Justine Mueller the Latent Star of U.S. Open’s Final Session

The final night of the 2013 U.S. Open Championships in Irvine, California saw more meet records, but the latest was from a name that you all know, but may have forgotten.

Women’s 200 IM Finals

Justine Mueller of T2 Aquatics, who a few years ago was a fixture on the Grand Prix circuit but has been quiet this year, won the women’s 200 IM in a 2:11.06. Not only is that a lifetime best for the 26-year old from T2 Aquatics, it breaks her own four-year old Meet Record, and if she had done it in Indianapolis (where she was only 6th), it would have put her onto the World Championship team.

As it does, it at least should make Mueller’s 2013-2014 season much easier: that time places her on to the National Team, and also into 10th in the world, which makes her eligible for the higher stipend under USA Swimming’s APA program.

Cal-bound Celina Li was 2nd in 2:12.72, .01 seconds better than she was in Indy, and SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker took 3rd in 2:13.35.

Men’s 200 IM

South Africa’s Sebastien Rousseau picked up his 4th win of the meet with a 1:59.58 in the men’s 200 IM. He was out very well in this race, but couldn’t quite put Indiana’s Stephen Schmuhl away like he did in the 400 IM. Schmuhl took a more measured approach to the front-half of This race, had a strong breaststroke leg, and actually finished with a faster last 50 than Rousseau.

The result, though, was his first time under two minutes in this race (he had only been 2:02.0 coming into the meet).

Texas’ Austin Surhoff was 3rd in 1:59.92, and Georgia sophomore-to-be Ty Stewart took 4th in 2:00.36. The top-finishing junior was Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz in 2:01.47: barring something really surprising this week at Juniors, he’s almost assured of a spot on the Junior World Championships team.

Men’s 800 Free

Auburn’s Zane Grothe added a second win to his meet, swimming a 7:56.16 for the title. He swam a solid, even race throughout, never splitting slower than a 1:00.2 and never faster than 59.9 through the middle six splits. He and runner-up Eric Hedlin from Canada, who swam open water at the World Championships, paced very similarly, but Grothe was just a bit faster to the punch and gradually built his lead.

In 3rd was Kevin Litherland of the Dynamo Swim Club with an 8:01.17. Litherland is a high school senior and is entering the recruiting process this fall.

Women’s 1500 Free

Taking the women’s 1500 free was Australian Laura Crockart in 16:08.36. She opened up a huge lead on the fast-finishing Gillian Ryan from NBAC, which Crockart would very much need. Going into the last 200 meters, that lead was around 11 seconds, but Ryan was able to close it down to about 7 to finish 2nd in 16:15.65. She’s swum multiple season-bests at this meet, however this 1500 was not one.

Florida’s Alicia Mathieu was 3rd in 16:16.75.

Women’s 50 Free

Completing the meet in the women’s 50 free was a victory from Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin in a lifetime best of 25.11. Martin is a swimmer who during her sophomore season in Madison, showed that she was on the verge of a breakthrough, but between a 25.15 at the Minnesota State Championships two weeks ago, and then this swim, she’s no longer a ‘potential’ swimmer: she’s a player on the national scene.

She fits the bill of what the United States needs in the sprints, as well: she’s just a sprinter. Not a butterfly who swims a decent 50 free, or a backstroker, or a 200 freestyler dabbling. Martin is a 50 freestyler that goes up to the 100, and that’s her money-zone. She may do other events for training purposes, but the 50/100 is where she lives.

Martin even swam that time with a horrendous .95 reaction time, making it that much more impressive. On even an average reaction time, that swim would have been sub-25.

Another young swimmer, Stanford’s Maddy Schaefer, took 2nd in 25.27, and SwimMAC pro Madison Kennedy was 3rd in 25.34.

2012 U.S. Olympian Lia Neal was in the B-Final, which she won in 15.40, just ahead of Australia’s Alexandra Purcell (25.45).

Men’s 50 Free

SwimAtlanta’s Karl Krug won the men’s 50 free in 22.15, followed by Cal’s Seth Stubblefield in 22.19. That’s hugely-significant, as that jumps Krug up onto the National Team in the 6th position and bumps Stubblefield off (he was 6th at Nationals).

Tyler McGill took 3rd in 22.25, in what is likely his last race as a professional. SwimMAC’s Cullen Jones was 4th in 22.32.

Full, live meet results available here.

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bobo gigi

Totally agree with your words about Ivy Martin and more generally about American girls on sprint.
“She fits the bill of what the United States needs in the sprints, as well : she’s just a sprinter. Not a butterfly who swims a decent 50 free, or a backstroker, or a 200 freestyler dabbling.”
You’re right. You can’t beat Cate Campbell if you are not a sprinter all year. Simone Manuel is probably the pure sprint specialist USA is waiting since Jenny Thompson or Dara Torres.

FREEBEE

the 50 long course is her best event thus far but short course she is stronger in the 100 (for now) and with some training she *could be* top 5 ncaa in 200 (she has a great 200 while not as strong as her 50/100)—

she has “pure” sprinting ability but she also can and will do a lot more–which means I do agree with Jenny Thompson analogy (she was more versatile then you suggest)–the future is big and bright and open for Simone and I would hate to see her relegated to the 50 (100 if she’s lucky) when she has she has more talent then “We” know at this point

FREEBEE

this reply to Bobo is referencing his characterization of S Manuel as pure sprinter (you said something similar about Lia Neal in the past which I also think is just not true)

bobo gigi

When I talk of pure sprinter I talk about 50 free/100 free. Simone Manuel will be great in both races.

PAC12BACKER

Congrats to Karl Krug making the National team. Another former CIF-SS champion doing very well. Also, agree with you and Bobo on Ivy Martin! A pure sprint specialist will really help the women’s team.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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