Day 1 of the 2015 Minneapolis Long Course Sectionals meet at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center saw Haley Spencer swim a solid tuneup before the U.S. National Championships that begin in three weeks in San Antonio.
Spencer’s 2015 season started out so-so, but since then, she’s been building her speed into the heart of the long course season. After a fantastic meet at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Santa Clara, she started off very fast again in Minneapolis by winning the 200 meter breaststroke – her specialty event – in 2:28.44. That’s almost identical to what she swam in Santa Clara, and her time pattern is almost identical to 2014.
In 2014, though, she wasn’t able to drop much time at Nationals, so she’ll try and change that trend this summer.
Among other big swims, Wisconsin swimmers Brett Pinfold and Cannon Clifton had an impressive 1-2 in the men’s 100 free. Pinfold touched first in 49.99, his new lifetime best, and Clifton swam 50.02, also a lifetime best.
The American men’s sprinters has been a big concern since the 2012 Olympics, but things are starting to round out with improved depth heading toward Rio, especially with a lot of young talent pushing through the 50 second barrier. Pinfold is the 18th American to break the mark this year, tying the United States with Russia as the most in the world this year.
The women’s 100 free also had a good swim, when Katie Drabot touched in 55.07. That’s her lifetime best by half-a-second. She beat out Wisconsin undergrad Chase Kinney (56.21) and Wisconsin postgrad Ivy Martin (56.22).
- Jacob Mandli won the men’s 200 breaststroke in 2:16.17, placing a full second ahead of Jae Park (2:17.28).
- Wisconsin’s Dana Grindall improved her Olympic Trials seed with a 2:12.72 in the women’s 200 fly – a best time by seven-tenths of a second. Danielle Nack took 2nd in 2:13.40.
- Harrison Tran won a nail-biter of a men’s 200 fly, finishing with a time of 2:03.94. That was .01 seconds faster than Sam Wilcher.
- 2012 Olympic Trials finalist Danielle Valley won the women’s 800 free in 8:48.53.
- Chris Dawson from Iowa won the men’s 800 free in 8:17.85.