By Sharon Robb
April 14, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club Olympians Alia Atkinson and Claire Donahue finished among the top four in their signature events Thursday at the Arena Pro Series Grand Prix at windy Skyline Aquatic Center.
Atkinson, 27, was second in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:06.84, off her best time of 1:05.93. Her splits were 31.37 and 35.47. Atkinson was sixth fastest in morning prelims in 1:08.47.
Donahue, 27, was fourth in the 100-meter butterfly in 59.05. Her splits were 27.16 and 31.89. Donahue was seventh fastest in the 100-meter butterfly prelims in 59.88.
In opening day action, there were a few surprises.
Eighteen-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps failed to make the top eight in the 200-meter freestyle. He missed two turns and finished ninth in 1:50.63 and came back to win the consolations in 1:48.21.
Phelps, who has been training at Arizona State since last fall, is focusing on the 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley this weekend.
Floridian Ryan Lochte of SwimMAC, entered in seven events, was third in the same race in 1:48.85.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin was 13th in the 200-meter freestyle in prelims in 2:00.53 and ninth in the consolation in 1:58.64.
As expected, favorites Katie Ledecky and Conor Dwyer won the 200-meter freestyle events.
Ledecky led from wire-to-wire and won in 1:55.71. Allison Schmitt was second in 1:56.52. Dwyer also dominated his race to win in 1:46.61, tying the sixth-fastest time in the world.
Seth Stubblefield won the 100-meter butterfly in 52.53, cracking the Top 20 with the 19th fastest time in the world.
Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who has been training in Fort Lauderdale, won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:35.81. She is top-ranked in the world with a 4:29.89. She qualified in 4:32.33 in morning prelims, more than ten seconds faster than the field.
Friday’s events are the 200-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter breaststroke and 400-meter freestyle.
The three-day meet is one of the last major tests before the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials and is serving as a FINA-approved competition where swimmers can achieve qualifying times for the Summer Olympics.
It is the fourth of seven stops on the Arena Pro Swim Series. A record prize purse of $350,000 is being offered during the series. At each meet, $1,000 will be awarded for first, $600 for second and $200 for third.
Nathan Adrian leads the current men’s point standings with 30 and Ledecky leads the women’s with 40.
The entire meet is being live streamed at usaswimming.org. Prelims are noon and finals at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
NBC Sports Network will air the meet on next-day delay (6:30 p.m. EST on Friday and midnight on Saturday) while NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the finals.
200-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital 1:55.71, 2. Allison Schmitt, North Baltimore Aquatic Club 1:56.52, 3. Maya DiRado, Stanford 1:58.64; SOFLO: 34. Megan Romano 2:02.97.
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Katie Meili, SwimMAC 1:06.49, 2. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 1:06.84, 3. Molly Hannis, Tennessee Aquatics 1:06.95.
100-meter butterfly: 1. Dana Vollmer, Cal Aquatics 56.94, 2. Kelsi Worrell, Louisville 57.27, 3. Cassidy Bayer, Nation’s Capital 58.92.
400-meter individual medley: 1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 4:35.81, 2. Cammile Adams, SwimMAC 4:40.14, 3. Ella Eastin, Unattached 4:42.11.
200-meter freestyle: 1. Conor Dwyer, Trojan Swim Club 1:46.61, 2. Cristian Quintero, Trojan Swim Club 1:48.10, 3. Ryan Lochte, SwimMAC 1:48.85.
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Youssef El Kamash, Unattached 1:01.31, 2. Miguel De Lara Ojeda, BDD 1:01.36, 3. Andrew Wilson, TXLA 1:01.37; SOFLO: 38. Kile Aukerman 1:05.24.
100-meter butterfly: 1. Seth Stubblefield, Cal Aquatics 52.53, 2. Jack Conger, UT 52.74, 3. Giles Smith, PSC 53.15.
400-meter individual medley: 1. Sean Grieshop,Niro 4:18.75, 2. Ous Mellouli, Mission Viejo 4:21.94, 3. Gunnar Bentz, ABSC 4:22.01.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com