Day 3 at the 28th Annual NBAC Christmas Meet saw the host team continue to dominate the competition, and the re-introduction of Michael Phelps to an event that he is the best ever in.
In the first men’s “Open” Final of the night, Phelps swam his first 400 IM in the two typical American distances (yards or long course meters) in over a year. This is, however, his second-straight meet that he’s swum the event at after the short course meters Berlin stop of the World Cup circuit. Is there a chance that he’s been reinspired to put in the amount of work that the 400 IM takes to excel at? Or perhaps he’s just using the race as a training tool for his 200, where he hopes to knock off Ryan Lochte and take back his World Record. I still doubt that it will happen, especially until we see him swim it long course (the last time for that was at the 2010 Pan Pac Games), but the signs are yet growing stronger.
Either way, he swum to a big time of 3:40.92, which is an extremely fast swim for someone in the throws of heavy winter training. In 2007, when he was still at the top of his 400 IM game, he was only going 3:39’s (and those were in January, so perhaps a slightly different level of training).
The runner-up was future Georgia Bulldog Chase Kalisz in 3:45.78. That’s by far his career-best time (by 8 seconds) to bring his yards time more in line with his stellar long course numbers in this event. This time puts him in a high B-Final in terms of last year’s NCAA’s.
Kalisz picked up a victory in the men’s 200 breaststroke, his best non-IM event, later in the meet in 1:57.35, which is another significant best-time. His specialties are very similar to former Georgia swimmer Bill Cregar, except that Kalisz is way head time-wise of where Cregar was headed into high school. That could mean very good things for Kalisz’s future.
In the women’s race, 16-year old Willa Wang looks to be the next great NBAC IM’er. She won that race in 4:12.05, which is easily the fastest time by a 15-16 IM’er this season.
In the women’s 50 free, Allison Schmitt went another lifetime best in the 50 free (her 3rd lifetime best of the meet) in 22.48. That improvement is going to be huge for the Georgia squad when she rejoins her college team next year. Notably, the winner of the 13-14 division of this race was Mary Pelton (yes, of those Peltons) in a huge personal best of 23.58. 14 is around the same age where her older sister started making significant improvements in her times as well. The Pelton part 3 watch is on!
NBAC’s Chris Brady won the men’s race in 20.02.
Pelton would take another 13-14 victory in the 100 backstroke in 57.94 (college coaches must already be drooling at her potential). Another NBAC swimmer, Jason Ewart, won the boys’ 13-14 in 51.97. Phelps took the men’s version of this race in 46.54.
Germantown’s strong tradition in the distance freestyles continues next in the form of 13-year old Sierra Schmidt. Schmidt broke through the 5-minute barrier for the first time in her career to win her age group in 4:57.94. Allison Schmitt took the open version of the race in 4:35.00. That’s by no means a bad time, but relative to some of the other performances we’ve seen from her at this meet, I might’ have pegged a second faster or so.
Gillian Ryan, the young swimmer who made a huge impact at this summer’s long course National Championships, seems to be coping well after transferring from Parkland to NBAC. She took 2nd to Schmitt in a career-best time of 4:42.85.
Arthur Frayler, another Germantown swimmer, won the men’s race in 4:23.74, though he was a touch faster at this same meet last year.
The 4th and final day of competition from Baltimore will wrap up on Sunday.