By Sharon Robb
January 17, 2014
It came as no surprise when U.S. national team members dominated the awards podium on opening night of the Arena Grand Prix in Austin, Tex.
Katie Ledecky, Nathan Adrian and Simone Manuel were among winners Friday night.
Ledecky, swimming’s distance queen, won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:04.46, nearly five seconds ahead of Lotte Friis of Denmark.
“It’s a little different than it used to be, not going for best times,” Ledecky told reporters after the meet.
“Now I am just getting up and racing and finding ways to improve, working on little things like race strategy, saving my legs, those kind of things.”
Adrian dominated the men’s field in the 100-meter freestyle. He led from start-to-finish to win in 48.26 ahead of Yannick Agnel of France (49.31) and U.S. Olympian and top morning seed Conor Dwyer (49.39).
“It’s a good start to the long course season,” Adrian said.
Manuel won the 100-meter freestyle in 54.38, nearly a half second ahead of Olympian Allison Schmitt in 54.86. Schmitt is returning to competition after a disappointing 2013 season.
Megan Romano and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace tied for third in 54.94.
Other individual winners were:
Micah Lawrence, 200-meter breaststroke in 2:25.73.
Tom Shields, 100-meter butterfly in 52.72.
Ross Murdoch of Great Britain, 200-meter breaststroke in 2:12.15.
Frenchman Yannick Agnel, 400-meter freestyle in 3:49.78.
Canadian Noemie Thomas, 100-meter butterfly in 58.54.
Most of the swimmers are using the three-day meet as a gauge for training, looking ahead to the competitive summer season. No Florida Gold Coast teams are entered in the meet.
The meet continues today with prelims and finals, both being live webcast at http://www.usaswimming.org. The finals are also being televised by Universal Network with Rowdy Gaines.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com