NCAAs and crushes a 200 IM not completely rested. He’s our best 200 guy if he wants to be.

Dee
Reply to  Skoorbnagol
4 years ago

Think that’s a big ask – with 50/100free and 100fl… Suspect Chalmers might be a little bit special over 200fr by 2020 too.

Taa
Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Yeah people are getting carried away. 4 individual events and 3 relays max. That’s 15 swims. You don’t want to add 3 or 6 more 200s onto that if he did both 2 free and 2 IM

Skoorbnagol
Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Chalmers doesn’t care much for swimming he already stated he’s finished after Tokyo and doesn’t know who his rivals are. Dressel like lochte and Phelps has the skill set to win 200free. I’m not getting why everyone thinks he’s a 50free guy, 200Im 200free 100free and 100fly, I highly doubt he even does any ‘traditional’ 50free work. He’s just super fast and super talented, he can swim the 50 in 2028. I’m sure he’ll do it as a fun event in Tokyo as it’s at end of week. It’s the biggest risk to lose against fratus and proud when they are fresh. I think it’s easier for him to beat Kalisz / lochte / hagino in 200Im than win 50free,… Read more »

Pvdh
Reply to  Skoorbnagol
4 years ago

People will always be suspect until the mold is actually broken. He didn’t do any speed work for NCAAs until taper before he went 17.63. He was with the IM group all year. I think we are about to see something special in the 200 free this year.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

That Us 800 relay is gonna be special this summer .

Pvdh
Reply to  Skoorbnagol
4 years ago

He might say he doesn’t know who his other rivals are but he is concerned about Dressel. In an interview he gave last year he said he asked Adrian how Dressel does what he does. And I’ve seen multiple other interviews of him saying that Dressel forced him to rethink his methods.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

they could nearly put 2 teams in the final – absolutely Nuts crop of talent

bobo gigi
4 years ago

The US backstroke industry is really something special. Every year new talents are coming. This year Isabelle Stadden, Phoebe Bacon, Katharine Berkoff. In 2020 the fight for the 2 American spots in the 100/200 back will be crazy.

too impressed
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Regan Smith too

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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