Day 3 of the 2012 Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix was almost as exciting as day 2, but the shift focused a bit on this day from the established stars to the oncoming stars, as a lot of teenagers stepped up for big swims and big wins. And in a bit of a sad moment for swim fans, the great Michael Phelps ended his Grand Prix career on Saturday (barring a change of heart). He won’t swim Sunday, nor will he race at the final stop in Santa Clara, meaning that his 2nd-place finish in the 200 fly is the last GP swim of his career.
At the final turn in the women’s 200 fly it was Vandenberg, Breeden, Hersey in that order with just 3 tenths separating 1st from 3rd. Kim Vandenberg had led from the start, but Kathleen Hersey didn’t hit her stride until that final lap where she came home in 33.07 to seal the deal in 2:08.68. Vandenberg 2nd with a 2:09.67, and Elaine Breeden sneaking under 2:10 with a 2:09.83.
Peng Wu of Club Wolverine played the role of kryptonite, once again, touching out Michael Phelps for the win in men’s 200 fly in a time of 1:56.69. Phelps, who touched 2nd in 1:56.87, had been battling with Sebastien Rousseau for the first 150 meters and as he took over on his signature final wall I imagine he didn’t see Peng, on the other side of Rousseau, making a move as well. Phelp’s final 50 of 30.57 was only outdone by Peng’s 30.09. If you remember it was just over a year ago that Peng broke Phelp’s 9 year 200 Fly winning streak.
Jessica Hardy topped her season best time from the prelims and took the win in the women’s 50 freestyle in a time of 24.83. This time puts her in the poll position in the 50 heading into US Trials. SwimMAC rounded out the top three with Madison Kennedy and Kara Lynn Joyce touching in 25.01 and 25.09 respectively. David Marsh proving, once again, to have that Olympic year touch, as Kennedy and especially Joyce look like new racers since making the move across the country to train with Marsh and SwimMAC. All 3 times are top 25, 2012 marks.
Josh Schneider is now the 2nd fastest American this year. His winning time in the men’s 50 freestyle of 22.10 is a personal best. Australian, Matt Targett touched 2nd in 22.37 and South African Gideon Louw rounded out the top three with a 22.61.
Should Natalie Coughlin be worried about a 3rd place finish in the women’s 100 back, 6 weeks out from Olypmic trials? Probably not, but the two ladies who tied for the win in front of Coughlin will walk into Omaha with a little more confidence now. It was the future Cal Bears, Elizabeth Pelton and Rachel Bootsma both touching at 1:00.25 and sharing the top spot on the podium tonight. They are now tied for the 13th fastest time in the world.
A fully bearded Nick Thoman took the win for the home team in the men’s 100 back with a 53.77. He was just 3 tenths off his season best, which stands 8th on the 2012 top time list. Ben Hesen touched 2nd in 54.19 and Eugene Godsoe took 3rd for SwimMAC in a 54.22.
Allison Scmitt won the women’s 400 freestyle in a top 5, 2012 time of 4:05.40 but the story of the race is the 2nd place finisher, 15 year old Katie Ledecky. Her time of 4:05.79 makes her the 8th fastest 400 freestyler in the world this year and also makes her a real contender for the 2012 US Olympic team. We’ve seen this coming for a while from Ledecky. She has torn up the age group record books this year, but tonight she made that next step. She mixed it up with the big girls. She brought home her last 50 in 29.91, the fastest split in the race, and with 5 more meters she would have run down Allison Schmitt. No one runs down Allison Schmitt. This 15 year old from Curl Burke is now playing in the big leagues.
Ous Mellouli held off Charlie Houchin and Connor Jaeger to take the win in the men’s 400 freestyle with a time of 3:50.17. Houchin touched 2nd in 3:50.85 and Jaeger, who had the fastest closing 50 of 27.88, stopped the clock in 3:50.87. In the post race interview on Universal, Mellouli revealed that his ailing shoulder is not quite 100%.
Rebecca Soni swam the fastest time of 2012 en route to victory in the women’s 200 breaststroke. In a bright pink Arena suit, Soni clocked a 2:22.22. That time is half a second faster than her time in Austin earlier this year. Micah Lawrence continued the awesome night for SwimMAC by posting the 10th fastest time of the year, 2:24.62.
Eric Shanteau is now tied for the top American time in the men’s 200 breast this year. His winning time of 2:09.72 ties him, with Clark Burckle, for the 6th fastest time in the world this year and was a Ultraswim meet record. Brenden Hansen finished 2nd in 2:11.74.