By Sharon Robb
August 6, 2014—In an opening day shocker, Nathan Adrian pulled away from a star-studded field including Michael Phelps at the Phillips 66 National Championships Wednesday at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif.
The shocker wasn’t top-seeded Adrian winning the 100-meter freestyle, but Phelps finishing a disappointing seventh failing to make the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team for Pan Pacs.
“I don’t think I have seen anything like this on the national scene, I am taking a picture of the TV monitor,” said color commentator Rowdy Gaines.
“It’s something you are not going to see often, it’s just so odd to see,” Gaines said. “He’ll be back, he has several events left. No need to panic quite yet.”
Gaines said he couldn’t remember the last time Phelps finished seventh on the national scene.
Adrian, 25, of Cal Aquatics won in 48.31. Florida alum Ryan Lochte, 30, of SwimMac, testing his knee and swimming in Lane 8, was second in 48.96 and Jimmy Feigen, 24, of the New York Athletic Club was third in 48.98.
Phelps, swimming in Lane 3, was seventh in 49.17, off his seed time of 48.80 and prelim time of 48.77.
After the start, Phelps stayed under water longer than Nathan, who went out in 22.85. Phelps had a bad push off at the wall and was not only slow off the turn, but last off the turn, while Adrian pulled away with 15 meters left.
It was his first attempt to qualify for his first international meet since the London Games. The top four earn berths to the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia later this month (Aug 21-25).
Phelps was visibly upset, pulling his goggles off, shaking his head looking at the scoreboard and leaning on the lane line. It’s Phelps first national meet since coming out of retirement and biggest meet since the 2012 Olympics.
“It’s not a great time for me, but it’s all about qualifying,” Adrian said. “Against a field like that, it’s always important to get your hand on the wall first.
“It’s really important not to abandon my race strategy,” Adrian said. “I worked all year with a certain strategy in mind and I tried my best to execute it. The third 25 I took off a bit and tried to hold on at the end. I just need to get faster and rest for Pan Pacs.”
Lochte, testing his on-again, off-again ailing knee, looked solid in the water.
“I just wanted to go out there and have fun,” Lochte said. “This year has been the biggest rollercoaster of my life. I wanted to go out there and race tough. I was in Lane 8, so I couldn’t see the rest of the field. I just had to put my head down and hope for the best.”
The star-studded men’s field featured seven Olympians and five gold medalists.
In morning prelims, Phelps looked like he wasn’t in the race. But he came home with a split of 24.79 to qualify for finals with the third fastest time of the morning.
In other championship finals:
Women’s 200-meter butterfly:
2012 Olympian Cammile Adams, 22, of Cypress, Tex., and SwimMAC won in 2:07.12, off her best time of 2:06.75, but was the sixth fastest time in the world this year. She was 1:01.61 at the first 100 meters. Early leader Katie McLaughlin, 17, of Mission Viejo was second in 2:08.74 with an opening split of 28.85 and Hali Flickinger, 20, of Athens Bulldogs was third in 2:08.77. “I really believe in that back half,” Adams said. “I just kept believing in myself in that last 50 meters. I am really excited about Australia. I think I am just growing more as a swimmer with the more national meets I do. I couldn’t be more excited.” The average age of the finalists was 19 years old. At 14, Cassidy Bayer of Nation’s Capital was the youngest in the field, finishing eighth in 2:12.30.
Men’s 200-meter butterfly:
Swimming in Lane 2, Tom Shields, 23, born in Panama City, Fla. and now living in Huntington Beach, Calif., the Cal-Berkeley swimmer hung on to knock off an impressive field including Olympian Tyler Clary to win in a lifetime best by more than two seconds in 1:55.09, third fastest time of the year. Shields led from wire-to-wire with splits of 25.38, 28.84, 29.90 and 30.97, despite tightening up in the last 20 meters. “We were really thinking about hitting the walls and using my weapons,” Shields said. “I thought the field was really even after this morning. All eight lanes had a shot. I just told myself don’t look around, just swim your race.” Clary, 25, of SwimMAC was second in 1:56.00 and Chase Kalisz, 20, of North Baltimore was third in 1:56.50.
Women’s 100-meter freestyle:
Smiling and looking relaxed before her race, swimming sensation Missy Franklin, 19, turned it on in the last 50 meters and out-touched top-seed Simone Manuel to win in 53.43. Stanford-bound Manuel, 18, who led after the turn in 25.64, was second in 53.66. Shannon Vreeland, 22, of Athens Bulldogs was third in 54.14. “I knew Simone was right next to me and she always goes out soooo fast,” Franklin said. “I knew I had to come home hard, so I just put my head down and swam fast.” At 33, Olympian Natalie Coughlin was the oldest swimmer in the final and swam in Lane 8. She faded in the last 50 and finished seventh in 54.52. Olympian Allison Schmitt of North Baltimore won the “B” final in 54.74
Women’s 800-meter freestyle:
World record holder Katie Ledecky, 17, of Nation’s Capital on world record pace early in the race, won her third consecutive national title in 8:18.47. Cierra Runge, 18, of North Baltimore was second in 8:24.69, making her first national team. Former Clearwater swimmer Becca Mann, 16, of North Baltimore was third in 8:26.64. “I really focused on making the Pac Pacs team,” Ledecky said. “I am happy with that. This just comes from the training and settling in to a good pace. I have had a great summer so far and looking forward to seeing what’s next. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Australia.”
Men’s 1500-meter freestyle:
Connor Jaeger, 23, of Club Wolverine led from wire-to-wire and turned it on during the bell lap to win in 14:51.06, seventh fastest time in the world this year. Michael McBroom, 23, of The Woodlands, who pushed Jaeger for 1200 meters, held on for second in 14:56.17 and Jordan Wilimovsky, 20, of Team Santa Monica was third in 14:56.34. “You train and train and train and think about having a good race like we did there,” Jaeger said. “I just tried to stay in the race and figure out how much I had left. I’m happy I made the team now that I am finished with college and a pro.”
Women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay:
SwimMac won by 1/100ths of a second in 3:44.31 with Katie Meili, Madison Kennedy, Melissa Gates and Nora McCullagh. California Aquatics was second in 3:44.32 with Rachael Acker, Kelly Naze, Rachel Bootsma and Kaylin Bing. New Florida Gold Coast team Boca Raton Swim Team, swimming unattached qualified for its first national final and placed sixth in 3:48.78 with Faith Johnson, Mary Griffith, Erica Laning and Harper Bruens. Sarasota YMCA was tenth in 3:52.97.
Men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay:
In another close battle, SwimMAC swept the relay titles in 3:21.31 with Dax Hill, Paul Powers, Michael Chadwick and Mark Weber. Stanford was second in 3:21.38 and Ohio State was third in 3:21.97.
After Day One, Club Wolverine leads SwimMac by one point, 85-84 in the men’s team race. SwimMac leads the women’s team with 95 followed by California Aquatics.
The five-day meet is the USA National Team’s selection for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, 2014 Jr. Pan Pacific Championships, 2015 World Championships, 2015 World University Games and 2015 Pan American Games.
Darian Townsend of South Africa, who recently became an American citizen, earned the second seed in the 100-meter freestyle “B” final and finished in 49.53
Pine Crest Swimming’s Casey Francis, 19, had a nice time drop in the 800-meter freestyle going a lifetime-best 9:00.59, shaving 7:23.77 off her previous best.
Florida State-bound Marc Rojas, 20, of South Florida Aquatic Club competes Friday in the 50-meter breaststroke and Saturday in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Thursday’s events are 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter breaststroke, 200-meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly.
Teenager Katie Ledecky, 17, is entered in every women’s freestyle event this week: 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500. She is the only swimmer in the meet to do so. On Wednesday, Ledecky scratched from the “B” final of the 100-meter freestyle to focus on the 800.
During Tuesday’s media day, Missy Franklin admitted she is no longer Justin Bieber’s biggest fan. “I don’t agree with all of his life decisions lately, so I’ve moved on a little from that,” said the former Bielieber.
The television schedule for swimming this month is:
Saturday, Aug. 9, 4-6 p.m. EST, NBC (Taped), Phillips 66
Sunday, Aug. 10, 4-6 p.m. EST, NBC (Taped), Phillips 66
Sunday, Aug. 10, 11 p.m.-12 a.m., NBCSUN (Taped), Phillips 66
Saturday, Aug. 23, 2:30-3:30 p.m., NBC (Taped), Pan Pacs
Sunday, Aug. 24, 1-2:30 p.m., NBC (Taped), Pan Pacs
FLORIDA GOLD COAST/FLORIDA SWIMMING RESULTS
Women’s 200-meter freestyle:
29. Taylor Katz, SYS 2:13.95, 37. Isabella Paez, MAC 2:14.76, 45. Shaun Casey, DBS 2:15.45, 59. Tasija Karosas, TEX/SAS 2:17.05.
Men’s 200-meter freestyle:
37. Connor Knight, NPB 2:01.83, 40. Michael Flach, Bolles 2:01.93, 42. Adam Bull, SFTL 2:02.14, best time, 50. Luke Torres, SFTL 2:03.17, 52. Joey Carbone, Bolles 2:03.20, 65. Alex Katz, SYS 2:06.02.
Women’s 100-meter freestyle:
27. Katie Hoff, Hurricane Aquatics 55.79, best time, 57. Kaitlyn Dressel, Club Seminole 56.81, 60. Clara Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks 56.86, 72. Harper Bruens, Unattached, Boca Raton Swim Team 57.31, 73. Kasey Schmidt, Bolles 57.34, best time, 81. Maddie Hess, BW 57.61.
Men’s 100-meter freestyle:
16. Santo Condorelli, Unattached 50.51, 24. Caeleb Dressel, Bolles 51.30, (49.93 prelims), 33. Brad Deborde, PA 50.00, 45. Nicholas Alexiou, SPA 50.32, 54. Matt Curby, BD 50.76, 61. Logan Heck, SAS 51.09.
Women’s 800-meter freestyle:
12.Danielle Valley, SYS 8:39.79, 18. Danielle Valley, SYS 8:39.79, 22. Stephanie Peacock, SWIM 8:41.55, 34. Kendall Brent, SWIM 8:48.02, 35. Summer Finke, SPA 8:48.31, 44. Kahra Williams, GSC 8:50.95, 53. Autumn Finke, SPA 8:56.87, 57. Casey Francis, Pine Crest 9:00.59, best time.
Men’s 1500-meter freestyle:
9.Arthur Frayler, FL 15:16.28, 13. True Sweetser, GSC 15:18.64, 27. Zane Grothe, Club Seminoles 15:33.35, 33. Calvin Bryant, SPA 15:42.65, best time, 39. Ryan Rosenbaum, SFTL 15:44.84, 41. Blake Manganiello, AquaKids Sharks 15:45.91, 52. William Silva, GSC 15:58.29.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org