Minneapolis PSS Day 1 Analysis: Vollmer Backs Off 1st 50 and Improves

2015 ARENA PRO SWIM SERIES MINNEAPOLIS

VOLLMER EASES BACK ON THE FIRST 50 AND DROPS A POST-BREAK BEST

American record holder and former world record holder Dana Vollmer has made her big return to the sport after a break to have her first son. She was out very fast again tonight, but still backed off considerably compared to how fast she was this morning. Today in prelims, Vollmer was under WR pace after a blazing first 50 of 25.84, which is the #4 fastest American time in the 50 fly behind Dara Torres, Kelsi Worrell, and Vollmer herself. She couldn’t hold that for the rest of the 100, and tonight she took it out conservatively in 26.99 (when you’re the first woman to break 56 seconds in the 100 LCM fly, you have the creds to take a 100 fly out in a 26 and have it be considered conservative) with a much stronger back half to finish 2nd overall behind Worrell. Check out Vollmer’s splits below:

Vollmer, 100 fly prelims: 25.84 (under WR pace)/32.38 = 58.22

Vollmer, 100 fly finals: 26.99/31.08 = 58.07

In her first meet back from her break at the LA Invite in July, she posted a 1:00.05. Next, at U.S. Nationals, she touched 58.94. Now, she’s chipped her way down to a 58.07. International competition aside, Vollmer has very quickly pushed herself into great shape, and looks to be a favorite along with Worrell going into Olympic Trials. Worrell, meanwhile, dropped a 57.91 to win the race and re-set her own pool record from prelims which shattered Jenny Thompson‘s old mark of 58.15, set in 1999.

MISSY’S LOOKING STRONG, AND LEDECKY’S LOOKING STRONGER

Missy Franklin absolutely rocked the 2015 NCAAs last spring, her meet undoubtedly highlighted by her jaw-dropping performance in the 200 free that annihilated NCAA, American, and U.S. Open records and made her the first woman to break 1:40 in a 200 SCY free. After finishing up her sophomore year at Cal and going pro, she moved back to train with Todd Schmitz and the Colorado STARS. Franklin didn’t perform at her 2012 and 2013 elite level this summer, and wasn’t particularly impressive this fall at FINA World Cup meets.

Today, however, she put up a 1:56.73 which ranks her 4th in the world and is her first time under 1:57 this season. Her previous best was a 1:57.39 from late September. As Rio gets closer, we may see Franklin registering more impressive times as she continues to focus on long course with Schmitz, who coached her to Olympic stardom in 2012.

Katie Ledecky, meanwhile, slipped past Katinka Hosszu‘s world-leading time, dropping a 1:55.37 to win the event easily. Ledecky is coming off a weekend where she swam a 4:27.21 in her 500 free which is the 2nd fastest time ever done behind, of course, herself. She was very close to the 4:26.58 she swam in February, and it looks as though any sort of fatigue she might have experienced last weekend or through travel to Minnesota did little to nothing to slow her down today.

PHELPS BEATS HIS PRELIMS TIMES IN TOUGH DOUBLE

Michael Phelps was unable to make the A final this morning in the 200 free, but managed to lop off almost a full second in finals to finish 10th overall at 1:50.39. Later, he swam the 100 fly A final, where his 52.99 was good enough for 3rd. His 27.95 back half was the 2nd-fastest in the race behind champion Giles Smith (24.67/27.90). Phelps dropped just over seven tenths from his 100 fly in prelims.

Phelps made most of his improvements on the front half of his races tonight. He was out in 53.99 in the 200 free prelims, and tonight went out in 53.13 and still held it together all the way through the finish. Meanwhile, in the 100 fly, his first 50 of 25.64 this morning was brought down to a 25.04.

He isn’t necessarily impressive thus far in the meet, but he said this spring that he’s been training harder in practice than he was before the 2012 Olympics. These times likely speak to how hard he’s been working in the pool day in and day out, though he’s certainly in better shape in his 100 fly right now than in his 200 free.

YEP… LEDECKY CAN SWIM THE 400 IM

Watch out. Ledecky might not have won the 400 IM tonight, but her 4:39 from this finals session was far from pedestrian. The freestyle superstar had swam the 400 IM four times prior to this meet, and her 4:42.43 from this morning was her 2nd fastest time ever behind the 4:41.70 she did in June.

Tonight, her 4:39.18 was good enough for third overall behind Becca Mann (4:37.04, a new personal best for the USC commit) and Caitlin Leverenz (4:39.10). She nearly caught Leverenz at the finish, her final 50 of 29.03 one of only two sub-31 splits in the race (the other was Mann at 29.66). Ledecky was never more than five seconds behind the leader at any point of the race, and her final 100 of 59.94 was seriously impressive. Her backstroke splitting might need some work (37.24/34.94), as she can probably push the first 50 harder. Nonetheless, her time was undoubtedly quick. Fun fact: the 400 IM is on the first day of Olympic Trials, a day where Ledecky would have no other races to swim. Just a fun fact.

The action continues tomorrow morning at 9am central for Day Two prelims. 

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Hank
4 years ago

4:39 is impressive. Can anyone comment on her technique in the other 3 strokes? Is there olympic potential here in the 400im? It seems like you need a 2nd stroke to be a 400imer.

Hank
4 years ago

Ledecky seems really lethal in races over 4 min duration regardless of the stroke. I’d like to see her run the mile next.

BTH
Reply to  Hank
4 years ago
Billabong
4 years ago

Go Dana! You’re looking good. It was nice of you to give us a glimpse of your raw speed on the first 50m (prelims). Looks like we have lots to look forward to come OT’s.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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