By Sharon Robb
June 19, 2014—-Melissa Marinheiro of South Florida Aquatic Club was the top Florida Gold Coast finisher on opening day of the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara.
Marinheiro, 17, placed 15th in the women’s 1500-meter freestyle in 17:11.13.
SOFLO teammate Olivia Katcher, 18, was 30th in 18:18.61.
Megan Moroney, 17, of St. Andrew’s Swimming, seeded third, was 24th in 17:33.39.
Denmark Olympian Lotte Friis, 25, training at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, led from wire-to-wire to win the 1500 in 16:00.35, moving to second place in this year’s world rankings.
The real battle was for second place between Canadian Brittany MacLean, training for the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs, and former Clearwater swimmer Becca Mann, also training at NBAC and coming off her first national 10K open water victory.
MacLean, 20, was second in 16:10.26 and Mann, 16, was third in 16:15.01.
In the men’s 800-meter freestyle, top seed Michael McBroom, 23, pulled ahead at the final turn to win in 7:49.96, just ahead of Connor Jaeger in 7:50.59. It was the third and fourth fastest times in the world this year. Canadian Ryan Cochrane was third in 7:57.10.
Marcelo Acosta, 17, of Azura Florida Aquatics was top Florida Gold Coast finisher placing 11th in a best tine 8:08.15, dropping 9.24 seconds.
The meet ramps up with a full schedule on Friday with Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin leading the field.
In addition to Marinheiro and Katcher, SOFLO’s contingent also includes Jessica Rodriguez and Marcella Marinheiro, who will be a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast this fall.
The final stop on the Grand Prix six-meet circuit is a final dress rehearsal for this summer’s National Championships and Selection Trials, Aug. 6-10 in Irvine, Calif.
USA Swimming.org will live stream both the prelims and finals. Universal Sports will also televise the meet on June 21-22 starting at 8 p.m.
Teenager Katie Ledecky broke her own world record in the 1500-meter freestyle Thursday at the Woodlands Swim Team’s Senior Invitational Meet in Texas. She won the event in 15:34.23 lowering her previous world record of 15:36.53. She went out in 8:16 for the first 800. The record, which is also a new American and national age group record, must still be approved by FINA.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com