It will be a slightly different day 3 feel from Ryan Lochte than what the psych sheets indicated; instead of the four-event marathon, including the draining 400 IM, he’ll take on only the 100 fly, an event in which he hopes to get his first big international qualification and earn a spot on the American 400 medley relay.
In addition to that 100 fly and the 400 IM, we’ll also see preliminary heats of the 50 breaststrokes and 50 backstrokes, which are sure to be wild and anything but predictable. Watch for a possible American Record to go down in the women’s 50 backstroke at the hands of Missy Franklin, Rachel Bootsma, or Olivia Smoliga.
Also catch the 100 fly, where the World Record holder Dana Vollmer will try and earn her first qualification for the World Championship squad.
Women’s 400 IM – PRELIMS
Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel has been solid, though not spectacular through two days at this meet, and as of Thursday morning still hadn’t earned her spot for Barcelona. She has been good enough, though, that she remained the favorite in her best event, the 400 IM, where she is the defending Olympic silver medalist, and a good 3:40.17 prelims swim will leave her in that position.
Nipping at her heels, though, is a swimmer who has been out of her mind at this meet: Stanford’s Maya Dirado, who was a 4:40.73 to sit just behind Beisel. If the battle comes down to those two, they swim very, very similar races; Beisel is perhaps a little bit better breaststroker, but the pair overall are highly equal.
Dirado is already on the team in the 200 fly, an event that she admits was just supposed to be a warmup for her meet, and as a member of the 200 free relay. She scratched the 200 backstroke, but that’s one of her best events.
Behind them is Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz, a former NCAA Champion and a 2012 Olympian in the event, with a 4:44.37. We know that Leverenz has a lot more to give – she only beat Beisel by four-tenths on the breaststroke leg. That breaststroke leg is where Leverenz usually makes up so much ground against the field. Leverenz, though, hasn’t looked great since London in any course, and hasn’t been best times at this meet, so she’ll have a tall task with how well Dirado is swimming.
15-year old Becca Mann likely bode her energy in prelims as well with a 4:45.37. Those were the four swimmers with seeds under 4:40 coming in, and where the battle for Barcelona should lie.
Also in the final will be Dirado’s teammate Andie Taylor, who’s having one of the best summer’s of her career; she was a 4:45.67 in prelims. Georgia’s Amber McDermott and USC’s Haley Anderson both made the final; those two are primarily distance freestyles, but double over well into this longer IM
The last A-finalist will be Texas A&M’s Cammile Adams. She’s already qualified for Barcelona in the 200 fly, but this 400 IM is an event that she placed 3rd in at last year’s Olympic trials. If we draw a parallel from her first few swims at this meet, she’ll be just over 4:40 at this meet, which is unlikely to make the team this year.
NBAC’s Annie Zhu and USC’s Andrea Kropp sit atop the B-Final in matching 4:50’s.
There were no surprise scratches of much note in prelims, though Pleasanton’s Celina Li was DQ’ed for a false start. She touched the wall at 4:49.43, and would have been in the B-Final.
Men’s 400 IM – PRELIMS
As is the usual in the men’s 400 IM’s, nobody showed their cards too much in the preliminary session, though the top two seeds went to the two favorites since Lochte’s scratch: Chase Kalisz from North Baltimore (and the University of Georgia) and Tyler Clary from Club Wolverine.
Kalisz has swum two personal bests in two events so far; he didn’t get one yet this morning, but his 4:16.28 is already faster than he was in the Olympic Trials final last year. Clary hit his season-best this morning in 4:17.67, though notably he had to work a bit harder on his last 50 (splitting 28.72) than did Kalisz. That bodes well for the younger of the two, as he’s better known for his back-half swimming.
As mentioned though, in finals this will be a whole different race; Clary will probably have a bigger lead at the 200 meter mark than he did in prelims.
Also in the hunt will be Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss, who is the 3rd seed after the morning with a 4:17.85. He’s another good back-half swimmer, though he showed more of his back-half cards in the morning than Kalisz did.
The 4th seed Josh Prenot (4:18.27) also falls into that category, specifically his breaststroke.
The A-Final will round out with Michigan’s Kyle Whitaker (4:18.65), Florida’s Carlos Omana (4:19.73), Indiana’s Stephen Schmuhl (4:19.73), and Cal’s Adam Hinshaw (4:20.41). The only among those who swam a best time, or even beat their seed time, was Omana, who knocked about a second from his lifetime mark.
Conor Dwyer, as he said he would be yesterday, was a late scratch in this 400 IM.
Women’s 100 Fly – PRELIMS
Cal’s Dana Vollmer, after scratching the 50 fly on Wednesday, looked well-rested in prelims of the 100 fly en route to a top seed of 57.75. Remember if she wins the 100 fly, she can still opt to swim the 50 at Worlds, which is probably why she made the decision to scratch the 50 here (low reward).
This wasn’t a classic Vollmer race. She was out pretty fast in 27.0, but came off of the turn in nearly a half-second deficit as compared to her 2012 Olympic counterpart Claire Donahue.
Vollmer ultimately made up that ground in a big way coming home, though, as Donahue was ultimately more than a second behind in 58.98 for the 2nd overall seed.
Stanford’s Felicia Lee, who is now looking healthy again, was a 59.19 for 3rd, which is easily her best time since 2010. Stanford continues to swim very, very well at this meet, as that women’s program looks to be headed in the right direction under new head coach Greg Meehan.
In a tie for 4th in 59.36 was USC’s Kendyl Stewart after a very good 50 fly warmup on Wednesday and 2012 Trials finalist Caroline McElhany.
Christine Magnuson, after winning the 50, was a 59.38 in this 100 fly. She missed the 2012 Olympic Team, but was the silver medalist in 2008 in this event.
The ageless Erika Erndl, who keeps getting better well into her 30’s, was a 59.53 for the 7th seed, and Cal’s Rachel Bootsma was 8th in 59.84 – a lifetime best for her. Bootsma is best known as a backstroker, but in her freshman season at Cal, she’s put in a lot of work on improving her butterfly.
The defending NCAA Champion Olivia Scott from Auburn (59.92) and USC’s Jasmine Tosky (59.97), who is training with her home club of PASA this summer, were the only other two under a minute.
There are some surprise names down in the C-Final; Tennessee’s Kelsey Floyd was a 1:00.70, as she seems to be saving her best for the World University Games next month. Tualatin Hills 17-year old Michelle Cefal, a former Junior National Champ, was off by more than a second-and-a-half in 1:01.00. Finally, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell, who’s looked so good over the last 6 months in the 100 fly, wound up 27th in 1:01.29.
Men’s 100 Fly – PRELIMS
Ryan Lochte has handled his schedule masterfully thus far at this meet, and he put up another gem in the prelims of the 100 fly. With 10 swimmer going under 53 seconds, Lochte still took the top seed in 52.08 – and once again seemed to do so without expending his full energy.
He was out in a 24.7, which is relatively slow compared to the field, but brought the race home to a 52.08. When compared to other similar Lochte results, he should be out much faster in finals and set a 51-mid target.
At the other end, and barely sneaking into the A-Final, was the defending National Champion Tyler McGill in 52.90. After his race, McGill looked a bit off; it’s not clear if he was waiting to hear his fate, but he lingered in the gutter for a while before he got out of the pool. He’ll look to get refocused on a second life in finals. (Read Mitch Bowmile’s great feature about McGill here.)
Behind Lochte in a final that is anyone’s game was Eugene Godsoe in a lifetime best of 52.13. He’s really flourishing in this new Stanford postgrad group, of which he’s emerged as sort of a leader.
Ohio State’s Tim Phillips (52.21) was just behind Godsoe as the 3rd seed. Jack Conger sits 4th in 52.60, showing his butterfly potential after the Olympic Trials schedule wasn’t as conducive to swimming this race in Omaha.
Tom Shields (52.63), Giles Smith (52.72), and Matthew Josa (52.76) are all tightly bunched as well as the 6-7-8 seeds headed into the final. Josa continues to quietly make his statement at the national level as he’s made now made a pair of finals.
At the top of the A-Final is Cal 19-year old Seth Stubblefield tied at 52.99 with Justin Lynch of the Terrapins Swim Team. Lynch is only 16 years old, and has put Michael Phelps on notice: that swim is just .01 seconds away from Phelps’ 15-16 National Age Group Record.
Bobby Bollier, who swam well in the 200, also slipped to the B-Final. Ryan Murphy from Bolles ended up not swimming this race either.
(Note that there was a swimoff between Maclin Davis and Kyle Gornay for the 16th spot in the men’s 100 fly. They tied again. Improbable.)
Women’s 50 Breast – PRELIMS
It is easily forgotten since the suits went away and American attentions have diverted from the stroke 50’s, but Jessica Hardy is still the best 50 breaststroker in history (though the young Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte is fighting hard for that crown).
Hardy was a 30.39 in this winner-takes-all 50 meter race, ahead of Breeja Larson in 30.76. That time puts Hardy 2nd in the world this year, only behind the aforementioned Meilutyte.
Some more great sprint breaststrokers are behind the two, with USC’s Kasey Carlson touching for the 3rd seed in 31.09 and Tennessee’s Molly Hannis 4th in 31.22.
29-year old Megan Jendrick, who is a former Olympic champion and has since become a mother, is 5th in 31.35. Wisconsin’s Ashley Wanland (31.37), Columbia’s Katie Meili (31.77), and Texas’ Laura Sogar (31.85) round out the A-Final.
Men’s 50 Breast – PRELIMS
Three Arizona Wildcats are in the A-Final of this 50 breaststroke, led by a new U.S. Open Record from Kevin Steel in 27.33. His Arizona undergrad teammate Kevin Cordes (27.39) wasn’t very far behind, and their now post-graduate teammate Carl Mickelson is 8th in 28.57.
In between is a smattering of swimmers from across the country. Mike Alexandrov is 3rd in 27.80; Tennessee post-grad Brad Craig is 4th in 27.93, and Georgia’s Nic Fink is 5th in 28.25.
Mark Gangloff, who was the old U.S. Open Record holder (and still holds the American Record) is 6th in 28.33, while Stanford’s BJ Johnson, who is already on the team, is 8th in 28.57.
There was also a three-way tie for 9th between Michael Nelson, chuck Katis, and Nelson Westby at 28.59.
Women’s 50 Back – PRELIMS
If there’s one American Record that seemed destined to go down coming into this meet, it was this 50 backstroke. In Prelims, Cal’s Olympian Rachel Bootsma came dangerously close to getting it with a 27.82, which is just .02 seconds away from the mark by the great Hayley McGregory.
Behind her in 2nd was her future teammate Missy Franklin of the Colorado Stars in 28.15. This reminds us of Bootsma’s importance to Cal even in a group clogged by the likes of Franklin and Liz Pelton.
A third Cal swimmer, Cindy Tran, sits 4th in 26.80, all wrapped around Texas’ Sarah Denninghoff in 28.31. Denninghoff has been snapped to life at this meet by her second chance in the 200 backstroke (where scratches pulled her into the A-Final).
SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker is 5th in 28.65, followed by Fresno State’s Cheyenne Coffman (28.89) and USC’s Kendyl Stewart (29.10).
Michigan sophomore-to-be Ali DeLoof was the 8th finalist in 29.11; it was a family affair for the DeLoofs as 17-year old Catherine was 29th in 29.90 and 17-year old Gabrielle was 36th in 30.54.
Olivis Smoliga was 13th in 29.28 and will swim out of the B-Final.
Men’s 50 Back – PRELIMS
David Plummer, in his first real taste at his primary sprint backstroke, looked very good in the 50 back prelims with a 24.80 for the top seed. That’s again close to a U.S. Open Record, missing Ben Hesen’s mark by less than a tenth.
Tucson Ford’s Matt Grevers took 2nd in 24.98; those two will square off again in the 100 back later in the meet, and will be the favorites with both looking very good.
Adam Mania, a player/coach of the Schroeder YMCA, is the 3rd seed in 25.13. As we discussed with Eugene Godsoe (6th seed here-25.30) in the 50 fly, Mania has done a lot of these 50 meter stroke races as compared to most Americans, including a trip of his own down to Brazil last year. Don’t sleep on that fact in finals.
Shane Ryan is 5th in 25.24; he will be of huge value to Penn State after sitting out his freshman championship season last year.
Randall Bal is 7th in 25.32 (he’s the American Record holder), and Arizona’s Mitchell Friedemann, originally from the same Schroeder Y team as Mania, is 8th in 25.61.