WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
June 29, 2013
From rookies Simone Manuel and Maya Dirado to veterans Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin, USA Swimming will be sending a mixed bag of fifty swimmers to next month’s FINA World Aquatic Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
On the fifth and final night of the Phillips 66 National Championships and World Trials at the Indianapolis Natatorium, the U.S. team was finalized with some unexpected surprises.
Highlighting the final night of action, 16-year-old Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte and Nathan Adrian swam world-bests in their events.
Bob Bowman will serve as head men’s coach and Dave Salo head women’s coach of the U.S. teams. The world championships are July 28-Aug. 4.
Missy Franklin, 18, of Colorado Stars won the high point award with 97 points followed by Katie Ledecky, 16, of Nation’s Capital with 77. Ryan Lochte, 28, of Daytona Beach Swimming won men’s high point with 92 points and Matt Grevers, 28, of Tucson Ford was second with 76.
Bluefish Swim Club edged California Aquatics, 223-213 for the women’s team title. California Aquatics won the men’s title with 259.50 points followed by Tucson Ford with 244. California Aquatics won the combined team title with 471.50 followed by Tucson Ford with 368.50.
Women’s 1500-meter freestyle:
Teenager and Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky crushed Janet Evans’ 15-16 national age group record (15:52.10) that has stood since 1988 to win in 15:47.15, the fastest time in the world this year and long course national record. Ledecky, 16, is the second fastest American in history and fourth fastest ever in the world in the event. Californian Chloe Sutton was second in 16:07.75. Clearwater’s Becca Mann was sixth in 16:24.83.
“I am really happy with my time, it was the swim I was looking forward to this whole week,” Ledecky said. “I wanted to end with a bang. I wanted to swim a controlled race. I wanted to see if I could put together a good swim.”
Women’s 200-meter individual medley:
2012 Olympic bronze 200 IM medalist Caitlin Leverenz made the world team on the final night after the top morning seed won in 2:10.13, the fourth fastest time in the world this year. Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel was second. Leverenz went out fast in the butterfly (27.83) and built a body-length lead through the backstroke and breaststroke. Beisel finished in 2:12.11. Both Missy Franklin and Liz Pelton scratched from the event.
“It put a lot of pressure on me when it came down to the final day to make worlds,” Leverenz said. “I didn’t have quite the meet I hoped to have. I knew this was my best event and it was on the last day. I had to be patient.”
Men’s 200-meter individual medley:
Ryan Lochte won his signature event with a dominating swim in 1:55.44, the fastest time in the world this year. Conor Dwyer was second in 1:57.74. Lochte was under world record pace in the butterfly (24.69), backstroke and breaststroke and built a body length lead. It was Lochte’s third win of the meet.
“I don’t worry about racing the clock, I was just racing the other guys, it was a good field,” Lochte said. “I am a racer. I just get up there and race. I am never satisfied. I know in all my races there is always something I can improve. In that race there’s a lot.”
Men’s 800-meter freestyle:
Michigan’s Connor Jaeger broke open a two-man race against Michael McBroom to break the U.S. Open and national long course records in 7:46.78, third best time in the world this year. McBroom was second in a lifetime-best 7:47.13. It was Jaeger’s third win of the meet. Jaeger scratched from the 200 to make room for his training partner Michael Klueh on the world roster.
“We like racing each other and I was lucky to have three of my teammates right next to me,” Jager said. “I was relaxed going out and feeling confident. Michael pushed the pace early so I knew we were going to have a good race. Thinking about swimming the 1500 twice can be a little intimidating but this is what we train for year-round.”
Women’s 50-meter freestyle:
Veteran Olympian Natalie Coughlin is re-inventing herself in the sprint and it’s paying off. She went out quickly and finished first in 24.97. Top morning qualifier Simone Manuel, 16, of First Colony Swim Team in Sugar Land, Texas was second in 25.01 and lowered the national 15-16 age group record twice in prelims (25.06) and finals. It was Manuel’s first individual event she qualified for worlds. She will also be a member of the 4×100 free relay.
“It’s tempting but I tried not to look around at the other swimmers,” Coughlin said. “I kept my head still and just got my hand to the wall. I have really been working on power in my stroke especially up front. In the 50, it helps a lot.”
Men’s 50-meter freestyle:
Nathan Adrian, looking much better than he did in the 100, went out fast to win in 21.47, the fastest time in the world this year and tied the national long course record. Top seed and Adrian’s training partner Anthony Ervin was second in 21.70.
“I think I had to get myself mentally prepared for this meet,” Adrian said. “It’s quite an adjustment after the Olympics to have another trials the next year. It’s pretty hard to get into.”
Bolles Ryan Murphy won the “C” final in 23.16 and Bolles teammate Santo Condorelli won the “B” final in 22.73.
Florida Gold Coast Results:
Women’s 200-meter individual medley: “A” Final, 5. Jana Mangimelli, Gulliver Swim Club, 2:12.75 best time dropping from 2:13.48; 8. 2:14.97, prelims.
Men’s 200-meter individual medley: “B” Final, 7. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 2:03.86; 15. 2:03.56, best time prelims, dropping from 2:05.49; 32. Sam Smiddy, AK Sharks 2:07.66.
Michael Phelps will celebrate his 28th birthday on Sunday with family and friends in Baltimore. Phelps followed the world trials results but said swimming is the farthest thing from his mind and he has no intentions of returning to the pool even though several swimmers including Ryan Lochte and TV announcer Rowdy Gaines speculated that he will.
“Man, people will believe anything that’s written, anything that’s on TV,” Phelps told his hometown paper. “There’s nothing in the works with me coming back to swimming. This is a part of my life I’m enjoying. I’ve never had freedom like this and I live on my own time. I play golf three or four times a week. I wake up whenever I want. I’m not thinking about changing that. I want to help grow the sport and there are other ways to do it. My life, the way it is now, is great.”…
The five-day meet in Indianapolis did not draw the crowds that last year’s U.S. Olympic swimming trials did. Many believe without Michael Phelps, U.S. swimming will be a poor draw. But with so many new stars on the horizon, that theory will not hold water.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org