WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
March 31, 2012
Two-time Olympians Alia Atkinson and Vlad Polyakov finished among the top eight in the 100-meter breaststroke Saturday night at the Indianapolis Grand Prix at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Polyakov, 28, eighth fastest morning qualifier in 1:02.20, finished third among a stacked field that included swimmers from six different countries.
Swimming in Lane 1 next to Brendan Hansen, Polyakov led after the first 50 meters in 28.52 seconds and held on for third in 1:01.48 with a 32.96 back-half split, second slowest in the field.
Polyakov was shooting for the FINA qualifying standard of 1:00.79 to make his third Olympic team for Kazakhstan.
Marcus Titus, 25, of Tucson Ford, won in 1:00.86 and Hansen, 30, of Longhorn Aquatics was second in 1:01.04.
Atkinson, 23, tied for fourth with her second fastest time ever in 1:08.94 with Micah Lawrence, 21, of SwimMac. Jessica Hardy won in 1:06.12 and Amanda Beard was second in 1:08.50.
Atkinson was swimming in Lane 3 next to Hardy, 25, of Trojan Swim Club, the world and American record holder. Atkinson was third after the first 50 meters in 32.48. Hardy went out in 31.27 and won by nearly a body length with her fastest time in two years. Atkinson’s second split was 36.46.
“I am not rested, I am training through this meet,” Hardy said. “I wanted to see what I could do. It felt pretty good. I love to race. This stroke is my heart and soul. It’s something I just love to do.”
SOFLO’s Nick Schwab was 31st in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:08.30.
In one of the most anticipated races of the meet, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte went head-to-head in the finals of the 200-meter individual medley with Phelps winning in a convincing fashion in 1:56.31. South African Darian Townsend was second in 1:59.28 and Lochte was third in 1:59.37.
Phelps went out fast in the butterfly (25.20) and turned with Townsend; took a slight lead in the backstroke (29.02) and then dropped Townsend in the breaststroke (34.18) and turned it on for freestyle (27.91).
U.S. Olympic hopeful Claire Donahue, who has been training at the Academic Village Pool, won the “C” final in the 200-meter butterfly.
In other USA Swimming Grand Prix championship finals where meet records were broken on the final night:
Women’s 200-meter butterfly: Hungarian national champion Katinka Hosszu, 22, of Trojan Swim Club pulled away at the third 50 to win in a meet record 2:07.58. Kathleen Hersey, 22, of Longhorn Aquatics was second in 2:00.92 just edging top morning qualifier Dana Vollmer, 24, of California Aquatics, who led after the first 100 meters by 6/100ths of a second, and finished third in 2:09.96. The field featured four U.S. Olympians. “I like being back swimming long course,” said Hosszu, coming off NCAAs.
Men’s 200-meter butterfly: National champion Bobby Bollier, 22, of Stanford, coming off NCAAs, took the lead early and won in 1:56.34. Davis Tarwater, 28, of SwimMac was second in 1:58.02 and Tyler Clary, 23, of FAST was third in 1:58.12. Bolles’ Joseph Schooling, 16, was seventh in 2:03.99. “I feel pretty confident going into the Trials,” Bollier said. “I am happy with this. I feel more confident with long course.”
Women’s 100-meter backstroke: Early leader Missy Franklin won by nearly a body length in 59.89, her fastest time this year. Stephanie Au, 19, of California Aquatics, was second in 1:01.30 and 16-year-old Kylie Stewart of Dynamo was third in 1:02.12. “I was really hoping to break a minute I don’t think I felt anything that last 15 meters I was swinging my limbs as fast as I could.” Ten minutes later she won the “B” final of the 200 IM in 2:15.82. Franklin said she planned on looking for a dress and shoes for her junior prom in two weeks before flying back to Colorado on Sunday.
Men’s 100-meter backstroke: Nick Thoman of SwimMAC held off Ryan Lochte in the lane next to him to win in 53.95. Thoman was the early leader in 26.19. David Russell, 25, of California Aquatics was second in 54.61 and Lochte tied for third with Mathias Gydesen, 23, of California Aquatics in 54.75. “We have been working a lot on speed and power, trying to get out faster than id id last year and show what I got. Everybody in thebackstroke events are swimming so fast right now.
Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Caitlin Leverenz, 21, won in 2:09.71, called the best swim of the meet by Universal Sports announcer Rowdy Gaines. It was the second fastest time in the world. Ariana Kukors of Bolles was second in 2:10.76 and Liz Pelton of T2Aquatics was third in 2:12.30. “I just wanted to go for it and see what I could do,” Leverenz said. “If I want to be a contender in London I need to be going a time like that now. I am not surprised by the time. I am very happy with myself.”
Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Gillian Ryan, 16, of North Baltimore won in 8:32.49 followed by Kate Ziegler, 23, in 8:33.86 and Rachel Zilinskas, 17, of Germantown Academy in 8:36.70.
Men’s 1500-meter freestyle: Matias Koski, 17, of Dynamo won in a career-best 15:09.17. Arthur Frayler, 18, of Germantown Academy was second in 15:09.27, also a best time. Mateusz Sawrymowicz, 24, of Trojan Swim Club was third in 15:19.35.
Southern Methodist won the women’s 400-meter medley relay in 4:13.70. Dynamo won the men’s 400-meter medley relay in 3:53.19.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org