2017 ENERGY FOR SWIM!
The uniquely formatted ENERGY FOR SWIM! competition kicked off in Rome, Italy today, with key medalists and elite athletes representing Team Australia, Team USA, Team Italy and Team Energy Standard taking the Foro Italico Pool. Not only are the athletes gunning for swift times to add to their impressive racing resumes, but each athlete wins points based on their placing among competitors in each event. Each team’s pre-designated charity organization will ultimately receive financial support according to the final team ranking after the meet has ended, while a portion of ticket sales is also being devoted to the charity foundations selected by the nations’ teams.
Halfway through the meet, the home team of Energy Standard is leading the competition with a total of 222 points, while USA is next closest just 12 points back:
Team Energy Standard – 222
Team USA – 210
Team Australia – 152
Team Italy – 149
In addition to treating the audience to multiple appearances by several of this year’s World Championships medalists, the pool is also hosting comeback swimmer Ryan Lochte of USA and a returning-from-surgery champion in Kyle Chalmers. Lochte is coming right off his U.S. Open appearance just a couple of days ago in New York, while Chalmers has been racing on the local South Australian circuit since undergoing a heart procedure for his SVT condition.
Day 1 Highlights – RELAYS
Team Energy Standard wrangled up wins in 3 of the 4 relays on the night, taking gold in all but the men’s 4x100m medley relay. The foursome of Sergii Shevtsov, Chad Le Clos, Ivan Girev and Ben Proud collectively clocked a time of 3:16.60 to beat Team Australia by just two tenths of a second in the 4x100m free event. Splits for the Energy Standard swimmers included 49.63 for Shevtsov, 48.93 for Le Clos, 49.14 for Girev and a solid 48.90 anchor from Proud.
Australia’s young gun duo of Jack Cartwright and Kyle Chalmers checked-in with their respective first and second leg times of 49.15 and 48.97, while Louis Townsend held speed with 49.79 to hand-off to Zac Incerti who clocked 48.89 to fall just shy of catching Energy Standard in the race. Their final time was 3:16.80.
The women representing Energy Standard in their version of the 4x100m freestyle race also proved a stealthy combination, with Swedes Michelle Coleman and Sarah Sjostrom starting off with respective splits of 54.05 and 52.65. Newly-minted World Championships bronze medalist for Egypt, Farida Osman, was also part of the squad with a split of 55.72, while Dutch racer Femke Heemskerk sealed the win in an anchor of 53.26. Although Team Australia settled for silver, Cate Campbell clocked the fastest split of the entire field with her 2nd leg of 52.48 to show her fighting form.
The Energy Standard women also came out on top in their medley relay, as the combination of Georgia Davies, Ruta Meilutyte, Sjostrom and Heemskerk fired off a winning time of 3:58.91 to represent the only squad of the field to fall under the 4-minute mark. Splits for the winners included 1:01.29 for Davies, 1:07.80 for Meilutyte, 56.41 for Sjostrom and 53.41 for Heemskerk. Cate Campbell again fired off a wicked-fast anchor of 52.81 for the 2nd place finishers, Team Australia.
Team USA stopped the relay-winning streak for the host squad come the men’s 4x100m medley relay, however, as Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller, Tim Phillips and Nathan Adrian proved too potent to not stand atop the podium. Murphy opened with a solid 53.46 split, which Miller carried into a 2nd leg of 1:00.30. Then Phillips fired off a quick 51.45 fly leg, leading to Adrian’s anchor of 48.22. Their final time of 3:33.43 was enough to beat 2nd place Energy Standard by just under 2 seconds.
Australian world champion in the 200m backstroke from Budapest, Emily Seebohm, carried two wins on the day for Team Australia, both in her specialty stroke. The 25-year-old athlete took the women’s 50m backstroke event in a time of 27.68, the only sub-28 mark of the field, and was also the winner of the women’s 200m backstroke. In the latter event, Seebohm stopped the clock at 2:07.86, a mark which would fall just shy of qualifying for that same final in Budapest.
The most dominant sprinter in the world at this time, Sarah Sjostrom, also collected two individual wins to give Energy Standard more points in their column. Sjostrom, who holds an incredible eight world records right now, took the women’s 50m freestyle in a time of 24.13 to edge out Australia’s Cate Campbell by .30 of a second. USA’s Madison Kennedy touched in 24.86 for 3rd.
The Swede also got the job done in the 200m freestyle, where she faced 2017 world champion Federica Pellegrini of Italy. Against the roar of the home country noise, Sjostrom managed to keep the Italian at bay by just .15 of a second to win 1:55.51 to Pellegirni’s 1:55.72. This may be one of the last times the world ever sees Pellegrini race a 200m freestyle and the audience was treated to a thrilling race.
Zsuzsanna Jakabos of Hungary took the gold in the women’s 200m butterfly for Energy Standard in a time of 2:10.09, while Swedish swimmer and ES teammate Jennie Johannson earned the top prize in the women’s 100m breaststroke in 1:07.16.
The only individual win for Team USA for the women came in the form of Melanie Margalis’ performance in the 200m IM, where she led a 1-2 American punch. Margalis topped the field in 2:11.29, with teammate Madisyn Cox just behind in 2:11.64.
On-fire American Chase Kalisz helped keep Team USA in the point mix by winning two individual events on the night. He first took the men’s 200m butterfly ahead of newly-minted world champion Chad Le Clos by over a second, winning 1:56.72 to Le Clos’ 1:57.61. Kalisz’s time falls within his own personal top 10 performances in the event.
Kalisz also proved too tough to beat in one of his signature events, the 200m IM. In a repeat of a race seen so many times on American soil, the Georgia Bulldog took on teammate Ryan Lochte in a duel that saw Kalisz win out in 1:58.22. Lochte clocked 1:59.75, within half a second of where he was just this past Sunday in New York at the U.S. Open where he took the title in 1:59.24, a new meet record there.
As with Pellegrini’s swim, Italian Gabriele Detti was fueled with the home crowd noise in the men’s version of the 200m freestyle. The 800m freestyle gold medalist from Budapest got his hand on the wall ahead of USA’s Conor Dwyer, with the former touching in 1:47.67 to the latter’s 1:47.88. For Dwyer, his mark tonight was within range of the 1:47.25 he posted at the U.S. Summer Nationals, which qualified for a place on the 4x200m freestyle relay in Budapest.
Ryan Murphy claimed the victory in the men’s 50m backstroke in a time of 25.18, but the American saw 17-year-0ld Kliment Kolesnikov steal the show in the 200m back event. Kolesnikov has been on-fire as of late, registering new World Junior Records across the backstroke events. He took the 200m tonight in 1:56.65 ahead of Murphy who touched in 1:57.19 for silver.
South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh scored for Team Energy Standard with his winning time of 59.58 in the 100m breaststroke, but Italian Fabro Scozzoli also hit that same mark for a tie. Italian World Junior Record holder Nicolo Martinenghi took 3rd in 59.95.
Finally, sprinting mainstay Nathan Adrian earned big points for USA with his 50m freestyle winning time of 22.00 to beat out Italy’s Luca Dotto (22.39) and a returning Aussie in Kyle Chalmers (22.47).