By Sharon Robb
August 7, 2014—A day after Michael Phelps missed the wall in the 100-meter freestyle, U.S. Olympic teammate Elizabeth Beisel slipped at the start of the 200-meter backstroke at the Phillips 66 National Championships Thursday at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif.
The University of Florida graduate slipped going straight down from the blocks and was forced to start the race from a dead standstill. She tried to dig herself out of a hole and make up the lost time, but finished sixth in 2:12.37, missing her first shot at making the Pan Pac team.
Missy Franklin, 19, of Cal Aquatics, coming off her runner-up finish to Katie Ledecky earlier in the 200-meter freestyle, pulled away early and won her fourth consecutive national title in the event in 2:08.38.
“I saw on the first 50 she was way behind and thought that’s not like Beisel,” Franklin said. “I knew she slipped and my heart went out to her.”
Said TV commentator Rowdy Gaines, “I have seen it before at World Championships a couple times and seen a lot of people do that at other meets, but never to that degree to a dead stop in the water. I feel so bad for her.”
After finishing her race, Beisel tossed her cap on the pool deck and looked over to Franklin who asked ‘where were you?’ With a disgusted look on her face, Beisel shook her head and shrugged.
Clara Smiddy, 18, of AquaKids Sharks was third in the “B” final and 11th overall in 2:13.07.
In the men’s 200-meter backstroke, Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 19, of Cal Aquatics finished second in 1:55.99 and was Florida’s top male finisher.
Trailing seventh-seed Ryan Lochte early in the race, Tyler Clary, 25, of SwimMAC surged in the final 50 after a great turn off the wall to win the backstroke in 1:54.73.
Clary was emotional after the race beating his chest and clenching his fist. Lochte struggled in the final stretch and finished third in 1:56.47. There were five teenagers in the men’s final.
“My strategy was don’t lose,” Clary said with a smile. “I knew I wouldn’t have that great a position at the 100. My out speed I still need to work on.”
University of Florida’s Carlos Omana of Metro Aquatics was 14th in 2:01.38, off his best time of 2:00.60.
The top Florida women’s finisher was Melanie Margalis, 22, of St. Petersburg Aquatics third in the 200-meter breaststroke in a best time 2:25.27, dropping 1.79 off her previous best of 2:27.06.
Margalis, a Countryside alum from Clearwater and Academic All-American at Georgia, helped to lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA team titles her junior and senior seasons.
A day after swimming a best time 55.79 in the 100-meter freestyle, Katie Hoff of Hurricane Aquatics scratched from the 200-meter freestyle prelims. She is also entered in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley.
According to her coach Andy Kershaw, “Katie is dealing with an injury she has been trying to fight through. It escalated after yesterday’s 100. We are getting treatment and looking out for her health first and foremost. She is eager to get back to the pool and will be swimming again as soon as it is appropriate.”
Also scratching from the 200 freestyle final were Beisel and Lochte.
Florida State-bound Marc Rojas, 20, of South Florida Aquatic Club competes Friday in the 50-meter breaststroke. It is the first of two events he is entered in. On Saturday he will swim the 100-meter breaststroke.
In other championship finals:
Women’s 200-meter freestyle: In their only head-to-head race of the meet, 17-year-old Katie Ledecky outraced Missy Franklin to win in a lifetime-best 1:55.16, second-fastest time in the world this year. Ledecky’s halfway split was 56.64. She pulled away after the final turn to win by a half-body length. It was her first national title in the event and sixth overall in her career. She also broke her own junior world record.
Franklin, 19, of Cal Aquatics was second in 1:56.40 and Leah Smith, 19, of Cavaliers Aquatics was third in 1:57.57. “You never know you’re going to win with Missy in the race,” Ledecky said.
“It was a tough race. Missy is a great person. She makes everyone on the USA team better. It’s just an honor being on the team with her.”
Said Franklin, “It’s so special watching Katie in the 800 and 1500 and a treat for everyone. To actually get to race her is awesome. She just makes me better.”
The average age of the finalists is 19. Olympian Allison Schmitt, 24, of North Baltimore won the “B” final in 1:58.36. St. Andrew’s alum Tasija Karosas of Texas Aquatics was 24th overall in
2:02.15 after going a best time of 2:02.07 in prelims.
Men’s 200-meter freestyle: Matt McLean, 26, of North Baltimore broke open a close three-way race in the final stretch to knock off an impressive field that included training mate Connor Dwyer, 25. McLean finished in 1:46.93. Dwyer was second in 1:47.35 and Reed Malone, 19, swimming unattached, was third in 1:47.41.
“Racing these guys I knew it was going to be a very tactical race,” McLean said. “I swam to my strengths and executed it properly even though the times weren’t what we were expecting. Connor and I train together and lay it down every day. We push each other every day. I knew he would be there for the whole race.”
Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: Micah Lawrence, 24, of SwimMAC started reeling in early leader Breeja Larson, 22, of Aggies Swim Club in the final 50 meters and pulled ahead in the final five meters to win in 2:23.05, second fastest time in the world this year. Larson finished in 2:24.16 and Melanie Margalis, 22, of St. Petersburg Aquatics was third in a lifetime-best 2:25.27, shaving 1.79 off her previous best.
“I just stuck to the plan in the last 50, that’s all it was,” Lawrence said. “She did throw me off a bit going out so fast. The first 150 was harder than it should have been but that’s the nature of the game, you got to race.”
A week after winning her first junior national title, Emily Kopas, 18, of Swim Fort Lauderdale won the “C” final in 2:29.63, just off her best time of 2:29.53 she won the junior title with. Kopas turned it on in the last 50 meters to pull away from the field.
Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: Arizona senior Kevin Cordes, 20, of Arizona Ford out-touched Nicolas Fink, 21, of Athens Bulldogs to win in 2:09.48. Fink’s time was 2:09.62. Josh Prenot, 21, of Cal Aquatics was third in 2:10.43. During morning prelims, Cordes broke the U.S. Open record in a lifetime-best 2:07.86, breaking two-time Olympian Eric Shanteau’s record of 2:08.01. His personal best was 2:08.34.
“I am really happy I made the team. I just did what I had to do tonight,” Cordes said. “I tried to be as efficient as possible.”
Just before the final, the live stream went down for a minute prompting Shanteau to tweet, “Did the live feed seriously just go down?” he asked Twitter followers.
Women’s 50-meter butterfly: Kendyl Stewart, 19, of North Coast out-touched Claire Donahue to win in 25.99, eighth fastest time in the world this year, and earned a berth on her first world championship team for Russia next year.
“I am really excited, it’s going to be a blast,” Stewart said. “The 50 fly is the most fun event for me. I am pretty slow off the blocks so I tried to work my underwaters.”
At 25, Donahue was the oldest swimmer in the final, finishing second in 26.11.
Men’s 50-meter butterfly: At 29, 6-foot-8 Matt Grevers, the oldest swimmer in the field, won a close race with the help of his long arms by 8/100ths of a second in 23.50.
The non-Olympic 50-meter butterfly events were not a qualifying event for the Pan Pacific Championships but were for the 2015 World Championships.
Men’s 800-meter freestyle relay: In an exciting race, North Baltimore Club edged Wisconsin Aquatics, 7:24.49-7:24.99 to win with relay members Frank Dyer, Tom Luchsinger, Thomas Duvall and Austin Surhoff.
After Day Two, SwimMAC leads the men’s team standings with 156 points. Club Wolverine is second with 147. SwimMAC also leads the women’s team totals with 145. California Aquatics is second with 132.
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.
The next meet for swimmers to make a national team is the 2016 Olympic Trials.
Friday’s events are the 400-meter individual medley 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter breaststroke, 50-meter backstroke and women’s 400-meter freestyle relay.
In one of the funnier Twitter messages of the evening, Rowdy Gaines tweeted “We’ve got the Goodyear Blimp! We have arrived!”
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. Tasija Karosas, Texas Aquatics/St. Andrew’s 2:02.15,(2:02.07, best time in prelims), 36. Shaun Casey, DBS 2:02.82, 74. Kahra Williams, GSC 2:05.26, Katie Hoff, Hurricane Aquatics and Melanie Margalis, SPA, scratch.
Men’s 200-meter freestyle: 24. True Sweetser, GSC 1:52.00, best time, 25. Nicholas Alexiou, SPA 1:50.06, best time, 28. Zane Grothe, Club Seminoles 1:50.60, 34. Matt Curby, Blue Dolphins 1:51.05, 53. Michael Flach, Bolles 1:52.27, 71. Grant Sanders, CAT 1:53.59, 75. Alex Katz, SYS 1:54.02, 83. Caeleb Dressel, Bolles 1:55.74.
Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: 3. Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg Aquatics 2:25.27, 17. Emily Kopas, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:29.63, best time, 30. Justine Bowker, T2 Aquatics 2:34.13, 39. Bethany Leap, SYS 2:35.07, 61. Hannah Burns, GSC 2:37.78; Swim-off, 2. Bethany Leap, SYS 2:33.92, best time.
Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: Alex Evdokimv, Coral Springs Swim Club, DQ.
Women’s 200-meter backstroke: 11. Clara Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks 2:13.07, 17. Ashlee Lin, SYS 2:13.64, 30. Tasija Karosas, Texas Aquatics/St. Andrew’s 2:15.49, 31. Alyssa Yambor-Maul, ATAC 2:15.56, 36. Lauren Driscoll, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:16.19, 61. Maddie Hess, BW 2:19.58.
Men’s 200-meter backstroke: 14. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 2:01.38, 32. Brandon Goldman, Coral Springs Swim Club/LSU 2:03.50, best time, 40. Alex Dehner, ATAC 2:04.38, 71. Alex Katz, SYS 2:07.77.
Women’s 50-meter butterfly: None
Men’s 50-meter butterfly: 7. Santo Condorelli, Unattached 24.01, 13. Bradley Deborde, PA 24.10, best time, 15. Connor Knight, North Palm Beach 24.26, best time, 18. Caeleb Dressel, Bolles 24.49, best time.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com