WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
June 26, 2013
The scenario couldn’t have been any more exciting or painful Wednesday night at the Phillips 66 National Championships/World Championship Trials in Indianapolis at Indiana University Natatorium.
Two monster swimmers, two monster doubles, four victories in the books. Olympians Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte took turns pulling off tough doubles to highlight action on the second day of competition.
Franklin, 18, of Colorado Stars and Lochte, 28, of Daytona Beach Swimming each won the 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter backstroke events to add to their national title resumes.
“I don’t want to go through that pain again,” Lochte said. “As I get older, it doesn’t get any easier. But I like the challenge and I love to race. A lot of people didn’t think I would be here, but I am a racer.”
Lochte has scratched from Thursday’s 400 IM and 50 backstroke.
Franklin became the first female swimmer ever to go under 2:06 in the 200-meter backstroke (2:05.68) on U.S. soil.
“That hurt a lot,” Franklin said.
Florida Gold Coast swimmers also had a banner night with Clara Smiddy of AK Sharks qualifying for “A” finals in the 200-meter backstroke; University of Florida sophomore Carlos Omana of Metro Aquatics for the “B” final in the 200-meter backstroke; and Emily Kopas, 16, swimming unattached for Sharks Aquatics, in the “C” final in the 200-meter breaststroke. All three swam lifetime-bests against fast fields.
In the championship finals:
Women 200-meter freestyle:
In a race where the top three seeds were Olympic gold medalists, top seed Missy Franklin made it look so easy. She went out in 27.04, 3/10ths of a second under world record pace. By the 100 split (55.96) she had a full body length and cruised for the win in 1:55.56, the second fastest time in the world. The battle was more exciting for second. Teenager Katie Ledecky, 16, of Nation’s Capital, surged for second in 1:57.63 and Shannon Vreeland was third 1:58.13. “I have been focusing on this event a lot, more on the little things and it’s paid off,” Franklin said.
Men 200-meter freestyle:
Lochte is getting close to his old self and it’s beginning to show. He wanted to take the race out fast and did splitting 24.64 for the first 50 meters. He led by a half-body length after 100 at 51.65 and held on despite Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens bearing down. Lochte worked his legs to hold off the field and win in 1:45.97, fifth fastest time in the world. Dwyer was second in 1:46.25, seventh fastest time in the world this year and Matt McLean was third. “That was a tough race,” Lochte said. “I knew if I went out fast I had a good shot so that’s what I did. I have two more weeks of training to get ready for worlds.” Lochte was one six Olympians in the 200 field.
Women 200-meter breaststroke:
Olympic gold medalist and American record holder Breeja Larson, 21, of Aggie Swim Club got a brief scare from Laura Sogar, 22, of Bluefish, who led after the 50 (32.54) and 100 (1:09.01), less than a second off world record pace. Larson made her move on the third 50 with a 36.52 split to take the lead at 1:46.22 and pulled away for the win in 2:23.44, third fastest time in the world this year. Micah Lawrence, 22, of SwimMAC was second in 2:24.69. Sogar was third in 2:24.86. “It feels pretty good to make the team,” Larson said. “I really tried to focus on the 200, work on pacing and cardio more. It definitely paid off. I just swam my own race. I have a tendency to get overexcited in the finals so I just put on my horse blinders and just swam my race.”
Men 200-meter breaststroke:
In the same pool where he dominated the NCAA Championships and broke the American short course record, Kevin Cordes, 19, of Tucson Ford, Cordes qualified with the third fastest time in the world in prelims (2:09.16) and came back to win in 2:08.34, the fastest time in the world this year. He went out fast in 28.91 and at the 100 was 1:01.22, under world record pace. The crowd was on its feet as he split 33.03 to remain on record pace (1:34.25) but just missed the world and American records. BJ Johnson, 26, of Palo Alto was second in 2:10.09. “I could hear the crowd, they brought me home,” Cordes said. “This race gave me more confidence going into Barcelona.”
Women 200-meter backstroke:
Franklin, the world record holder and Olympic champion in this event, had plenty left after her freestyle. She took the lead (29.74 split) and opened up a half-body length (1:01.15) with a 31.41 split. With Liz Pelton bearing down, Franklin held for the win in 2:05.68, a U.S. Open record and second fastest time in the world. “The doubles are really rough, I’m not going to lie,” Franklin said. “It hurt a lot, but it’s good for me. It is so much fun. I love doing doubles, they are so energizing. I love having one race and getting right back up and doing another one.” AK Sharks 17-year-old Clara Smiddy was eighth in the race in 2:12.27 after swimming a lifetime-best 2:11.53 in prelims.
Men 200-meter backstroke:
Lochte followed in Franklin’s footsteps with the same strategy, going out fast, building a lead and holding on for the win in 1:55.16, third-fastest time in the world. Tyler Clary, 24, of Club Wolverine, the Olympic champion and top morning seed, was second in 1:55.58. Bolles 17-year-old Ryan Murphy was third in 1:56.37, a lifetime-best. Murphy took it out fast for the lead at 26.98 but Lochte came right back with a 28.55 split to lead after 100. He extended his lead at the 150 and then held off Clary. “I just wanted to get out there, get a lead and hold on for dear life,” Lochte said. “The last 50 I knew they were going to be closing in. I like being up in front and going from there. That’s a pretty good time considering my workouts haven’t been there this year. The hardest thing this year was trying to get back into the training mode.”
Women 50-meter butterfly:
With less than a second between the top three morning seeds in the event’s national debut, the race was expected to be close and it was. Third-seed Christine Magnuson, 27, of Tucson Ford won in 26.08, second fastest time in the world, and Kendyl Stewart, 18, of North Coast Aquatics was second in 26.19. Claire Donahue, 24, of Western Kentucky, despite the quickest start, was third in 26.23. “This is awesome, I am so happy to punch my ticket to Barcelona,” Magnuson said. “I wanted to clean up my breakout from this morning. There is still room for improvement. It was just about setting up my stroke for the first two and building from there.”
Men 50-meter butterfly:
Eugene Godsoe, 25, of Stanford Swimming knocked off top seed and favorite Matt Grevers to win in 23.29 and make his first world team with the ninth fastest time in the world this year. Grevers was second in 23.50. Grevers was quicker off the block but Godsoe had great finishing speed in the last 20 meters. “I made my first national team in Indy in 2005, it’s been a long time for me,” Godsoe said. “I am really excited. It was just a matter of hitting everything right without losing my stroke. Tonight I was in control of myself.”
Swimmers have to finish in the top two in FINA-qualified times to earn an individual spot on the U.S. team for Barcelona.
The four highest finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyles will make the U.S. team for relay help and winner in each of the non-Olympic events will qualify.
The World Championships are July 19-Aug. 4.
Florida Gold Coast Wednesday Results
200-meter breaststroke: 2. “C” Final, Emily Kopas, Unattached/Shark Aquatics 2:32.58, best time, dropping from 2:33.80, 23. 2:35.77 in prelims.
200-meter backstroke: 8. “A” Final, Clara Smiddy, AK Sharks 2:12.27, 7. 2:11.53, best time in prelims dropping from 2:13.33.
200-meter backstroke: 4. “B” Final, Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 2:00.60 best time; 12. 2:01.25, best time, prelims, dropping from 2:04.01.
World Trials On TV
NBC Sports Network and Universal Sports is televising seven hours of the June 25-29 USA Swimming Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis, which are also serving as the World Championship trials for the U.S. team.
The schedule is: Tuesday, June 25, 6-8 p.m., Universal; Wednesday, June 26, 6-8:30 p.m., Universal; Saturday, June 29, 1-2:30 p.m., NBC and 11 p.m.-midnight, NBC Sports Network.
USA Swimming will also offer a live webcast of the entire meet on its website, prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org