Texas-Ex Karlee Bispo Swims Two Lifetime Bests; Grevers Wins to Close Austin Grand Prix

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 16

January 20th, 2013 News

The final night of the 2013 Austin Grand Prix was relatively thin: even the allure of $9,000 in prize money couldn’t tempt many swimmers to hang around for the last, Sunday-night session.

Still, those who didn’t show up missed what I’d call the best battle of the entire weekend in the women’s 200 IM. That race, between the world’s female superstar Missy Franklin and Karlee Bispo who is a hometown swimmer that is still little-known outside of those fans of college swimming, was worth the price of admission in one of the last events of a weirdly-vibed final day of competition.

Women’s 200 Fly

Canada’s Audrey Lacroix became the first swimmer in the world in 2013, though the year is only three weeks old, became the first woman in the world this year to go under 2:10 in the 200 fly (including Katinka Hosszu at this weekend’s Euro Meet) thanks to a winning time of 2:09.55. She was out in a very-fast 1:02.09, and though she was fighting the whole back-half of this race, the final result is one she will be pleased with. For the 30-year old, January and February haven’t seen much racing from her period in the last half-decade, so to be this fast this early in the season shows that she’s still got the potential for a big 2013, despite seeming to be in a decline over the last 18 months.

The top American finisher in this 7-woman final was Mission Viejo 15-year old Katie McLaughlin in 2:10.37. She’s had a really good summer of competition, which has rolled into her yards season and this swim as well. Only one American 15-year old has been faster than that time in the last decade (Courtney Kalisz in a 2:09). Another talented young swimmer placed third in thisHB final: 16-year old Canadian Noemie Thomas. Thomas is best-known as a sprinter, though a 2:11.43 knocked half-a-second off of her lifetime best in the event.

Men’s 200 Fly

Stanford post-grad Bobby Bollier won the men’s 200 fly in 1:58.18, establishing himself as an early contender for the 2016 Olympic Team in the Michael-Phelps vacuum. This has been a race for the United States that, behind Phelps, has been pretty weak on depth (one might theorize that some who could’ve been contenders in the race probably chose other events to focus on, as Phelps had been so far ahead of the world for so long in this race). Bollier was 3rd at the 2012 Olympic Trials in the race, and though he’s not quite a household name in the sport yet, he and Tyler Clary have become heavy favorites in this event going forward. There’s a handful of teenagers who have been under two-minutes recently in the race (16-year old Corey Okubo was a 1:58 last season), but with these two being only 23-years old, they still have some development in their future as well.

Clary took 2nd in this race in 1:59.43, followed by his Club Wolverine teammate Dan Madwed in 1:59.73. Club Wolverine had three of the top four, as Michael Klueh was 4th in 2:01.58 ahead of his more primary distance swim later in the session.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke

Longhorn Aquatics’ Karlee Bispo in 2012 focused her efforts on making the Olympic Team in the freestyles. She was 9th in the 200 at the Olympic Trials, but lest we forget, in college she was a great 200 IM’er despite not attempting that race this year in Omaha. She showed that versatility by winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.37, her best time by four seconds, and picking up a nice $500 check.

SMU sophomore Rachel Nicol was 2nd in 1:09.81, which is only four-tenths off of what she went at Canada’s Olympic Trials this summer; and Ashley Wanland placed 3rd in 1:10.03. 14-year old Allie Szekely from Central Bucks was 5th in 1:12.34.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

Mike Alexandrov took the win in this 100 breaststroke in 1:01.76, going out hard and hanging on for the victory. PASA’s BJ Johnson had another great swim, following his win in the 200 earlier in the meet, with a 1:02.23. Johnson is primarily a 200 breaststroker, demonstrated by how fast he was on the second 50 of this race, but his 100 has really shown great improvement in the last year.

Missouri volunteer assistant Mark Gangloff, who is apparently not retired at 30-years old, was 3rd in 1:02.43.

There were a lot of other big-name swimmers in this final: New Zealand record holder Glenn Snyders took 4th in 1:03.31, Israeli Imri Ganiel was 5th in 1:03.61, and Ryan Lochte was 6th in 1:04.83.

Women’s 100 Backstroke

In 2011 and 2012, Missy Franklin broke a minute in the 100 back at this meet twice. This year, she wasn’t able to repeat that feat, though it was by just a hair: she was a 1:00.00 on-the-dot.

Canadian Hillary Caldwell took 2nd in 1:01.82, and another podium finish came from SMU with Isabella Arcila taking 3rd in 1:02.22. Another field with just an A-Final on this final night of competition (only 8 swimmers finished in prelims); 5 out of 10 individual events on this final night had 8-or-fewer swimmers race in finals.

Men’s 100 Backstroke

In a much-faster final than we saw prelim, Matt Grevers won the men’s 100 back in 53.75 by a full second ahead of Stanford volunteer assistant Eugene Godsoe in 54.75. While his fiancee, former NCAA Champion Annie Chandler, was off on her bachelorette weekend, Grevers was swimming very well in Austin; he had a big year after the 2008 Olympics as well, so we could see continued success in 2013 for the 100 backstroke gold medalist this year.

Women’s 200 IM

Karlee Bispo, as alluded-to above, is a fantastic 200 IM’er, and it seems like her focus may shift headed toward Rio after this swim. She took a win in this women’s 200 IM in 2:12.49, using a big edge on the breaststroke leg to pull away from (and then hold off) Missy Franklin, who was 2nd in 2:12.57.

That swim for Bispo is a lifetime-best, with her improvements on breaststroke effectively accounting for the entire difference between this swim and a 2:13.3 she swam in the same pool at the 2012 Longhorn Aquatics Elite Meet in June.

Franklin’s swim was one of her best as well, sitting behind only swims from the National Championship meets of 2010 and 2011.

Those two were a ways ahead of the rest of the field, as third went to Canadian Alexa Komarnycky in 2:16.40.

Men’s 200 IM

In his best swim of the weekend, Gator Swim Club’s Ryan Lochte won the men’s 200 IM in 2:00.98, about what he went at this same meet last year. Lochte has really started to show the more typical fatigue that we see from Gregg Troy’s swimmers this time of year.

Tyler Clary took 2nd in 2:03.02, and Conor Dwyer was 3rd in 2:03.09. Dwyer outswam Clary for 150 meters, but Clary had more left in his tank for the closing 50 meters to just out-touch his fellow National Team’er.

Women’s 800 Free

Only four women stuck around for the meet-closing distance race in the women’s 800 free, and three of them were members of perhaps the country’s most famous distance program: the Mission Viejo Nadadores.

Chloe Sutton, after scratching the 200 fly individually, took the win in 8:33.94. She and teammate Ashley Twichell were dead-even, but around the 500-meter mark, Sutton began to pull away from her open-water-focused teammate. Both swimmers did the famous Mission-Viejo-negative-split (Sutton did it in the 400 as well), but Sutton did it much better going 4:18.6-4:14.7 for the win. Twichell, by comparison, was 4:18.4-4:17.8.

Further to that, both swimmers were faster than they were at this same meet last season.

Leah Stevens from the Lakeside Swim team was 3rd in 8:48.93, and Brooke Lorentzen was 4th in 3:56.92.

Men’s 1500 Free

With Chad la Tourette and Ryan Cochrane both taking a “pass” on the final session of competition, what could have been a great battle in this race was a relative rout by Texas’ former NCAA Champion Michael McBroom in 15:16.41. Former Longhorn Michael Klueh, who has gotten better-and-better at the sprint events while moving away from this metric mile, kept pace with McBroom for about 500 or 600 meters, but then McBroom methodically pulled-away, opening up an insurmountable gap.

Klueh finished 2nd, 10 seconds back, in 15:26.06. 19-year old Canadian Eric Hedlin was 3rd in 15:29.15.

Full, live meet results available here.

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9 years ago

you say the last 15 year old was Courtney Kalicz but i doubt it was 2009 since i think she is already out of college….right person, wrong year i think.

Reply to  Braden Keith
9 years ago

Ummmm…something tells me that’s not Karlee Bispo in the photo.

9 years ago

Ok, we’ll see in 2016. Allie Szekely is perhaps small but first, she still has the right to grow and second, she’s already in 2.26 in the 200 breast. Not bad for a 14-year-old girl. I repeat she will make big damages in the future. And perhaps she will be allowed to swim in a modern suit after her 18th birthday.

9 years ago

just went back to look at national team cut times. Both Karlee and Missy’s times would have made the national team (…which doesn’t mean much for Missy I suppose) but that’s huge for Karlee. Neither of those times are close to that of Caitlin and Ariana, but considering that they’re both untapered/mid-season….and there’s still 3 more years of training left…that 200IM can get quite competitive (and don’t forget Elizabeth Beisel). so excited!

Reply to  anonymous
9 years ago

I believe you forget Elizabeth Pelton in the 200 IM. If she works really hard her breaststroke and I think she does, I see her very quickly around 2.07 and she can become the main opponent of Ye Shiwen in the next years.

bobo gigi
9 years ago

In USA on the women’s side I would say the weakest races (in terms of stars and depth) now are the 50 free and the 200 fly. And on the men’s side I would say the 200 fly and all the free races from the 400 to the 1500.
Katie McLaughlin is a very very very talented girl. I see her with a great future on fly and free.
Not a sub 1.00 for Missy in the 100 back. She hasn’t the speed for now. We have seen that in the 100 free. So it’s not surprising. With a few months of starts and underwaters training before Barcelona I think she will swim under 58 this summer.
… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

200 free they are strong for relay.. but not for the individual event.. Agnel, Park and Sun are pretty much far ahead of the field.. Agnel even more.. and Sun if he better his turns will give agnel a hard time..

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

Bob, mon cheri, few comments on your favorite girl – Allie Szekely after seeing her last night first time…She might be too small to do much in the future. Her breastroke has a weird “I go back before I go forward stroke” and she bobs her head. Was not impressed. Her backstroke is smooth, only too smooth, Backstroke is all about stroke rate and her hand enters water too slow and too smooth. She does have a beautiful kick into the stroke though. Watch Grevers for best stroke.

Coach GB
Reply to  PsychoDad
9 years ago

Could she just be old fashion superstitious that still exsists with some or I don’t need it.

Reply to  PsychoDad
9 years ago

Psychodad = expert.


Reply to  Coacherik
9 years ago

Thank you coach, I appreciate that.
I guess it would make me more of an expert if I signed as PsychoCoach?
Anyhow, it would help more if you wrote what was wrong what I said instead of patronizing me. 95% of coaches do it wrong and are close minded. Are you one of them?

Reply to  PsychoDad
9 years ago

Technically, I have no idea if what you are saying is correct, however, I am sure that there are plenty of SwimSwam readers that can name a lot of swimmers that have had an unorthodox stroke or were small in stature that excelled both nationally and internationally. Where you did go wrong was in your editorial comments about a 14 year old girl’s future. A 14 year old girl that probably, like a lot of other age groupers, follow Swimswam and read your out of line opinion/comments about her future…

Reply to  PsychoDad
9 years ago

See NOTACOACH’s response. Thank you and good day.

P.S. you could put psychocoach and it would still elicit the same response.

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

As long as it works for her, thats all that matters. Some swimmers don’t prefer the feel of the leg suit for certain strokes or wont wear one until a certain point in the season even though its a national/international meet. Its only a disadvantage if she thinks it is.

9 years ago


Took our son to watch finals tonight…
Karlee Bispo won 100 breast???? Should not be suprised – she trains now with the best breaststroke coach. Good breaststroke helped her beat Missy on 200 IM tonight in the most exciting race of the night. Very happy for Karlee.I was very interested to see Michael Andrew. The kid is so tall – what? 6’2, 6’3” already? I was disappointed with his breast and backstroke technique though. On breast, stays too low and pull is weak; backstroke looks like he is entering water with the back of his hand and his pull is late. The sexy won 200 IM and there was a collective “Ahhh…” from girls section when he showed… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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