By Sharon Robb
May 18, 2014
After re-charging her batteries with a good night’s sleep, Hungarian Olympian Katinka Hosszu ended the 30th annual Charlotte Arena Grand Prix in style Sunday night at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.
Hosszu, 25, won two more events bringing her grand total to six victories in seven races over three days during the four-day meet. She took home a $3,000 paycheck for her wins this week.
The Iron Lady won the 200-meter individual medley, her fifth win, easily in 2:10.80. Kathleen Baker, 17, of SwimMAC was second in 2:13.17. St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis, 22, was third in 2:13.36. Clearwater’s Becca Mann of North Baltimore Aquatic Club turned around after finishing second in the 800-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 8:26.43, to finish fourth in 2:16.43.
Hosszu won her sixth and final race in the 200-meter backstroke. She pulled away from early challenger Megan Romano in the final 75 meters to win in 2:10.12. Romano was second in 2:11.46.
“I really, really love to race,” Hosszu said. “I am just trying to do my best. It feels so good I was able to double tonight. I really like to race here. I am on a mission for Rio. After the 2012 Olympics I moved back to Hungary and have been training ever since and it’s been really great.”
In the “B” final, St. Andrew’s Swimming’s Tasija Karosas, a freshman at Texas, was second in 2:16.60.
In other championship finals:
Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Denmark’s Lotte Friis held off a charging 16-year-old Becca Man in the final 15 meters to win in 8:26.16, fifth fastest time in the world. Mann was second in a best time 8:26.43, the sixth fastest time in the world. Both train at North Baltimore. The top four finishers were all North Baltimore swimmers. “The competition in the pool to train with there is amazing,” Friis said. “I feel pretty good after this swim. I am rebuilding after world championships.” Andreina Pinto, 22, of Gator Swim Club was ninth in 8:47.07.
Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Brazilian Thiago Pereira, 28, took it out fast and set the pace to lead from wire-to-wire and win in 1:58.44. Pereira led by more than a body length after the backstroke and continued to build a huge lead in the breaststoke before holding off Conor Dwyer, 25, of North Baltimore on the freestyle leg for the win. Dwyer was second in 2:00.06.
Men’s 200-meter backstroke: Three-time Olympian Arkady Vyatchanin, 30, of the New York Athletic Club, who trains with the Gainesville Swim Club and did the Gator Chop after winning, hammered early in the race to grab the lead and went on to win in 1:55.33, fourth fastest time in the world this year and fastest in a textile suit. Defending Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary, 25, of SwimMAC was second in 1:58.03. “This race was very special to me because this was my best time since the summer of 2006,” Vyatchanin said.
Women’s 100-meter freestyle: In a great four-swimmer race down the stretch, Allison Schmitt, 23, of North Baltimore turned it on in the last 25 meters to win in 54.65. Madison Kennedy, 26, of SwimMAC was second in 54.93 and Megan Romano, 23, of Athens Bulldogs was third in 55.07. Olympian Jessica Hardy won the “B” final in 55.91. “I felt stronger in the back half and decided to go for it,” Schmitt said. Marta Ciesla, 15, of Pine Crest Swimming was fifth in the “B” bonus final in 59.14 after going 58.69 in prelims.
Men’s 100-meter freestyle: Anthony Ervin took it out fast and Yannick Agnel, in an outside lane, came on strong in the end to tie in 49.51. Ervin took it out in 22.91 and came home in 26.60. Agnel went out in 24.17 and came back in 25.34. “I just wanted to go out and feel good, I felt great the first 50 and then the wheels started coming off after that,” Ervin said. “I tried to find another gear to stay in it.” Added Agnel, “I put everything in that last 50 and it went well.”
Men’s 1500-meter freestyle: Connor Jaeger of Club Wolverine led from start to finish by half a pool length and win in 15:11.46. “I definitely swam a solid race. I am happy to end on a solid note,” Jaeger said. “I just have to keep training distance like I have been and develop more speed.”
The sixth and final Arena Grand Prix is June 19-22 at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara, Calif.