Women’s 200 free
Asphalt Green’s Lia Neal is already the fastest 15-16 sprint freestyler in history not named Missy Franklin. As if that wasn’t scary enough, she has now added a world-class 200 free to her repertoire. Neal took the win in the day’s first race in 1:58.26. That’s a career-best swim by more than two seconds, and ranks her only behind Franklin and Dagny Knutson in the age group rankings over the last 15 years. That also pushes her into the top 30 in the world. Some of USA Swimming’s freestylers should be getting very nervous right now, because Neal looks like a strong candidate to make the 2012 Olympic team if she continues to improve at this rate.
That swim also breaks the Championship Record, which was set by Jasmine Tosky last year in 1:58.54. Tosky, who is a Palo Alto local and won the 100 fly yesterday, didn’t swim the 200 free this year, and instead chose to focus on the 100 breaststroke later in the meet.
Behind Neal was Nitro’s Quinn Carrozza in 1:59.19. That’s a huge time-drop for her, and at only 14 she ranks only half-a-second behind where Missy Franklin was at that age. Julia Anderson from Fort Worth Aquatics was the only other swimmer under two minutes, in 1:59.57.
Men’s 200 free
One of Randy Reese’s Clearwater Aquatics Team charges, Nicholas Alexiou, won the men’s 200 free in 1:50.34. He and Finnish National Matias Koski, who trains with the Dynamo Swim Club, both turned on their jets in the final 50 and split 27’s on their closing length. Koski almost caught Alexiou, but just ran out of real estate at the end to earn his second silver medal in as many days (along with the 400 yesterday).
Cannon Clifton, a 16-year old representing Magnolia Aquatics in suburban Houston, finished 3rd in 1:51.91. In contrast to what we’ve seen in most races at this meet, he and Alexiou were the only two swimmers who earned Olympic Trials cuts in the final.
In the prelims heats, Denver Swim Academy’s Clark Smith was the 2nd seed in 1:52.34, which is also an Olympic Trials cuts. He also split a 1:51 in the 800 free relay yesterday. But at about the 100 mark of this race, Smith pulled up in a big way, and finished five-seconds off of his morning mark. Hopefully, there were no serious injuries for the 16-year old Smith, who’s one of the bright young swimmers of USA Swimming. He also had a tough swim to add four seconds in the B-Final in the 100 back later in the meet.
Women’s 100 breaststroke
Jasmine Tosky, using this meet as more of a big-picture competition, sat out the 200 free where she’s the defending champion, swam this 100 breaststroke instead, and surprisingly took the win in 1:10.24. This swim shows that Tosky doesn’t have anything even close to a “weak stroke,” and that she’s only scratched the surface with her 2:13 IM.
The runner-up in this fery tight final was Samantha Pochowski of Southwest Aquatics in 2:10.59. That’s a powerful taper to cut almost two seconds off of her career-best set just two weeks ago at the Wisconsin USA Swimming State Championship meet. Katherine Ross of Central Iowa Aquatics was 3rd in 1:10.78.
Maija Rosas from SwimMAC took 6th in 1:11.06. Despite being only 15, she’s likely one of MIcah Lawrence’s chief training partners at her new training home.
Men’s 100 breaststroke
Curl Burke Swim Club earned their 3rd event-win of the meet when Chuck Katis won in 1:03.31. He’s the best of a very strong Harvard recruiting class, and the Crimson couldn’t have found a better fit. Besides being a top-notch athlete and student, he’s also the founder of his own non-profit called The Magic of Miracles, where accomplished magicians like himself visit hospitals and perform and teach tricks to uplift the spirits of young cancer patients. All swim fans have to get behind Katis pushing himself to a level where he can continue his swimming career after he finishes at Harvard, because he’s a swimmer that we could all root for at any level.
Daniel Le took 2nd in 1:03.76 for Blue Devil Aquatics, the club arm of Duke. In 3rd was Connor Dwyer in 1:04.08. No, not the one you’re thinking of (he only spells his name with a single “n”), whereas this is a 17-year old from Longmont, California. Still, he has a chance to be a very good swimmer down the road, as he was a bit of a late-bloomer on the college scene, and didn’t really move towards the top of his age group rankings until he was 15.
Women’s 100 backstroke
This women’s 100 backstroke final was relatively slow, especially given the youth strength in the women’s backstrokes in the United States right now; Palo Alto’s Ally Howe won in 1:02.77. While that seven-tenths drop is a great time for the her and rockets her nearly 30 spots up the National Rankings (she’s now inside the top 40 Americans), there were twelve faster 18 & under swimmers in the country this year. Of those faster than her, only Kylie Stewart (3rd-1:02.85) participated in the meet, and she wasn’t close to her best time in the race. In fact, there were relatively-few season-best times in this final. Kathleen Baker, the country’s best 14-year old for example, swam a 1:03.02 that was well off of her best mark.
Still, the current crop is a brutal measuring stick for those two 15-year olds. Our whole definition of what 15 and 16 year old backstrokers’ times look like has been totally warped thanks to the likes of Missy Franklin and Rachel Bootsma.
In between the pair, in silver medal position, was 16-year old Lacey Locke from Carmel, Indiana in 1:02.85. Still, the Americans have four 15-year olds who are sub-1:03 this year, whereas most countries in the world would kill to have just one.
Men’s 100 backstroke
With the Bolles School’s Ryan Murphy, the top seed after prelims, scratching this final, this race was wide open. However, much like the women’s race, this final was a bit on the sluggish side. The winner was Luke Papendick of Lakeland Hills in 56.76. He’s the number 12 ranked recruit in the class of 2012.
Well behind him was Joshua Friedel of the Marietta Stingrays in 57.49, where he just beat out Aaron Greene of the North Texas Nadadores in 57.50.
Atlanta’s Dynamo Swim Club had a huge day (136 points) to sprint out to the lead in the team battle. Though scores are pretty volatile at this meet, that gives them a quite comfortable 50-point headed into the last day of competition. Palo Alto sits in second, which is where their senior team finished at senior nationals, followed by Mission Viejo. SwimMAC Carolina, in 4th, is the only other team that seems to be within striking distance of a top-3 finish.
1. Dynamo Swim Club 378
2. Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics 331
3. Mission Viejo Nadadores 300
4. SwimMAC Carolina 267
5. Curl Burke Swim Club 209
6. Aquazot Swim Club 193
7. Bolles School Sharks 163
8. Sarasota YMCA Sharks 150
9. Pleasanton Seahawks 133.5
10. Alamo Area Aquatic Association 122