Olympic Trials Day 1- Prelims Reactions

M400IM, W100Fly, M400Fr, W400IM, M100Br

Men’s 400 IM


Michael Phelps did not throw his hat in the ring this time around, but defending Olympic Champion Ryan Lochte did. Lochte had a dominating fly and back, but the breaststroke leg was owned by Chase Kalisz of North Baltimore, splitting a 1:10.3, besting Lochte by 2.3 seconds. Kalisz hung on to finish first in prelims ahead of Lochte, both touching in 4:11. Cal Breaststroke star Josh Prenot also surged ahead of Lochte with his blistering breaststroke split of 1:07.91 (I did the math 3 times because that’s FAST), but Prenot couldn’t hold on in the freestyle and finished 6th. He swam again later as well, and scratched from the final to focus on his 100 breaststroke.

Olympic medalist Tyler Clary, who is the third fastest American of all time in the 400IM from 2009, had a notably off race. Front-loading his strong strokes such that he had the lead at the 200, Clary looked beat on the breaststroke leg, and a lack-luster freestyle finished got him into the wall 8th overall. Clary, who many thought would qualify in this event, scratched from the final, conserving his energy for other races.

After scratches, the top 8 are listed below. Expect Lochte to drop time in this event tonight, but look for recent graduate Kalisz to fight hard. Dynamo’s Jay Litherland was less than a second behind Lochte this morning as well.

1 – Chase Kalisz
2 – Ryan Lochte
3 – Jay Litherland
4 – Gunnar Bentz
5 – Sean Grieshop
6 – Abraham Devine
7 – Austin Snyder
8 – Charlie Swanson
Alt – Andrew Seliskar

Women’s 100 Butterfly

The 100 fly was an event that progressed largely as predicted, but one take-away was that Kelsi Worrell came out swinging. Kentucky’s Worrell took the top seed in an all-around beautiful swim, (26.35, 56.84), besting Cal veteran Dana Vollmer y three quarters of a second. Yuungster Cassidy Bayer was a distant third, but with her, Vollmer and Worrell were the only women to swim faster than 59 seconds. Worrell’s time is the second fastest in American history, eclipsed only by Vollmer’s 55.98 to clinch gold in London and become the then-world record (which has only been surpassed by Sweden’s Sara Sjostrom, though several times).  Vollmer already churned out a 56.98 this season at Mesa, so expect fireworks (literal and figurative) in semi-finals and finals!

In the top 8, and top 16, there are still plenty of contenders who would want to take Worrell or Vollmer out of the picture. 4th place Kendall Stewart’s lifetime best is a 57.82; Felicia Lee, currently in 9th, has clocked a 58.4; 16-year old Eva Merrell is the other high-school aged contender; Claire Donohue is also sitting pretty in 13th, ready to step up and make top-8 tonight. The start list for semi finals is here:

Heat 1
Ln  Place   Name
1       14       Ivy Martin
2      10       Lauren Case
3       6        Katie McLaughlin
4       2        Dana Vollmer
5       4        Kendyl Stewart
6       8        Hali Flickinger
7      12       Cammile Adams
8      16       Natalie Labonge

Heat 2
Ln   Place    Name
1        13       Claire Donohue
2        9        Felicia Lee
3        5         Eva Merrell
4        1         Kelsi Worrell
5        3         Cassidy Bayer
6       7          Sarah Gibson
7      11          Kaitlyn Jones
8      15          Hellen Moffitt

Mens 400 Freestyle

The 400 freestyle has a lot of familiar looking names as the 2012 final: Conor Dwyer, Michael McBroom, Connor Jaeger. This morning’s top finisher, Zane Grothe, was just outside with a 3:52.8 and 14th place in 2012. Today, Grothe showed a strong 3:47, just over a second off his best. Close behind him were Dwyer, McBroom and Jaeger, all 3:47s as well. But then came the young-guns: NCAA champion Townley Haas, True Sweetster, and Clark Smith all showed strong 3:48s, all swimming personal bests and making it on the list of top 20 fastest Americans ever. Grant Shoults rounds out the final.  The questions for tonight: will Haas take his NCAA championship attitude to finals and steal a spot? Will Grothe hang on to the top spot against the unflappable Conor/Connor mid-distance block? Will youth triumph over experience with the likes of Sweetster or Shoults? Starting list here:

1 – Zane Grothe
2 – Conor Dwyer
3 – Michael McBroom
4 – Connor Jaeger
5 – Townley Haas
6 – True Sweetster
7 – Clark Smith
8 – Grant Shoults
Alt – Kevin Litherland

Women’s 400 IM

The women’s 400 IM, much like the men’s, is grueling. That’s perhaps why Sarah Henry, well established for her stamina, sits atop the finalists. Her 4:36.93 makes her the 8th fastest American ever; Elizabeth Beisel, who was less than a second behind her today,Mira Dirado, and Caitlin Leverenz, who finished 2nd, 4th, and 5th today respectively, are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fastest all time behind retired Olympian Katie Hoff. Making an appearance in a big was Bethany Galat, posting a 4:38.39 to beat Dirado to the wall. The real test will be if momentum and personal bests will hold up against time-tested speed. The rest of the heat will be in the race, but expect your two qualifiers to be among those 5. The starting list is here:

1 – Sarah Henry
2 – Elizabeth Beisel
3 – Bethany Galat
4 – Maya Dirado
5 – Caitlin Leverenz
6 – Madisyn Cox
7 – Kate Mills
8 – Lindsey Clary
Alt – Ella Eastin

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

The 100 breast is a fun race to watch. There are so many different tempos and styles, and the best of the best have so much polish on such a strange stroke. This event is fresh: Nic Fink, Kevin Cordes, Brendan McHugh and Marcus Titus are the only swimmers who made top 16 in 2012 – neither 2012 qualifier is in the water (though I’ve definitely seen Brendan Hansen walking around as a coach). Cody Miller (currently 2nd,  with a 59.33, PR) has become a dominant force in the Pro scene, but Kevin Cordes (currently 1st, with a 59.05, PR) has been one of the most dominant collegiate swimmers in any set of events ever, and Will Licon (currently 8th) killed his perfect sweep! Add to that mix the youngest swimmer to ever go pro – now 17, Michael Andrew impressed, crushing the junior  world record and busting onto the all-time US list at 9th!

Ln  Place   Name
1       14       Connor Hoppe
2      10       Ian Finnerty
3       6        Marcus Titus
4       2        Cody Miller
5       4        Andrew Wilson
6       8        Will Licon
7      12       Sam Tierney
8      16       Chuck Katis

Heat 2
Ln   Place    Name
1        13       Reece Whitley
2        9        Nic Fink
3        5         Michael Andrew
4        1         Kevin Cordes
5        3         Josh Prenot
6       7          Brendan McHugh
7      11          Alex Evdokimov
8      15          Brandon Fiala




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