Night two finals will include the 400 medley relay, the 400 IM, the 100 fly, the 200 free, the 100 breast, the 100 back and the 800 free relay.
The preliminaries have set up some great showdowns, including a Katie Ledecky-Missy Franklin matchup for the second straight night and a 100 back field loaded with 5 Cal Golden Bears (including Olympians Franklin, Rachel Bootsma and Liz Pelton) plus future Stanford swimmer and top prospect Janet Hu, 16-year-old Kathleen Baker, and Indiana All-American Brooklyn Snodgrass.
Women’s 200 Medley Relay
California bulled its way to a win in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:36.91 to kick off the session. That time ranks third in the NCAA this season behind only Florida and Stanford. The Bears got a huge leadoff split from Cindy Tran, who went 23.9 to stake Cal to a gigantic lead on backstroke. The breaststroker was Marina Garcia (27.9), the butterflyer Farida Osman (23.0), and the anchor Kaylin Bing, who went 22.0 coming home.
Louisville has had a strong weekend for men and women so far, and continued the trend by taking second place, led by Kelsi Worrell, who went a blazing 22.8 on the butterfly split. The Cardinals went 1:38.07.
Third was Tennessee – most notable was breaststroker Molly Hannis, who went an outstanding 25.88 on her leg. Lindsey Gendron was also 22.2 on the anchor leg.
Cal’s B was fourth with an interesting lineup twist – usual backstroker Rachel Bootsma swam the breaststroke leg after swimming butterfly this morning. She went 28.94.
NCAP, which is on a hunt for National Age Group records this week, did not break the record here. Their relay finished 8th overall, still two seconds off the NAG record.
Men’s 200 Medley Relay
SwimMAC provided the opening fireworks of the night, shattering two American Records in one race. First, leadoff man Nick Thoman broke the American record in the 50 back, going 20.69 and powering away from the field. His teammates Eric Knight, Tim Phillips and Cullen Jones made the most of the huge lead, going 1:23.02 to break the old American record of 1:23.17 set by California last March. All of the men were fast, but Phillips 20.02 butterfly split and Jones’ 18.48 freestyle leg were particularly exciting.
The New York Athletic Club finished second in 1:25.92 behind Arkady Vyatchanin’s 21.61 backstroke split. Adam Brown was also 18.58 on the end of the relay.
Louisville took third place in a narrow victory over defending NCAA champs Michigan. Anchor Carlyle Blondell roared past the Wolverine men on the homestretch, splitting 19.0. Michigan once again used John Wojciechowski as its backstroker. He went 22.0, and breaststroker Bruno Ortiz was 23.8, beating talented Louisville breaststroker Kameron Chastain, who couldn’t quite match his great 100 breast split from last night.
Also notable: Ryan Murphy was 21.1 leading off Cal’s relay, which finished 5th. Cal also had a 19.1 freestyle split from Tyler Messerschmidt, but struggled on breaststroke, where Ryan Studebaker went 25.0.
Women’s 400 IM
Celina Li took the national title in the 400 IM, going 4:06.54 and leading virtually the whole way. That time is a lifetime-best for Li, and ranks 4th in the NCAA at this point. Chelsie Miller put the University of Kansas onto the podium with a runner-up time of 4:08.86, coming home with the strongest freestyle split of the field and outdueling Michigan’s Marni Oldershaw, who took third in 4:10.31. Miller also broke Kansas’s school record during the swim – she’s been on fire this weekend. Her previous lifetime-best before nationals was 4:15.01, so she has dropped over 6 seconds over the span of one weekend, an extreme rarity for a 19-year-old already swimming at a high level.
Arizona State’s Tristin Baxter was fourth, going 4:12.67, and Michigan’s Courtney Beidler was just behind in 4:12.89. Second seed Doreen Szekeres of Indiana struggled in the finals, adding 3 seconds to her prelims swim and taking 7th.
Men’s 400 IM
Top-seeded Andrew Seliskar took over during the backstroke and never let go of the race from there on, winning the men’s 400 IM in 3:41.19. Seliskar beat an extremely talented field that included Cal’s Josh Prenot (2nd, 3:43.86), Michigan’s Dylan Bosch (3rd, 3:45.31), Adam Hinshaw (4th, 3:48.67), and Michigan’s Kyle Whitaker (3:48.76). Bosch led the field on butterfly, but Seliskar and Prenot heated up as the race went on. Connor Jaeger of Michigan only placed 6th, but he did come home in 51.9. One would expect he might be more inclined to swim the 200 free on day 2 of NCAAs based on his overall finish and his free split.
In the C final, a pair of swimmers went 3:55s after being above 4 minutes in the preliminaries. Paolo Stanchi of Cal-Poly took the heat and Austin Nguyenphu of St. Louis University was second.
Women’s 100 Fly
The prelims hype was for Janet Hu, who broke 52 for the first time in her young and promising career, but the finals were all Claire Donahue. The 2012 Olympian was a shot out a cannon early in the race, grabbing the first 50 lead and pushing the pace the whole way to go 51.69 for the national championship. Hu made a run on the final underwater, kicking out just ahead of Donahue, who came up relatively quickly, but Donahue’s straight speed to the wall was too much for Hu to match. Nonetheless, Hu was 51.76, another lifetime-best, and moved another couple tenths closer to Elaine Breeden’s National Age Group record of 51.1.
Kelsi Worrell of Louisville also broke 52; she took third place in 51.94. Celina Li, swimming her second straight event, took fourth in 52.52, and Wisconsin high schooler Beata Nelson was fifth in 52.70.
Cindy Tran of California lost her goggles during the first 25 and was disqualified taking them off near the first wall. She did finish the race without goggles, but had to play catchup after losing the early ground.
Cal’s Sophia Batchelor won the B final, going a strong 52.51. That time would have taken fourth in the championship final.
Men’s 100 Fly
Matt Grevers blew away the field in the 100 fly, staying nearly right on American record pace on the way out and coming home with a time of 44.94, just off the American and meet records. Grevers’ first 50 was a crazy 20.72, giving him nearly a half-second on the field with 50 to go. Tim Phillips was the clear-cut runner-up, well behind Grevers but also clearly ahead of the rest of the field – he went 45.61. Arizona State’s Alex Coci beat out a crowded field for third, going 46.41.
A pair of Michigan trainers were next, John Wojciechowski (46.72) and post-grad Sean Fletcher (46.81). Aaron Young took sixth for Louisville in 46.87, and Queens University’s Matthew Josa was 46.95. New York Aquatic Club swimmer Adam Brown went 47.56 to take 8th.
Dylan Bosch won the B final for Michigan, going 46.57 to win the heat by a second and a half.
Women’s 200 Free
The showdown of the night was between U.S. Olympic stars Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky in the women’s 200 free. The race was everything swim fans hoped it would be, with the two going stroke for stroke for 150 yards before Franklin made her move, powering away for the win and crushing the meet record in 1:41.40. She was just two tenths off of Megan Romano’s American record. Ledecky had a successful swim as well, though breaking Dagney Knutson’s National Age Group record in the event. Ledecky was 1:42.03, also under the old meet record and within a second of the American record. Those two both look like staples of the United States 800 free relay in international competition moving forward.
Liz Pelton took home the bronze here, going 1:44.71 to beat out a tightly-bunched field. Tennessee’s Lindsey Gendron was third behind Franklin and Ledecky for most of the race and held on for fourth at the finish in 1:44.79. Cal’s Caroline Piehl was fifth and Ohio State post-grad Sam Cheverton took sixth.
Indiana’s Haley Lips won the consol final, dropping a second and a half off her prelims swim and going 1:45.96
Men’s 200 Free
Defending NCAA champ Joao de Lucca jumped out to a huge early lead in the men’s 200. He started to tighten up late in the race, opening the door for top seed Darian Townsend, but de Lucca maintained just enough momentum to hold on, going 1:31.65 to break the meet record and touch out Townsend, who was 1:31.93.
Update: This is reportedly the first time in history that two swimmers in the same race have broken 1:32 in the 200 free.
Former Texas Longhorn Dax Hill took third place for SwimMAC in 1:32.77, and Michigan’s Michael Wynalda was a lifetime-best 1:32.91, his first time under 1:33. Following him were two of his training partners, post-grad Michael Klueh and current Wolverine Anders Nielsen.
De Lucca and Wynalda were already sitting 1-2 in the NCAA, but this establishes them even further as the top two college 200 freestylers so far this season.
Longyuan Gutierrez of Cal dropped nearly a second to win the B final in 1:36.08. Michigan’s Peter Brumm took the C final, cutting a half-second off his prelims time to go 1:36.59.
Women’s 100 Breast
Alia Atkinson of Jamaica won the 100 breast in a landslide, breaking her own meet record from prelims and just missing the U.S. Open record. Atkinson was 57.62 after going out in a blazing 26.75. That was also a lifetime best for Atkinson, who finished 4th at the 2012 Olympics in the event.
Three more swimmers joined Atkinson under a minute. Former Columbia star and SwimMAC post-grad Katie Meili went 59.03 for second. Tennessee’s Molly Hannis, who has been on fire as of late, went 59.18 to take third after blowing doors with her medley relay splits the past two nights. SwimMAC’s Micah Lawrence was 59.77 good for fourth place.
Men’s 100 Breast
California post-grad and former NCAA champion Damir Dugonjic provided some big-time outside smoke in the men’s 100 breast. The Slovenian went 51.93 to stun the field from lane 8, upsetting top seed Eetu Karvonen who finished second in 52.13. The early leader was Tennessee post-grad Brad Craig, who led at the 50, going 24.3 but faded to third in 52.18 at the finish.
Mike Alexandrov was 52.62 for 4th place and incoming Cal transfer Chuck Katis went 52.74 for 5th. Michigan’s Richard Funk was the last swimmer under 53 – he went 52.89. 17-year-0ld Andrew Seliskar was 7th in 53.31, just a tenth off his prelims time and Louisville’s Cameron Chastain rounded out the A final in 53.41.
Fellow Cardinal Addison Bray went a lifetime-best 53.31 in the B final to take 9th overall. In the C final, 16-year-old Carsten Vissering went 53.87 to win the heat, only a half-second off of Seliskar’s 15-16 National Age Group record.
Women’s 100 Back
California loaded up the final of the women’s 100 back, claiming lanes 1 through 5 of the A final with multiple Olympians in the mix. After 51 seconds of stroke-for-stroke battling, it was Missy Franklin who emerged with her second hotly-contested national title of the night, going 51.59 to just touch out teammates Liz Pelton (51.70), Rachel Bootsma (51.86) and Melanie Klaren (52.21). Future Stanford Cardinal Janet Hu had the early speed, looking like a potential upset bid at the 50 mark, but faded down the stretch under the heat of Cal’s arsenal. Hu still took fifth in 52.43, cutting a half second off her prelims swim and going a season best, ahead of her 400 medley relay leadoff from last night.
Cal’s Stephanie Au took 6th in 52.47 and Indiana’s defending Big Ten champ Brooklyn Snodgrass joined her under 53, going 52.79.
If California didn’t already have enough success in this event, Cindy Tran won the B final in 52.38, meaning Cal swimmers actually put up the 5 fastest times of the entire national meet.
Men’s 100 Back
The 100 back was a showdown between the red-hot Nick Thoman, who was just off the American record leading off the 400 medley last night and was a part of the American record-breaking 200 medley relay earlier tonight, and the current American record-holder and 100 butterfly winner Matt Grevers. Grevers had the early speed, leading for the first 75 yards, but Thoman clawed back on the final underwater, blowing past Grevers, who appeared to be feeling the effects of his 100 fly race just a few events earlier. Both broke the old American record of 44.55 – Thoman was 44.07 and Grevers 44.49. Thoman’s win was thanks to his outrageous 22.47 back-half split.
Cal freshman Ryan Murphy was third overall, going 45.77, just a few tenths off his lifetime best. That is the second-best 100 back time in the NCAA so far behind only Mitchell Friedemann of Arizona who went 45.52 in prelims at the Texas Invite and is yet to swim again tonight. New York Athletic Club’s Arkady Vyatchanin came in just behind, going 45.88.
Michigan post-grad Sean Fletcher dropped half a second off his prelims time to win the C final in 47.74.
Women’s 800 Free Relay
In a display of strength and depth, California went 1-2 in the 800 free relay with both teams breaking the old meet record. The highlight was Missy Franklin going 1:42.93 leading off the A in her third win of the night, but the Bears also got a strong anchor leg from Liz Pelton, who went 1:44.55. The others on the A team were Caroline Piehl and Camille Cheng, and the team went 6:59.11 to blow away the old meet record of 7:05.69 set by USC last year.
The Cal B team was 7:04.49, also under the meet record, thanks to a 1:45.3 anchor leg from Catherine Breed and a 1:46.2 on the leadoff by Celina Li.
Tennessee took third in 7:08.43 with Lindsey Gendron anchoring in 1:45.06, and Indiana took fourth just a tenth behind in 7:08.57.
NCAP absolutely crushed the National Age Group record in the event, taking fifth overall and going 7:09.89. The old record was 7:16.04 set by NCAP last year – that 2012 relay had three swimmers in common with this year’s record-breakers: Robyn Dryer, Katie Ledecky, and Janet Hu. 15-year-old Megan Byrnes was also a part of the effort this season. Ledecky was 1:44.17 on her split and Hu was 1:46.03 anchoring.
Men’s 800 Free Relay
Michigan was celebrating a 1-2 finish in the 800 free relay only to find out that one of its teams was disqualified. The B team, which finished second overall, had a false start from second swimmer Anders Nielsen. Even so, the Wolverine men still won the event with its A team, where Michael Wynalda, Connor Jaeger, Jack Mangan and Justin Glanda went 6:21.70 to blow away the field. Wynalda was 1:33.49 leading off, his third fast 200 freestyle of the day.
Cal took second place with a relay of pure consistency: Tyler Messerschmidt (1:36.33 leadoff), Longyuan Gutierrez (1:36.04), Trenton Williams (1:36.05) and Jeremy Bagshaw (1:36.01). The team was 6:24.43.
Louisville was not far behind in 6:24.73, but only got a 1:34.28 split from stud 200 freestyler Joao de Lucca. Utah made a push for a medal but fell just short in 6:25.08, getting a 1:35.0 leadoff leg from Nicholas Soedel.
The final day of U.S. Winter Nationals is tomorrow. Prelims start at 9:00 ET and finals at 5:00 ET. SwimSwam will have live coverage of both sessions.