Chloe Sutton finished off her torrential swimming on the finald day of the 2011 TYR Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions by polishing off a sweep of the distance freestyle events when she won the women’s mile in 16:12.73, which missed by less-than-two tenths her career best time from the Rome World Championships in 2009.
Sutton said after her race that she felt her legs absolutely die on the final lap of the race, but that’s understandable given the busy weekend she’s had. Including her trio of victories, which counted for four swims, she had a grand total of 15 swims over the three day meet. She really ventured outside of her comfort-zone into events like the 200 fly (2:17.40) and 400 IM (4:59.89). While she’s probably not going to be pushing anybody in any of those events anytime soon, her extra efforts on the weekend did earn her the meet’s high-point award, along with a $1,000 prize check: a pretty nice reward for a hard weekend of work.
The men’s 100 backstroke is the biggest relay question-mark for the Americans in Shanghai. After Aaron Peirsol held down that spot for the last eight years. The question-mark has grown by the fact that David Plummer, the defending National Champion, doesn’t compete a whole lot, and has been bested by Nick Thoman in times so far this season, who is the other option for the medley. Plummer put up a very good swim to win the race here in 54.19, which is a new Meet Record. He was more than a full-second faster than Tyler Clary, who’s had a very strong meet so far.
Trojan picked up a trio of wins in the breaststroke events (no surprises there) and the women’s 100 fly, which was much more shocking.
Kosuke Kitajima took the men’s win in 1:01.01. He had to swim hard at Japanese Nationals to hold off the intense domestic competition, but hasn’t looked too impressive since while recovering from a tweaked leg muscle in early April.
The runner-up in the race was Rose Bowl Aquatics’ Ed Moses, who swam a 1:02.71 for 2nd-place. That’s easily the best time he’s had since his comeback from retirement, which shows that he might be beginning a bit of a taper for one of the summer’s big meets (either US Nationals or USMS Nationals). This is also the first race that he’s swum against full-fledged elite competition.
In the women’s 100 breaststroke, Yuliya Efimova took the win in 1:06.97, which is two-tenths off of her season-best from May. She bettered Jillian Tyler (1:07.87), who was the best at this race in the NCAA last year and is now trekking into a post-grad career as a Canadian National. Tyler’s teammate Haley Spencer, with whom she paired up to sweep the breaststroke titles, was the 3rd-fastest in prelims with a season-best of 1:09.93, but scratched the final.
The third Trojan win on the day was a little more surprising. If I told you that Jessica Hardy was at this meet, and didn’t mention her during the 100 breaststroke recap, it might intrigue you a little bit. But it wasn’t because of poor placing; she actually didn’t swim that event to save her strength for the women’s 100 fly. Things panned out pretty well for her, as she won in a career-best time of 59.32. This isn’t the first time that she’s tested this event – she’s usually good for about two 100 flys a season. This swim, however, being a career-best started a lot of buzz as to whether or not Hardy should give the IM races a try, to which she responded on her Twitter feed:
Michael Klueh, who’s training at the USOC-funded Fullerton Center of Excellence, swam a season-best in the 800 free of 7:56.59, which moves him to 12th in the World Rankings. Klueh has a little big of a longer time-table than do many of his competitors, as his target meet isn’t until the mid-August World University Games, where he’ll swim the 400 free and on the 800 free relay. Chad La Tourette finished 2nd in 7:58.63 after winning the 1500 on day 1.
Katie Hoff has all but dropped from her schedule the 200 IM: an event where she is a two-time World Champion. Sometime between the 2008 Olympics and her reemergence in training in California, Hoff decided that she no longer wanted to compete in this event. She’s only swum it a handful of times in the past three years — mostly at minor meets, with the exception of last year’s Pan Pacs where she was out after prelims — and when she has her times have been lackluster.
In Mission Viejo, however, she posted a 2:11.33 to take a huge win in a time that belied the amount of rest that most of her swims indicated. The time pushes her to 7th in the world, and 2nd in the US. In fact, that swim is right around the speed she was at in-season back in 2005/2006/2007, when she was setting World Records in this race.
Hoff took the race out very hard, and then was able to fight off late charges from Canada’s Erica Morningstar (2:11.89) and Efimova (2:13.93) on the back-half. (How much of a pure breaststroker is Efimova? The spread between her backstroke and breaststroke in this IM was 1.01 seconds, whereas most of the field was all 4 seconds or more).
In the men’s 200 IM, Tyler Clary swam a 2:01.14. That’s a few tenths better than he was at this point last year, where he also set a meet-record, which means he’s right on track to post a big number in Shanghai like he did at Pan Pac’s last year.
In the men’s 100 fly, Minnesota’s Kyler Van Swol took the win in 54.02: a career-best swim for him. That also marks the 5th-best time by a swimmer who still has NCAA eligibility left for next year, which makes him a big name to watch in the 100 fly next season. The Big Ten is going to be loaded in the 100 fly next year (5 out of the top 6 swimmers in 2011 were only freshmen or sophomores last year) and Van Swol’s emergence indicates that he will be right in the thick of the Conference title next year.
Swiss/Trojan Aquatics swimmer Dominik Meichtry took 2nd in 54.27, which is the second-best time of his career. This isn’t one of his primary events, but he did swim it at the European Championships last year. He went out pretty quick in this race (fastest in the field in 25.06) just like he wanted to, but in the process forced his speed a little much and faded a touch on the way home. Still a nice swim in a power event for a distance freestyler.