Women’s 100 fly
Christine “don’t call it an upset” Magnuson (57.32) snagged her third straight National title in the 100 fly, ahead of Dana Vollmer (57.45). Vollmer was the prohibitive favorite coming into the event, as she had the best time in the world coming into the meet, but Magnuson just has a nose for this event in this meet. Natalie Coughlin took a lead coming off of the turn, but couldn’t hold on once the race got above the water. Kathleen Hersey (58.15) caught everyone a little of guard for third, but probably shouldn’t have. She’s one of the best butterfliers in the world, but a lot of people soured on her after a poor performance at the NCAA Championships. It appears more and more that the Texas Women’s team missed their taper big time, and Hersey, back training in Atlanta for the summer, came through for the bronze. This increases my optimism for her in the 200 fly, which is her better event.
Men’s 400 free
As expected, Vanderkaay (3:46.88), who is by far the class of American middle-distance swimming, cruised to a win, without appearing to push himself a whole lot, to win the event for the second straight year. The real battle was for second place, where Michael Klueh (3:48.24) barely out touched Chad Houchin (3:48.30) for second place. Vanderkaay’s time puts him 6th in the world for the time being, which is a positive sign for the United States, which as a team struggles beyond 200m. Klueh and Houchin both also move into the top 10 worldwide.
Women’s 200 IM
In a wide-open race coming into the meet, Ariana Kukors (2:10.54) reaffirmed that she is likely the best 200 IM’er in the world. Caitlin Leverentz (2:10.84, who is a freshman at Cal, threw up a fantastic swim to really surprise everybody with a silver medal finish. This should be another great battle between the two in the 400 IM on Thursday. The bronze medal goes to Morgan Scroggy, who was the top seed after prelims. Scroggy is a bit of a revelation in this event, as she is typically a straight freestyler, but has managed to cut about 3 seconds off of her lifetime best in the IM today. Pelton was unable to take advantage of her second chance, and finishes 6th.
Men’s 100 breaststroke
In the first huge upset of the meet, Eric Shanteau (1:00.75), the prohibitive favorite, finishes 3rd, which means he will likely have to wait to claim a spot on the Pan-Pac team. The event win went to Mike Alexandrov (1:00.26), a Bulgarian native and Northwestern grad, who is competing in his first major international cycle as a swimming citizen of the USA. Sandwiched in between the two was the speedy sprinter Mark Gangloff (1:00.42). Alexandrov has been very proud of his decision to swim for his “other home,” the USA, despite having a much easier path to Olympics and World Championships in Bulgaria. He is making an immediate impact on Team USA.
Women’s 400 free
And Katie Hoff is back. After missing out on the 2009 World Championship team, almost quitting the sport, leaving the famed NBAC and moving across the country, Hoff (4:05.50) has regained her passion for the sport, and regained her spot as the queen of American swimming. Allison Schmitt was well behind in second place. Schmitt (4:06.19) appeared to pump her brakes to save some energy in the last 10 yards, feeling as though she had the silver locked up, but Open-Water and super-distance specialist Chloe Sutton (4:06.33) charged hard. In the end, Sutton waited 3 feet too long to make her move, and after making up an astonishing full second on the field in the last 50, fell about 2 inches short at the final lunge. Sutton has already qualified for the Pan-Pacs as a member of the Open-Water team, and is seeking to also qualify in the pool. Dagny Knutson, who scratched the 200 IM to focus on this event, saw a positive result in moving up to 4th, giving her an outside hope at qualifying for Pan-Pacs, and a bright outlook for the future.
Men’s 400 IM
In this morning’s prelim session, Lochte got demolished by the field on the breaststroke leg of the 400 IM. This was not surprising, as he was testing for the first time a groin which had been giving him problems for the past few months and before that a torn knee. But in the finals, Lochte (4:09.98) made the breaststroke leg his own. When top seed Tyler Clary (4:14.12) had the lead after 200 meters, Lochte appeared to be sunk. But there must have been some magic in his shoes, because he tore up the breaststroke leg, two-and-a-half seconds faster than Clary, and cruised through the freestyle to a victory. Lochte may have even had something left to give at the end, but still went the best time in the world this season by 2.04 seconds. This result really changes the outlook on Lochte for the rest of the meet. For those recalibrating your standards post-suits, under 4:10.00 is the new world standard in the 400 IM. The veteran Robert Margalis (4:15.62) finished third.