The City of Manchester Aquatics Swim Team kicked off its very first Manchester International Swim Meet this weekend and the first of two days’ worth of competition didn’t disappoint. The Manchester Aquatics Center has already seen several personal bests and world ranking shakeups as clubs from across the region took to the 25m short course pool in the pursuit of the £10,000 ($15,400) prize purse.
University of Bath kicked off the meet with big wins on both the men’s and women’s sides, with Jay Lelliot swimming his way to a first-place finish in the men’s 1500m freestyle. His time of 14:48.98 topped the Loughborough-heavy field, which included Toby Robinson, Caleb Hughes, Tim Shuttleworth and Roberto Pavoni who touched in 2nd-5th places, respectively after the sole Bath representative. Lelliot’s outing now sits as 2nd-fastest in the world behind Norway’s Henrik Christiansen’s time of 14:37.44.
19-year-old Siobhan O’Connor threw down a quick time in the women’s 200m IM, winning the event in the only sub 2:10-time of the field in 2:06.92. That time is just over a second shy of her 2:05.84 mark, which earned her a silver medal at 2014’s Short Course World Championships in Doha. O’Connor kept her speedy streak going by clocking a new personal best in the women’s 100m freestyle. Although she earned silver in today’s race, her time of 52.58 laid waste to her previous short course best of 53.29 from last year’s Singapore stop of the FINA World Cup.
Tonight’s winner of the 100m freestyle event was Loughborough powerhouse Fran Halsall. The multiple world championship and Commonwealth Games medalist clinched the sprint free victory in a time of 52.58, a time which now ranks as the fastest short course mark in the world this year. For Halsall, her win is the swiftest time she’s put down in the last several years, as her most recent fastest outing was the 51.96 time she clocked in Tokyo.
Halsall’s other event, the 50m butterfly, saw the 25-year-old blast a scorching time of 25.43, her 2nd-fastest performance ever. Halsall’s next fastest result was the 25.29 she threw down again in Tokyo, finishing 2nd to Dutch speedster Femke Heemskerk. The 25.29 mark still remains as the British National Record in the event.
Loughborough continued to get the job done, finishing 1-2 in the men’s 100m butterfly race. Adam Barrett and teammate Tom Laxton registered the only two sub-52 times of the field, touching in 51.31 and 51.89, respectively. Barrett is the reigning British National Record Holder in the event with the 50.05 mark he swam at 2013’s Scottish Nationals.
Another club went 1-2 in a men’s race in the form of Xavier Mohammed and Leuan Lloyd taking the top two spots in the 200m backstroke. Both from Cardiff Swim Club, Mohammed claimed the win in a time of 1:55.39, well ahead of the pack and his 2nd place teammate Lloyd who touched over 3 seconds behind in 1:58.87. For Mohammed, his time today ranks as his fastest ever, knocking over a tenth off of his previous personal best of 1:55.55 from December last year.
Plymouth Leander’s Ben Proud snagged the 50m freestyle win in a time of 21.60, the 3rd-fastest time of his career. Proud was the only competitor to dip beneath the 22-second threshold in the race, which gave his club its first win on the day. Garioch Amateur Swim Club’s Hannah Miley also scored her club’s only win on day 1, snagging the top spot in the women’s 400m freestyle in a time of 4:07.57.
Competition continues tomorrow at 9am local.