Women’s 400 IM
After what seemed to be a fairly fast preliminary round of the women’s 400 IM, the final stepped things up even further, with 19-year old Australian Keryn McMaster taking the winning 4:39.37. McMaster held a small lead after the breaststroke leg, but that gap was quickly closed by Celina Li of the Pleasanton Seahawks on the first half of the freestyle leg.
Li and McMaster were back-and-forth as they came down the home stretch, but it was the Australian who had just enough left to get to the wall first, while Li touched 2nd in 4:39.47. For the Cal-bound swimmer, that’s a lifetime best by nearly three seconds.
Texas A&M’s Sarah Henry, who was the top seed in prelims, was 3rd in 4:40.85. That just misses her best time as well, done in late June at the World Championship Trials.
Cari Blalock took 4th in 4:43.65, followed by Stanford’s Andie Taylor (4:46.16) and Bluefish Swim Club’s Brooke Zeiger (4:45.47).
Hali Flickinger won the B Final in 4:43.08.
Men’s 400 IM
Sebastien Rousseau has already penciled his name in as Swimmer of the Meet at this year’s U.S. Open. After breaking a decade-old Meet Record in the 200 fly on Wednesday, he put up a world-class mark in the men’s 400 IM final to break a second record.
He won in 4:11.11, beating the 4:12.58 done by Jack Brown in 2009 that had been the old record. It also breaks the South African National Record that was a 4:12.07 by Riaan Schoeman from 2009.
Rousseau was actually nose-and-nose with Stephen Schmuhl of Indiana at the halfway mark, but what separates the world’s truly great IM’ers is the ability to be fast on that front-half and still put up a respectable, if not downright fast, breaststroke leg, and that’s exactly where Rousseau separated.
His time ranks him 4th in the world this year, and were it not for a semi-informal boycott of South Africa’s World Championship Trials this year (by Rousseau and many others), he could have been a medal contender in Barcelona when this race comes up on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Gunnar Bentz wasn’t as good as Rousseau and Schmuhl on the front-half, but he is very good on the breaststroke. The 17-year old ended up catching Schmuhl on the breaststroke leg, and passing him on the freestyle, to take silver in 4:15.81. Schmuhl was 3rd in 4:16.07. That’s a best time for each of the top three finishers, and Bentz improves his standing (by a second-and-a-half) as the best American 17-year old IM’er since Michael Phelps.
Britain’s Tom Haffield was 4th in 4:16.62, followed by another Florida Gator Carlos Omana in 4:20.73.
Stanford commit Max Williamson won the B Final in 4:20.74.
Women’s 100 Fly
At the World Championship Trials, Felicia Lee finished 3rd in the 100 fly. She backed up that position by winning the 100 fly at the U.S. Open with a 58.94: her second time in a day under the 59 second barrier.
Australia’s Chris Licciardi was 2nd in 59.27 just out-touching Commonwealth rival Tilly Gray by .01 seconds.
T2’s Erika Erndl was 4th in 59.32, and Alyssa Thomas ended up 5th in 59.44.
Georgia’s Lauren Harrington won the B-Final in 59.68.
Men’s 100 Fly
Tom Shields got the right swim this summer, he just got it about a month too late. He swam a 51.65 in the A-Final of the 100 fly to not only win, and to not only break Kohei Kawamoto’s 2008 Meet Record of 51.71, but establish himself as the fastest American in the event in 2013. The 100 fly hasn’t started yet at the World Championships, so his rankings are tenuous, but the time also ranks him 4th in the world this year (.01 behind Chad le Clos for 3rd).
At the least, this buys Shields an assured spot on the National Team and in the USA Swimming APA stipend program, and with a very fluid sprint butterfly group, he’s in a good position to start making himself a permanent fixture on U.S. international teams.
Tim Phillips also beat his World Championship Trials result with a 51.78, which bumps him up a spot to 11th in the world. Tyler McGill was 3rd in 52.07, followed by World University Games qualifier Kyler van Swol in 52.32.
Matthew Josa was 5th in 52.46 and Jason Dunford was 6th in 52.48.
Texas’ Tripp Cooper, a former club and college teammate of Michael McBroom, won the B Final in 52.93. David Nolan from Stanford won the C Final in an identical time.
Women’s 800 Free Relay
Longhorn Aquatics won the women’s 800 free relay in 8:00.84, with college-level swimmers like Samantha Tucker, Alexandra Hooper, and Sarah Denninghoff combining with high-schooler Quinn Carrozza. Carrozza split 1:58.4 on their 2nd leg. That cut 6.5 seconds off of the old Meet Record in the event.
Australia took 2nd in 8:04.40, including a 1:59.90 lead-off from Kelly Stubbins, and Indiana took 3rd in 8:07.24, getting a 2:00.83 lead-off from distance swimmer Lindsay Vrooman.
Men’s 800 Free Relay
Closing the session, Stanford’s men’s group of Bobby Bollier, Thomas Stephens, David Nolan, and Chris Pickard swam a 7:24.26, including a 1:49.66 anchor from Pickard. Another unattached, but Stanford affiliated, relay was 2nd in 7:26.22.