By Sharon Robb
December 4, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Claire Donahue turned in one of her best swims of the year Friday at the AT&T Winter National Championships at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
Donahue, 26, a 2012 Olympic relay gold medalist, finished second behind Olympic reigning champion Dana Vollmer in 58.37, just off her seed time of 58.08.
Vollmer came from behind in the final 25 meters to win in 57.95. It was the first time Vollmer went under 58 seconds since the 2013 World Championships. The time puts her at No. 16 in the world rankings.
Donahue went out fast and led at the turn in 26.68 ahead of Noemie Thomas, who finished fourth, and the 28-year-old Vollmer, coming back after the birth of her son following the 2012 London Olympics.
Donahue swam the second fastest time in morning prelims in 58.47 just behind Vollmer in 58.06.
“I went in to race,” Vollmer said. “I have been working on my back half and coming off the wall well.”
In other championship finals:
Women’s 400-meter individual medley: In an exciting race, Maya DiRado of Stanford held off Florida alum Elizabeth Beisel of BlueFish in 4:36.85. Beisel finished in 4:37.01. “I really couldn’t see anybody until I turned at freestyle,” DiRado said. “I just kept my head down and used my legs. It is so nice to have her there, she has taught me so much. She has been with me in all these championship finals.”
Men’s 400-meter individual medley: Chase Kalisz, now training in Tempe, Ariz. with Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt, led from wire-to-wire to win in 4:12.80. Max Williamson, swimming unattached, was second in 4:20.86. “I think the time is all right for now, it’s a process of putting together the pieces,” Kalisz said.
Men’s 100-meter butterfly: Michael Phelps won his second national title of the meet in 51.38 ahead of Tom Shields in 51.41. “I’m happy with the swim, I am taking that time,” Phelps said. “I can’t complain. I have never been under 52 in more than a year and did it twice in one day today. I think it’s a good sign.”
Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Allison Schmitt of North Baltimore Aquatic Club came from behind to win in 1:56.77. “I wanted to take it out and finish hard and race the rest of the field,” Schmitt said.
Men’s 200-meter freestyle: Florida alum Conor Dwyer of Trojan Swim Club won in 1:46.62. “I have been pretty honest with my training and I think I am in a good place right now,” Dwyer said.
Women’s 100-meter breaststroke: Russian Yulia Efimova of Trojan Swim Club won in 1:06.17 just ahead of Lilly King of Indiana University in 1:06.43. Emily Kopas of Swim Fort Lauderdale and Michigan was tenth in 1:09.14. “I am pretty happy with my swim, I am just working through this meet,” Efimova said.
Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Sam Tierney of Missouri won his first national title in 1:00.15 just ahead of deaf swimmer Marcus Titus of Tucson Ford in 1:00.55. “It’s nice to get a win under my belt, it feels really good,” Tierney said. “This is just one more stop in the road. This is a big meet and I want to thank my coaches and friends. My dad is probably up there balling his eyes out right now.”
Women’s 100-meter backstroke: In an exciting race, Olympian Missy Franklin turned it on in the final five meters to win in 1:00.03 ahead of Ali Deloof of Michigan in 1:00.10. Less than a half second separated the top six finishers. Clara Smiddy of Michigan and AquaKids Sharks was seventh in 1:00.49. “I saw that everyone was right there after I flipped from the wall, I knew everybody was going to be right there in the final 50,” Franklin said. “There is so much I am learning. Every single race I learn something and that’s the most important part.”
Men’s 100-meter backstroke: Olympian Matt Grevers blew past the field to win in 52.54, his fastest swim this year. He was the only swimmer under 53 seconds. “This is my baby so I wanted to do well,” said Grevers, training for his fifth U.S. Olympic trials.
In addition to Donahue, two other South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers competed on Day Two.
Two-time Colombian Olympian Carolina Colorado was 26th in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:02.86 and 27th in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:01.34. On Saturday, Colorado finishes with the 200-meter backstroke.
Kile Aukerman was 37th among a field of 75 in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.52. On Saturday he competes in the 200-meter breaststroke.
The meet is a FINA-approved competition where swimmers can achieve qualifying times for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Saturday’s events are: 200-meter backstroke, 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter breaststroke, 200-meter butterfly, women’s 800-meter freestyle and men’s 1500-meter freestyle.
The three-day meet is being broadcast on NBC Universal. NBC will also air the meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST. Check local listings for times in your area. Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 6 p.m. Pacific Time. The meet will also be live streamed at usaswimming.org. The meet concludes on Saturday.
400-meter individual medley: 1. Maya DiRado, Stanford 4:36.85, 2. Elizabeth Beisel, ABF 4:37.01, 3. Sarah Henry, AGS 4:40.01.
100-meter butterfly: 1. Dana Vollmer, CAL 57.95, 2. Claire Donahue, SOFLO 58.37, 3. Kendyl Stewart, Unattached 58.45.
200-meter freestyle: 1. Allison Schmitt, NBAC 1:56.77, 2. Missy Franklin, STARS 1:57.30, 3. Siobhan Haughey, MICH 1:58.48.
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Yulia Efimova, Russia 1:06.17, 2. Lilly King, IU 1:06.43, 3. Molly Hannis, TNAQ 1:07.51.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Missy Franklin, STARS 1:00.03, 2. Ali Deloof, Michigan 1:00.10, 3. Rachel Bootsma, CAL 1:00.25.
400-meter individual medley: 1. Chase Kalisz, North Baltimore Aquatic Club 4:12.80, 2. Max Williamson, Unattached 4:20.86, 3. Dan Wallace, GSC 4:21.03.
100-meter butterfly: 1. Michael Phelps, NBAC 51.38, 2. Tom Shields, CAL 51.41, 3. Luis Martinez, AU 52.35.
200-meter freestyle: 1. Conor Dwyer, Trojan Swim Club 1:46.62, 2. Michael Weiss, WA 1:47.85, 3. Matias Koski, Unattached 1:47.96.
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Sam Tierney, Missouri 1:00.15, 2. Marcus Titus, Tucson Ford 1:00.55, 3. Nick Schafer, Unattached 1:00.71.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford 52.54, 2. Grigory Tarasevich, Louisville 53.80, 3. Arkady Vyatchanin, NYAC 54.12.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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