With the USA Swimming Grand Prix meets getting thinner-and-thinner (though, with the next stop this coming weekend in Orlando being in a state that is after its high school championship, perhaps we’ll see a more crowded junior field), it’s always good to see some international jump on board. Especially when they’re fresh faces, rather than just the same names we see time after time who are international only in their citizenship.
At the Orlando meet, Germany’s Yannick Lebherz will swim; he’s almost Germany’s version of Ryan Lochte. The 23-year old German, who trains with DSW 1912 Darmstadt, has bests of 1:56.69 in the 200 backstroke, 1:58.9 in the 200 IM, and 4:14.02 in the 400 IM. That, in the latter of the events, is the German National Record.
In those three, his primary events, he didn’t have his best overall year in 2012 (though, few in Germany did). His freestyle, though, did make a big leap forward, which was an important part of his move toward developing into an integral piece of the German system.
This year, he’ll look to get his primary individual events back on track to where he was as one of the top young swimmers in the world not too long ago.
Though Lochte has moved somewhat off of those events in the post-Olympic era, Tyler Clary will be at the meet and will be a very good competitor, among others, for Lebherz. Simply an increase in his number of races could lead to a better year this than last. He did come over stateside to the Indianapolis Grand Prix last March, but that was about the extent of his racing in the first part of the year until he started rolling into bigger meets like the European Championships.