Women’s 100 breaststroke
Last year at the USA Swimming National Championships, Jessica Hardy struggled in this 100 breaststroke. She finished in 7th place to miss a spot on the World Championship roster in a race where she is among the 5 best swimmers in the world. This year, however, she dropped the hammer early to prove that she could still swim a big-time 100 breaststroke, despite saying her focus is now on freestyle, and win the gold medal in 1:06.81. Hardy was the fastest in the field in the first 50 (31.02) and fastest on the 2nd 50 (35.77) in a dominant race.
In 2nd was Tucson Ford’s Annie Chandler in 1:07.17, which is the best time of her career and ranks her 10th in the world this year. Headed into the World University Games in just over a week, Chandler, like many of the US Athletes, looks very good in the early going. Ellyn Baumgardner finished a Pac-12 sweep of the medal stand in 1:08.20, which is a career-best swim for her by a full second.
Men’s 100 fly
Coming into this race, the United States already had two swimmers (Michael Phelps and Tyler McGill) break the 52-second barrier, which was more than anybody else in the world. Coming out of this race, they now have four who have cleared that barrier, which is an unprecedented depth of talent. Aside from the rubber-suit fueled 2009 season (in which the US still had only 5, one of which was a 51.98), no country has has ever had more swimmers clear the 52-second hurdle in the same season.
Tim Phillips, an Ohio State Buckeye who appears primed to take a redshirt year to train for the Olympics with SwimMAC, took the win in 51.69, which is the first time of his career that he’s ever gone under the magic-mark. Behind him in 2nd was Tyler McGill of Auburn Aquatics, who had already broken the mark this year with his bronze-medal time from Worlds last week.
In 3rd and 4th were two-more SwimMAC’ers, Davis Tarwater (51.94) and Eugene Godsoe (52.41). Those times are both in the top 20 in the world this year, and are career-best times for both swimmers.
In a battle in the B-Final, two future bay-area rivals David Nolan (Stanford) and Seth Stubblefield (Cal) had a great battle, but Nolan finished very hard to edge out his once-and-future rival 53.53-53.73. Paul Davis of Nashville Aquatic Club, another teenager, upstaged them both to win the B-Final in 53.23.
Women’s 50 freestyle
Lara Jackson is back on top of the National swimming scene for the first time since setting an American Record with her win in the 50 freestyle in 24.98. That’s the fastest she’s ever been outside of the rubber-suit era, and ranks her behind Jessica Hardy (who didn’t swim this race) as the 2nd-best American this year. National-Teamer Madison Kennedy took silver in 25.09, which is the 2nd-best time of her career behind her swim from Pan Pacs last year.
Kara Lynn Joyce, who is swimming her first Nationals since training with Todd Schmitz and Missy Franklin at the Colorado Stars, took 3rd in 25.19. That time is about three-tenths slower than she was at Nationals last year. Stanford’s Kate Dwelley, who’s been having one of the best meets of her career, finished 4th in 25.27.
Out of the B-Final came Liv Jensen with a win in 25.44, and Missy Franklin in 2nd in 25.54.
Women’s 400 IM
Elizabeth Beisel became the second swimmer of the meet to successfully defend a World Championship title at this National Championship mee, when she won the women’s 400 IM in 4:34.78 (Dana Vollmer in the 100 fly was the other). That swim is exactly three seconds slower than she went at World’s, but still gave her a sizable win over her competition.
Stanford’s Maya DiRado, swimming in front of a home crowd, finished 2nd in 4:37.88 for the 10th-best time in the world. That’s a best-time for her by over three seconds for a swimmer who was 3rd at Nationals in 2009 in this race, but only made a B-Final in 2010. DiRado is the latest in an impressive Stanford IM legacy. Her fellow Cardinal swimmers Andi Taylor finished 5th (4:43.98) and Julia Smith finished 6th (44.35).
The top five swimmers in this final were all collegians. Behind Beisel and DiRado were Cammile Adams of Texas A&M (4:42.99) and Allysa Vavra of Indiana (4:43.98). This, along with USC’s Katinka Hosszu as the defending NCAA Champion, sets up for a great NCAA final next year. Even better, aside from Vavra, four of those top five finishers are all going to be just sophomores.
In a great swim out of the B-Final was former USC Trojan Lyndsay DePaul in 4:40.67 for the third-best time overall. This is a return to an old friend for DePaul, as she was the 2009 World University Games silver medalist in the race in 2009, but really put her focus on the butterflies the past few years.
Women’s 800 free relay
At the NCAA Championships, the Georgia women broke the American Record in the women’s 800 free relay. At these USA Swimming Nationals, the Athens Bulldogs arm of the program broke a Championship Record in the women’s 800 free relay with a time of 7:58.14. That cleared the old mark. set in 1981, by over 8 seconds. They took the win despite the fact that the college program’s best 200 freestyler, Allison Schmitt, was swimming for North Baltimore’s 2nd-place relay.
The winning quartet for the Bulldogs was Chelsea Nauta, Morgan Scroggy, Shannon Vreeland, and Megan Romano.
There were some very fast splits from different groups of this relay. The aforementioned Schmitt celebrated her confirmation that she will be redshirting the NCAA season (though it’s been expected for months) by breaking off a 1:56.56 anchor leg for the silver-medal winning relay. Dana Vollmer swam a 1:58.06 third-leg on Cal’s 6th-place relay, and Megan Romano, who is building strongly towards the World University Games, split a 1:58.35 to anchor the champion relay. With every swim, it looks more-and-more like Romano is ready to take over as a leader for Georgia in Schmitt’s absence.
Stanford maintained a small, 5-point lead over Tucson Ford with two days of competition left to go in the team scoring. These two groups, which feature largely-American rosters of swimmers who all represent the programs that they train with, are well out ahead of the rest of the country in terms of the team battle.
1. Stanford 479
2. Tucson Ford Aquatics 474
3. SwimMAC Carolina 321
4. Athens Bulldogs 250.5
5. California Aquatics 218