Missy Franklin is taking over the Minneapolis Grand Prix early this season, and based on her versatility, she has to be the favorite to win the crown this year (assuming she can get enough days off of school!). After winning the 200 free and 400 IM yesterday, Franklin came back with two more victories on the second day in Minneapolis.
Though she is typically known more for the middle distance freestyles, Franklin’s size also makes her a great sprinter, which she demonstrated in winning the 50 free in 22.28. In a positive sign for the future of American sprinting, the second-place finisher in the 50 free, Lia Neal, is also only 15 years old. In an event that recently has been dominated by the older end of the American team, it’s great to see such young swimmer’s performing well.
Franklin came back shortly after that race and won the 100 back in 52.47 for her fourth win in the meet. I think it’s safe to assume that Cindy Tran’s freshly minted National High School Record (she broke Natalie Coughlin’s mark by a second in May) is in serious danger.
Ricky Berens is also sweeping up the wins and got his third of the meet in the 200 fly (1:45.13). For those of you who are college recruiting fans, the third place swimmer in the 200 fly was California commit Seth Stubblefield from Plano, who finished in 1:46.67, which would be the second best time in the NCAA this season.
Berens was unable to pull off a double win thanks to the first event win from Ryan Lochte, who was back to his primary events on the second day after trying some different races on day 1. In the 100 backstroke, Lochte swam a 46.42 to take the win. This is a good, but not great, time from Lochte, who may be using this meet as a launching pad into his short course season after an oustanding Pan Pac meet. The runner-up was Minnesota grad David Plummer, who if you remember was one of the big stories of the 2010 LC Nationals meet when he beat a loaded 100 backstroke field to take the crown.
Chloe Sutton, last year’s series champion, got her first win in the 500 free by finishing in 4:38.79. Behind her were two swimmers from the hosting Golden Gophers: Ashley Steenvorden (4:41.16) and Hannah Whitehead (4:43.88). These are the first and third fastest NCAA times this season.
Speaking of NCAA’s, Jillian Tyler put up another blazing swim on day 2. After her fireworks on the first day, which included the fourth fastest 100 SCY breaststroke time ever, Tyler got a much better push in the 200. Though the Canadian led the entire race, her teammate Haley Spencer closed hard to make it a tight finish, and they finished with marks of 2:08.24 and 2:08.43, respectively. Those stand as the top 2 NCAA times in the country this season, both knocking off Laura Sogar of Texas.
Other event winners on the day were Kelly Nelson in the 200 fly (1:56.14), Simon Burnett in the 50 free (19.52), Ous Mellouli in the 500 free (4:11.15), and Mike Alexandrov earning a sweep of the breaststroke events by running away with the 200 in 1:54.37. The Michigan men went a 6:39 in the 800 free relay, the best NCAA time, and it will be interesting to see how that holds up against the big invites coming up in the next month or so. The Minnesota women won in 7:15.25
Full results, and live day 3 results, are available through gophersports.com.