Saturday was day 2 of the Speedo Grand Challenge, hosted by Irvine NovAquatics in Southern California, with some great pros vs. amateur action.
The swim-of-the-night goes to Nashville Aquatic Club’s Maclin Davis who gave a great preview to SoCal swimming fans with a win in the 100 fly in 54.63, ahead of coming to USC permanently in the fall. This is a good chance to see where he’s at with his training, as he doesn’t travel to a lot of the big meets like many of his elite high school aged counterparts do. That time is about two-tenths better than he was this same weekend in 2011 (though that meet was the Arizona Invite).
That bettered a three-man final that included Dane Stassi (55.42) and David Seiler (55.62); Seiler will be one of the big challengers, along with Davis, for the final spots in the final at the Olympic Trials.
This was only a three-man final, as Australian Nick D’Arcy, who was a 54.8 in the morning, missed the race while in the bathroom sick.
The race of the night came in the women’s 200 free, where Kate Ziegler and Haley Anderson (both specializing in the longer freestyles) came down to the wire. Anderson led most of the way, but Ziegler’s closing split of 29.81 rated well ahead of her first 150 in terms of speed, and she made up nearly half-a-second to take the win in 2:01.72. Anderson took 2nd in 2:01.93.
Anderson’s USC teammate Lynette Lim was 3rd in 2:03.01, with 15-year old high school freshman Abbey Weitzeil placing 4th in 2:03.64. Weitzeil made her impact in her first year of CIF swimming by winning the Southern Sectional titles in both the 50 and 100 freestyles, but she’s just as good in the 200. This time was almost a best for her, just missing hte 2:03.3 she put up a few weeks ago in a similar setting at the Fran Crippen SMOC in Mission Viejo.
Britain’s Ellen Gandy dominated the 100 free in 58.90, as the only swimmer in the field to go under the minute mark. Trojan Swim Club’er Lyndsay DePaul was 2nd in 1:00.01.
The small Australian contingent at the meet made their biggest impact in the 200 backstroke. As a country, this is one of Australia’s weakest events, but that didn’t show in this meet where they swept the top three spots – led by19-year old Joshua Beaver in 1:59.31. His teammate Matson Lawson, who grabbed second at Australia’s Olympic Trials just two-tenths ahead of Beaver, was also second here in 2:01.39. Ashley Delaney rounded out the sweep with a 2:01.81 for 3rd. He was very nearly run-down by USC senior-to-be Alex Lendrum in 2:01.83 for 4th.
- Trojans’ Tyler Harris won the men’s 400 IM in 4:20.59, blowing away high school phenom Corey Okubo in 4:26.06.
- Joey Hale of the Redlands Swim Team won the men’s 50 free in 23.14.
- UCSD swimmer Alexandria Henley won the women’s 200 back in 2:17.20, though Wisconsin’s Hannah Ross had the fastest time of 2:16.66 in the B-Final.
- Virginia swimmer Jan Daniec took the men’s 400 free in 3:58.59. This is his first meet since becoming an official American citizen in late February – he said at the time that he intended to compete for the US.
- Andrea Kropp, a new USC transfer, kept hammering away at the third Olympic event she’s been seeking with a 4:47.30; it’s obvious that she’s a breaststroker – she split a very fast 1:18 on the breaststroke leg before giving a whole lot back to Haley Anderson on the free; but her butterfly also looked very good in this race, splitting a 1:05.2. Anderson took 2nd in 4:48.99.