Phelps Wraps up GP Career on Saturday in Charlotte

  16 Garrett McCaffrey | May 12th, 2012 | Arena Pro Swim Series, Featured, National, News

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.

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16 Comments on "Phelps Wraps up GP Career on Saturday in Charlotte"

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4 years 4 months ago

That Katie Ledecky is amazing.
I think she’s the fastest ever 15 yo over 400 free, and she’s at that age bracket where she will be making a huge improvement.
Watch out world!
Is she this generation Janet Evans? Let’s hope so.

4 years 4 months ago

Yeah, i believe she become the fastest ever.She beats previous 15year-old chinese XinXin 4.05.93 from chinese trials.

4 years 4 months ago

my bad!

SHAO Yiwen made 4.05.58 in 2010 Asian Games at 13(Born in march of 1995)!!!Unbelievable!
Its hard to believe she is 160cm and 45kg…

How much tall is Katie?

Yiwen 2010 results:

4 years 4 months ago

Ddias, Thanks for the info!
I totally forgot about Shao Yiwen.
She was born on 10 March 1995, and this means she was already at least 15 years and 9 months by the time of Asian Games (November 2010).
(note: although another similar sounding chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen was still 13 yo when she busted those 2:09 and 4:33 during that asian games).

Shao Yiwen failed to final last year at Worlds, due to her inexperience (she finished 10th in both 400 and 800 free.
She improved a bit during the Chinese Nationals in September, but she swam slower this year during their olympics trials.
Let’s see if she can still improve in London, and does not become another chinese female swimmer who is swimming lights out when they are 13-17 yo, but dropped off when they are 18 and over.

I haven’t been able to find out the birthdate of Katie I can’t know precisely if she’s actually younger than Shao Yiwen when she posted 4:05.58

4 years 4 months ago

My bad, i dont know where i found she is 13!Probably because i got mixed seeing another absurd result from other 15 year-old chinese girl: XinXin made 8.22.76 this year in 800 free at chinese LCM nationals.What absurd time!

4 years 4 months ago

25 years ago in 1987, a certain 15 yo girl with initials J.E. already blasted 8:22.44

Scuba Steve
4 years 4 months ago

not sure how or why, but I believe Ledecky’s birthdate is March 17th, 1997 (15yr/2m). That makes her 5 days older than Australia’s Remy Fairweather, who until now was ‘trading’ pb swims with Ledecky. These times are monstrous, and I suspect we’ll see her in London.

4 years 4 months ago

Yes! Great job Katie – can’t wait to see what you do in Omaha

4 years 4 months ago

I think Katie’s coach Yuri deserves at least a mention in this article. Very quiet and humble guy, but has done a terrific job planning Katie’s year with calculated meet choices and not rushing the process for his personal ego.

bobo gigi
4 years 4 months ago

Yes! Incredible race for Katie Ledecky in the 400 free! 4.05.79 is fantastic. I had predicted a time under 4.06 for her this summer. It’s already made. I believe I must predict now a time under 4.04. She has now a good chance to qualify for the olympic games in that race. And she can improve so much. When she will have more strength she will be unbeatable.
Until now it’s by far for me the best race of the meet. And I don’t forget Allison Schmitt who has pushed Katie Ledecky to another level.
And yes her coach is great, is smart and is one of the best in USA.
I’m waiting now for her 800 free.

4 years 4 months ago

I believe Katies just turned 15 in March, before the NCSA meet, She is really amazing,SW magazine has a nice interview with her coach .
Swimcoach, you are correct,he has done a very good job keeping it a ‘process and relaxed. I hope Braden or Mel can talk to him at this meet.

I am also looking forward to whar Allison does come taper time and some of the “older” swimmers too. Katie is in that period where she can swim fast all the time. We have seen it with Ziegler, Hoff and other teenagers that threw down amazing times all season but as you get older, more muscle and body changes you need more rest and taper to swim to your potential.That is why I am really looking forward to Schmitt’s trials.

I wonder what Hoff will swim, 400 free or 4im.

bobo gigi
4 years 4 months ago

I watched the webcast (during the night for me) and if I have well understood swimswam sponsored the 200 fly. And I saw a man whith a camera on his head who gave the medals. He looked like a miner with a safety lamp. And it was Mel Stewart. It was very impressive.
Mel Stewart, if you could catch Katie Ledecky or her coach it would be cool. Thank you.

bobo gigi
4 years 4 months ago

I’m a little worried about Katie Hoff. She really struggles. In the 400 free it will be tough to qualify for her (with Allison Schmitt and Katie Ledecky) and impossible in the 200 IM (with Caitlin Leverenz and Ariana Kukors) and in the 400 IM (with Elizabeth Beisel and Caitlin Leverenz). Perhaps her best event to qualify stays the 200 free on individual behind Allison Schmitt (if Missy Franklin doesn’t swim that race at the olympic games to focus on the 100 back, I hope it). She will be obviously a major piece in the 4X200 free relay.

4 years 4 months ago

imo, Hoff’s best chances at the team are the 400IM and the 400free, these are also the events where she could most likely medal– with her best bet being the 400IM. I say this because her times at best prime in 08 would still be quite competitive today.

Even her times swum in a lzr in the 200free and 200IM are unlikely to garner a spot on the team. The 200IM will probably need to be swum in 209low (Kukors and Leverenz), and it’s not inconceivable that Pelton could be there too. It would make Beisel and Hoff (if she returns to top form) only dark horse chances at a spot.

In the 200free, Hoff is probably 3rd pick for a spot. I think at the very least she’ll be in London for this relay. Regardless of what Schmidt has done, I see Franklin as the overwhelming favorite in this event, as she should be for each of her individual events in Omaha. She really hasn’t done much this LC season, but she dropped something like 4 seconds in this events the last season, does anyone truly believe her improvement curve is done?

I think Hoff definitely has mental issues to sort out. And part of that has played part in her moving coaches so often, which I dont think is good for her as an athlete. Either way, she has shown signs that she may steer back into the 400IM. She may not have been anywhere near her best year, but the talent is definitely there. She is still young, and she definitely still have the motivation– having never won an Olympic Gold. I think she knows that if there is an event where that is possible, it is this one. I dont think the times being outputted over the last 12 months, although good, are out of her reach.

4 years 4 months ago

Swimmers that change coaches as much as Katie need to look at themselves and not the coach that is the problem. I think her only event at Olympics will be the relay and I can see her not even making that relay at finals.


About Garrett McCaffrey

No one lives the sport of swimming like Garrett McCaffrey. A Division I swimmer who spent 4 years covering the sport as a journalist, now coaches club swimming and competes as a masters swimmer, Garrett truly lives the sport of swimming. After graduating from University of Missouri’s award winning journalism program …

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