By Sharon Robb
May 16, 2015—Two of South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers newest pro swimmers made an impression Saturday night at the 31st annual Arena Pro Swim Series at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in downtown Charlotte, N.C.
Two-time Colombian Olympian Carolina Colorado, 25, made two finals and finished sixth in both.
Colorado, after a good morning swim in 1:01.64, came back to finish sixth in the 100-meter backstroke “A” final in 1:01.63.
Colorado was also sixth in 50-meter butterfly “B” in 27.82.
In the B final of the 200-meter breaststroke, SOFLO’s Jorge Murillo Valdes came from behind on the back half to win in 2:15.35 and finished ninth overall.
Bolles alum Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, a two-time Olympian and national record holder for the Bahamas, was a double winner to highlight third day meet action.
In front of a packed house and national television audience, Vanderpool-Wallace looked impressive sweeping the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly
Buoyed by a great start off the blocks, Vanderpool-Wallace, 25, the top seed, won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.35, third fastest time this year in the world and only 1/100th of a second off her best time. She moved up to third in the world rankings.
Olympian Natalie Coughlin was second in 25.03.
“I just wanted to get off the blocks and go,” said Vanderpool-Wallace, racing in her SwimMAC home pool. “I was really excited to swim tonight. My goal was to get down to 24.3 and that’s what I did. I know people are complaining about no warm-up pool but we are putting up some best times of the world at this meet.”
Vanderpool-Wallace’s lifetime best of 24.34 was turned in at last summer’s Commonwealth Games.
After another perfect start in the 50-meter butterfly, Vanderpool-Wallace pulled away quickly to win in 25.93, a half second faster than morning swim. It was the fifth fastest time in the world. U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue was second in 26.31.
“I wanted to make sure I stayed in control those first four strokes and then sped it up,” she said. “I am super pumped for the summer. I have been excited all year. The Pan American Games are huge for me.”
In other championship finals:
Women 200-meter butterfly: Hungarian Katinka Hosszu led from start to finish to win her third event of the meet in 2:08.00, her best time this season. Cammile Adams, 23, of SwimMAC was second in 2:08.76. Former Clearwater swimmer Becca Mann was fifth in 2:10.95. Isabella Paez of Metro Aquatics was third in the “B” final in 2:13.80.
“This is my first event and all I was focusing on,” Hosszu said. “I touched the wall and tried to breathe and relax a bit. Now I think about my next race and try to get ready for the 100 backstroke.”
Men 200-meter butterfly: With a final split of 30.04, Chase Kalisz, 21, of North Baltimore Aquatic Club, reeled in leader Andrew Seliskar, 18, of Nation’s Capital to win in 1:57.58. Seliskar was second in 1:57.70. Michael Phelps, swimming in Lane 7, struggled after the midway mark and finished seventh in 2:00.77.
“I am trying to play to my strengths as best as possible,” Kalisz said. “I’m not able to go out with the guys at the 100, as much as I’d like to. I just tried to be in striking distance coming home.”
Men 50-meter freestyle: With a lightning quick reaction time off the block, Josh Schneider, 27, of the New York Athletic Club shocked a stacked field including Nathan Adrian, Bruno Fratus, Cullen Jones, Cesar Cielo and Anthony Ervin. He was the only sprinter to break 22 seconds in 21.96. Cielo was second in 22.05. Schneider missed the world team but will compete at the Pan American Games.
“I realized it was an extremely stacked field when I looked at the psych sheet on Sunday,” Schneider said. “I wanted to come out there with a little bit of pop and race these guys. It is a rare opportunity to race a field like this. It just solidifies what I am doing in training is working and just keep going down that path.”
Women 100-meter backstroke: Thirty-five minutes after her last race, Hosszu won her second event in 59.47, her second fastest career time. Kathleen Baker, 18, of SwimMAC nearly reeled her in the last 20 meters to finish second in 59.86. Clara Smiddy of AquaKids Sharks and Club Wolverine won the B final in 1:01.05.
“I think I started off pretty good but my second 50 was really good so I am pretty happy with that,” said Hosszu, who has been training in Fort Lauderdale. “I tried to be aggressive and not really worry about dying which is why I am happy with that second 50.”
Men 100-meter backstroke: Arkady Vyatchinin, swimming for his new country Serbia and New York Athletic Club, won in 53.69. He moved from third after the turn to out-touch clubmate David Plummer, 29, in 53.90. Olympian Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach never threatened in the race and finished fourth in 54.43.
“It is a relief I have a country to swim for now,” said the Olympian who defected from Russia. “I have more purpose in my training now and excited about the next two months. I am pretty satisfied with my training. I am not tapered or shaved and I am tired. I put this suit on and felt some speed tonight.”
Women 200-meter breaststroke: Micah Lawrence, 24, of SwimMAC won in 2:24.61, a two-second lead over Martha McCabe, 25, of Team Ontario. Melanie Margalis, 23, of St. Petersburg was third in 2:27.24.
“I just wanted to improve from my morning time, stick with my race strategy and see what I could do.” Lawrence said. “It’s really great to swim here in my community, they are my family.”
Early leader Emily Kopas, 18, of Club Wolverine and Swim Fort Lauderdale, was second in the B final in 2:31.37.
Men 200-meter breaststroke: Californian Josh Prenot turned it on in the final 70 meters to win in a lifetime-best by more than a second in 2:09.30. It was five seconds faster than his morning time.
Penn Charter 15-year-old Reece Whitley was fourth in a best time by 3 seconds in 2:12.92, which also broke the 15-16 national age group record. The previous record was 2:14.67 set in 2009. Whitley, an African-American at 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, is a rising star in the sport. Top seed Thiago Pereira of Brazil scratched from the final after going 2:14.58 in prelims.
“I didn’t know I had this much speed for tonight,” Prenot said. “I’m pretty happy with a 2:09. It feels good. I can’t wait until the summer.”
Men 50-meter butterfly: Brazilian Cesar Cielo dominated the field to win in 23.26, just a half second off his lifetime best. He is ranked second in the world in the event.
“It’s so much different than the 50 freestyle,” Cielo said. “It’s much more about power, timing, the kick and the stroke. I was still hurting after the 50 free and had to take two breaths in the 50 fly. Let’s see what I can do this summer at worlds.”
Women 400-meter freestyle
Top seed Leah Smith of Cavalier Swimming had the upset of the night knocking off Denmark’s Lotte Friis in 4:07.45, within a second of her best time. Friis was second in 4:08.29. Hosszu won the B final by 2/100ths of a second in 4:12.15, just 2/100ths ahead of Shannon Vreeland.
“The last 100 hurt quite a bit, it wasn’t as easy as this morning,” Smith said. “I was trying to set a best time, but I am still happy with going only a second off. It was important for me great racing these awesome girls to get experience.”
Men 400-meter freestyle: Connor Jaeger knocked off Conor Dwyer to win in 3:46.30, ninth best in the world. Dwyer finished in 3:47.53. Zane Grothe won the B final in 3:53.48.
“That was a pretty serious race right there,” Jaeger said. “He was always charging the next 50. That was a real good race. I am happy we were able to do that. That’s a good time for me at mid-season. I’ve been riding on good energy with the Michigan guys and girls here and having a lot of fun.”
The Arena Pro Swim Series is the fifth of six stops of the 2014-15 series schedule. The series provides swimmers with the opportunity for competitive racing and twice the prize money as last season on the line.
Swimmers earn five points and $1,000 for a win, three and $600 for second and one and $200 for third place in the Olympic distance events only. Overall male and female winners of the series earn a $10,000 bonus.
Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals are 6 p.m. The meet is being live streamed at usaswimming.org. Universal Sports Network will televise the meet on Sunday at 6 p.m. with color analyst Rowdy Gaines.
200-meter butterfly: 1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 2:08.00, 2. Cammile Adams, SwimMAC 2:08.76, 3. Hali Flickinger, Athens Bulldogs 2:09.07; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 5. Becca Mann, North Baltimore 2:10.95, 11. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 2:13.80, 38. Casey Francis, Unattached 2:21.12.
50-meter freestyle: 1. Adrianna Vanderpool-Wallace, SwimMAC 24.35, 2. Natalie Coughlin, Cal Aquatics 25.03, 3. Chantalle Van Landeghem, Canada 25.05; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 23. Arlene Semeco, CSSC 26.41, 44. Clara Smiddy, Club Wolverine 26.80.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 59.47, 2. Kathleen Baker, SwimMAC 59.86, 3. Kirsty Coventry, SwimMAC 1:00.66; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 6. Carolina Colorado, SOFLO 1:01.63, 9. Clara Smiddy, Club Wolverine 1:01.05.
200-meter breaststroke: 1. Micah Lawrence, SwimMAC 2:24.61, 2. Martha McCabe, Canada 2:26.69, 3. Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg 2:27.24; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 7. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 2:30.76, 10. Emily Kopas, Unattached Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:31.37.
50-meter butterfly: 1. Adrianna Vanderpool-Wallace, SwimMAC 25.93, 2. Claire Donahue, Unattached 26.31, 3. Kelsi Worrell, Louisville 26.71; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 14. Carolina Colorado, SOFLO 27.82, 52. Lisa Blackburn,SOFLO 30.07.
400-meter freestyle: 1. Leah Smith, Cavalier Swimming 4:07.45, 2. Lotte Friis, Denmark 4:08.29, 3. Cierra Runge, Unattached 4:10.82; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 4. Becca Mann, North Baltimore 4:11.04.
800-meter freestyle relay: 1. Canada 8:10.70, 2. SwimMAC 8:18.06, 2. Carmel Swim Club 8:31.12.
200-meter butterfly: 1. Chase Kalisz, Unattached North Baltimore 1:57.58, 2. Andrew Seliskar, Nation’s Capital 1:57.70, 3. Jack Conger, Unattached 1:58.23.
50-meter freestyle: 1. Josh Schneider, New York Athletic Club 21.96, 2. Cesar Cielo, Brazil 22.05, 3. Nathan Adrian, Cal Aquatics 22.19.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Arkady Vyatchanin, New York Athletic Club 53.69, 2. David Plummer, New York Athletic Club 53.90, 3. Junya Koga, Club Wolverine 54.42; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 52. Timothy Wynter, SOFLO 59.95.
200-meter breaststroke: 1. Josh Prenot, Cal Aquatics 2:09.30, 2. Cody Miller, Badger Swim Club 2:11.63, 3. Nicolas Fink, Athens Bulldogs 2:11.75; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 9. Jorge Murillo Valdes, SOFLO 2:15.35, 26. Juan Sequera, MAC 2:22.29.
50-meter butterfly: 1. Cesar Cielo, Brazil 23.26, 2. Tim Phillips, SwimMAC 23.71, 3. Sean Fletcher, Mason Makos 23.97; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 64. Jorge Murillo Valdes, SOFLO 26.72.
400-meter freestyle: 1. Connor Jaeger, Club Wolverine 3:46.30, 2. Conor Dwyer, Trojan SC 3:47.53, 3. Marwan El Kamash, Unattached 3:50.34.
800-meter freestyle relay: 1. Canada 7:27.78, 2. SwimMAC 7:31.38, 3. Team Ontario 7:50.40.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com