Day two of the 2013 USA Swimming Winter National Championships will feature the 200 medley relay, the 400 IM, the 100 fly, the 200 free, the 100 breast, and the 100 backstroke in prelims, with the 800 free relay added in finals.
That 100 backstroke will be the highlight of the day on the women’s side, where we’ll really see the Cal group go toe-to-toe in a big way for the first time this season.
Women’s 200 Medley Relay – Prelims
The Cal women, who have about the best medley relay on the planet right now among true training partners, took the top two seeds in prelims of that race. Their A, which featured Cindy Tran, Marina Garcia, Rachel Bootsma, and Kaylin Bing, swam a 1:37.76, and their B was a 1:38.29. There was an error in the timing on the “A” relay, so we can’t judge exactly how well the splits went, but we’d expect to see ever more in finals anyway.
Indiana took the 3rd seed in 1:39.25, including a 27.8 breaststroke split from Bronwyn Pasloski and a 22.13 from their new transfer anchor leg Kaitlyn Flederbach, and Louisville was 4th in 1:39.36, with a 23.11 fly leg from Kelsi Worrell.
The Tennessee women, who are swimming as much as they can around their finals schedule this weekend, were 5th in 1:39.67. Molly Hannis was a 27.17 on the breaststroke leg there. Arizona State, NCAP, and Columbia will round out the A-Final. That swim for Columbia improves their standing as the fastest 200 medley in the Ivy League this season.
For those watching NAG Records, NCAP’s girls, who broke two relay records on Thursday, were about two seconds short in prelims of this race.
Men’s 200 Medley Relay – Prelims
The men of SwimMAC have once again broken a Winter Nationals Record in the 200 yard medley relay, swimming a 1:24.31 in prelims. The new record-holders is almost a perfect-storm of elite speed, with Nick Thoman leading off in 20.81, followed by Eric Knight (23.86), Tim Phillips (20.36), and Cullen Jones (19.28).
Aside from Phillips, those guys are all pros, and they know how to save their energy for finals, and much like we saw on Thursday, expect them to ramp things up in finals. They have a chance at challenging the American Record set by Cal’s medley at NCAA’s last year of 1:23.17.
The Michigan men, the defending NCAA Champions, take the 2nd seed in 1:26.75, followed by Louisville in 1:27.03.
The Cal A-relay was 4th in 1:27.35. In a bit of a twist this morning, that relay used Ryan Studebaker as its breaststroker (25.39) and put Josh Prenot as the butterflier (20.62). Prenot is a great IM’er, and can do all four strokes very well, but that fast of a 50 fly split was still a pleasant surprise from the outside.
Tennessee’s men sit 5th in 1:27.63, including a 19.39 anchor from the freshman Luke Percy, and the New York Athletic Club’s relay was 6th in 1:27.81.
Michigan’s B and Arizona State’s A round out the A-Final for the evening session.
Women’s 400 IM – Prelims
Cal’s freshman Celina Li, perhaps holding back a bit in prelims based on the swims we saw from her on Thursday, took the top seed in the women’s 400 IM with a 4:10.96. That included splitting a Leverenz-like 1:11.6 on her breaststroke leg (noting that the American Record holder Caitlin Leverenz didn’t swim the 400 IM here).
In 2nd behind her is the defending Big Ten champion Dorina Szekeres with a 4:11.38, and maybe Szekeres’ biggest challenge for that crown this year, Michigan sophomore Marni Oldershaw in 4:12.18.
Kansas’ Chelsie Miller knocked two-and-a-half huge seconds off of her lifetime best for 4th in a 4:12.49, leaving her just half-a-second shy of the Jayhawks’ school record, and a second Wolverine, Courtney Beidler, placed herself in the top 5 with a 4:12.64.
Times slumped a bit after that. Cal’s Kelly Naze was 6th in 4:14.65, followed by Tristin Baxter (4:16.01) and Tennessee’s Amanda Carner (4:16.54).
Men’s 400 IM – Prelims
Another teenager took a top seed at this national championship meet, as Andrew Seliskar, a 17-year old high school junior swimming for NCAP, was a 3:44.44 in the men’s 400 IM. That’s his first time swimming that race in the 17-18 age group (only Phelps was faster as a 15-16), and it places him immediately into 9th-place on the age group’s all-time rankings.
The 2nd seed behind him is Cal sophomore Josh Prenot in 3:45.48, and Michigan’s Connor Jaeger took 3rd in 3:45.50 – a lifetime best for him as well. He swam both the 400 IM and the 200 free on Friday morning, though come NCAA’s he will likely opt for one-or-the-other. One might guess he’d swim the 200, especially given how fast he looked in the long course version of that event this summer, but this 400 IM time is good enough to give some pause to that rationale. Michigan is deep in both races, so the ‘domino effect’ is close to a wash from a team-scoring perspective.
Among the Michigan depth was the 4th-place finisher Kyle Whitaker, who was a 3:47.56. Utah’s Kristian Kron gets the 5th seed in 3:48.30, followed by Michigan’s Dylan Bosch (3:49.13), Louisville’s Nolan Tesone (3:49.53), and Pitt’s Zach Lierley (3:51.30).
Women’s 100 Fly – Prelims
High school senior Janet Hu dipped under 52 seconds for the first time in her career, going a 51.95 in the women’s 100 yard fly for the top seed in Friday morning’s prelims. For the Stanford commit, that puts her within a tenth-of-a-second of the NCAA Automatic Qualifying time.
2012 U.S. Olympian Claire Donahue was the 2nd seed in 52.03, and NCAA first-team All-American sophomore Kelsi Worrell from Louisville was a 52.44 for the 3rd seed.
The 4th seed went to Wisconsinite Beata Nelson in 52.87; that’s shy of her 15-16 National Age Group Record that she set a couple of weeks ago at the Wisconsin High School State Championships, a record that had belonged to the top-seeded Hu.
Indiana freshman Gia Dalesandro is the 5th seed in 53.41, followed by Cal’s Cindy Tran 953.41) and Celina Li (53.48). SwimAtlanta sprinter Amanda Weir rounds out the A-Final in 53.80.
Cal’s Rachel Bootsma, who is likely to be their A-butterflier on their medley, was dq’ed in prelims, but the Golden Bears still had 5 swimmers in the top 14 in the morning.
Men’s 100 Fly – Prelims
Without many true big-time butterfliers in the field, the top seed in the men’s 100 fly went to backstroker Matt Grevers in 45.85. That’s his best time in the event since 2010.
SwimMAC’s Tim Phillips, who is expected to rejoin Ohio State for his final semester of NCAA eligibility in the spring, is the 2nd seed in 46.01, and British sprint freestyler Adam Brown took the 3rd seed in 46.32.
The most notable result of the prelim is the 46.38 done by Queens University freshman Matthew Josa. Not only is that the fastest Division II time in the country so far this year by a second-and-a-half, it made him the top college finisher of any division in these prelims, and ranks him as the second-best freshman of any division in this event this year (behind only Texas’ Jack Conger).
Women’s 200 Free – Prelims
In a matchup of the two fastest junior 200 freestylers ever, 16-year old Katie Ledecky (1:43.74) got the upper-hand in prelims of the women’s 200 free over Missy Franklin (1:44.16) for the top seed and the middle lane for finals. Franklin is still the better 200 freestyler in long course (she’s the World Champion), but Ledecky is showing this season that she’s a very good yards swimmer and can close that gap, though expect Franklin to swim a video-game style time at NCAA’s in March.
Tennessee’s Lindsay Gendron took the 3rd seed in 1:45.20, and Cal’s Caroline Piehl was 4th in 1:45.70.
Canadian Sam Cheverton, who represents Ohio State in the United States (as a post-grad) is the 5th seed in 1:45.77, and Liz Pelton is the 6th seed in 1:46.34.
Cal has a total of 5 swimmers in the A-Final of this race, with Rachael Acker (1:46.35) and Cammile Cheng (1:46.47) rounding out the top 8 from the morning heats.
Men’s 200 Free – Prelims
South African Darian Townsend took the top seed in the men’s 200 free, just holding on ahead of Michael Wynalda from Michigan, who was a 1:33.45 (just shy of his lifetime best). Wynalda is quietly having one of the better meets of the entire field this weekend.
Behind those top two, which separated themselves in the morning, are the last two NCAA Champions in the race: Louisville senior Joao de Lucca, who was a 1:34.28, and SwimMAC’s Dax Hill (a Texas-ex) in 1:35.06.
Michigan’s Jaeger is the 5th seed in 1;35.32, and Louisville put another swimmer in the A-Final in the form of freshman Trevor Carroll with a 1:35.43. Carroll could be the heir apparent to the anchor spot that de Lucca has held down for so long for the Cardinals.
Club Wolverine’s Michael Klueh was 7th in 1:35.49, and Michigan’s Anders Nielsen, who is Dutch by trade, is 8th in 1:35.64.
The 800 free relay could be a very interesting one in finals, with Louisville having three guys going 1;36 or better in the morning heats of the individual event.
Women’s 100 Breast – Prelims
Olympic finalist Alia Atkinson broke the Meet Record in the women’s 100 breaststroke, and just missed her lifetime best with a 58.24 (off of a 58.16) in the heats of the women’s 100 breast. That swim broke the 2012 record set by then-Texas senior Laura Sogar at 58.32.
Atkinson, who is coming off of a big run at the FINA World Cup series, looks like she’s still locked-in to short course mode, and is swimming very well this weekend.
The 2nd seed is SwimMAC Carolina’s Katie Meili in 59.64, and Tennessee junior Molly Hannis took 3rd in 1:00.27.
There were seven swimmers seeded under a minute coming into this meet, so seeing just two get there in prelims was a bit of a surprise, but we may see some drops in finals. Indiana’s Bronwyn Pasloski was a 1:00.48 for the 4th seed behind the above, and 200 breaststroke specialist Micah Lawrence was the 5th seed in 1:00.51.
Rolling down the rankings, in the B-Final take note of Arizona State’s Tory Houston with a lifetime best of 1:01.25; the Sun Devils have been looking for a breaststroker to break through the last couple of years, and it looks like Houston is doing just that; and Cal’s Spanish freshman Marina Garcia is the 11th seed in 1:01.37.
Men’s 100 Breast – Prelims
Grand Canyon University post-grad and Finnish national Eetu Karvonen may have just completed his college career in the spring, but he was the oldest swimmer in the men’s 100 breaststroke on Friday. He was also the top seed, with a 52.78, having looked very strong on his second 50 yards.
Next to him in finals will be Chuck Katis, who is in the midst of transferring from Harvard to Cal, in 52.94; and Louisville’s Kameron Chastain in 53.07.
The A-final is packed in terms of seed times, with the top 8 swimmers in the morning within six-tenths of a second of each other. Michigan’s Richard Funk is the 4th seed in 53.12; Mike Alexandrov is 5th in 53.16 tied with Tennessee’s Brad Craig; NCAP’s Andrew Seliskar is 7th in 53.26, and Cal’s Damir Dugonjic is 8th in 53.33.
Note that Seliskar’s swim (he’s just a high school junior) is better than the National High School Record, but since he is not representing his school in this meet, it doesn’t count. Still, expect that record, which went down at least three times last season, to be broken a couple of more times in 2014 as well.
Women’s 100 Back – Prelims
This will surely be the most hotly-anticipated event of the women’s NCAA Championship, and may hold the same status as this meet, and the Cal women did not fail to impress. They had 5 swimmers in the A-Final, and a 6th (Cindy Tran – 53.40) just barely miss as the 9th seed coming out of prelims.
Missy Franklin was a 52.22 for the top seed, followed by her teammate and the defending NCAA Champion Rachel Bootsma in 52.31.
Liz Pelton, who joined Franklin in this event on the World Championships team, is the 3rd seed in 52.63, and their future Stanford rival Janet Hu is 4th in 52.80.
Also in the A-Final will be Cal’s Stephanie Au (53.06), Team USA Duel in the Pool member Kathleen Baker (53.13); Cal’s Melanie Klaren (53.17); and Indiana sophomore Brooklyn Snodgrass (53.28). Indiana’s backstroke group looks deep as well, with three swimmers better than 54 seconds.
Men’s 100 Backstroke – Prelims
American Record watch is on for finals of the men’s 100 backstroke. After missing the mark by the narrowest of margins in a relay leadoff on Thursday, SwimMAC’s Nick Thoman, who took much of the summer off, was a more tempered 45.11 in prelims of the men’s 100 back individual race. Still, he’ll be on the hunt for Matt Grevers’ 44.55 from this meet last year in the evening.
Swimming right next to him will be that record-holder Grevers, after a 45.82 in prelims. Arkady Vyatchanin is the 3rd seed in 46.31, and the top collegian in the morning was Cal freshman Ryan Murphy in 46.36 (his teammate Jacob Pebley was right behind him in 46.82).
Finals begin on Friday at 5PM Eastern Time.