By Sharon Robb
April 16, 2016—World record holder Katie Ledecky and Olympian Michael Phelps were crowd-pleasers on the final night of the Arena Pro Series Grand Prix Saturday at windswept Skyline Aquatic Center.
Ledecky, 19, of Nation’s Capital won the 800-meter freestyle by nearly 15 seconds to capture her third title in three days.
Ledecky pulled away from the field early to win in 8:13.20, 14.65 seconds ahead of Denmar’s Lotte Friis in 8:27.85. Ledecky who finished sixth in the 100-meter freestyle in the final event, also won the 200- and 400-meter freestyle events during the meet.
Ledecky now owns the nine of the fastest marks in history in the 800.
Phelps, 30, also led his race from start-to-finish to win the 200-meter individual medley in 1:57.90, third fastest time in the world this year. North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmers swept the top three spots. Training partner Chase Kalisz was second in 1:59.05 and David Nolan was third.
“The freestyle wasn’t that great,” Phelps said. “I am never really too satisfied. I always like to have something to work on. I have the speed and that’s something I was lacking. The rest will come.”
Training for his fifth Olympic appearance, Phelps also won the 200 butterfly on Friday.
Phelps now plans on six weeks of high altitude training in Colorado while awaiting the birth of his first child in May. “I’ve got so much in my head right now,” Phelps said.
Both Ledecky’s and Phelps’ results were promising with the U.S. Olympic trials just two months away.
Ledecky leads the points standings with 55 points. However, Ledecky plans to turn down the prize money and prizes to remain eligible for Stanford after she finishes her deferred year of training for the Olympics.
After swimming three morning prelim races, Floridian Ryan Lochte, 31, scratched from the 200 IM final to focus on the 200 backstroke which he won in 2:01.04 and 100 freestyle which he finished eighth in 50.69.
Reigning Olympic champion Nathan Adrian, 27, of Cal Aquatics won the 100-meter freestyle in 48.00, fourth fastest in the world this year, completing a sweep after winning the 50 and increasing his points standings lead with 40 points.
Simone Manuel, 19, swimming unattached, won the 100 freestyle in 53.80. Maya DiRado won the 200 IM in 2:11. Jordan Wilimovsky, already on the Olympic team in open water, won the 1500 in a best time 14:53.12, fifth fastest time in the world this year.
Missy Franklin scratched from the final day of competition opting for a rest day instead.
The windy conditions that plagued swimmers with gusts of 30-miles per hour and water kicking up on Friday calmed down for the third and final day of the meet.
The three-day meet was one of the last major tests before the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials and served as a FINA-approved competition where swimmers had a chance to achieve qualifying times for the Summer Olympics.
It was 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 is awarded for first, $600 for second and $200 for third.
200-meter individual medley: 1. Maya DiRado, Stanford 2:11.09, 2. Ella Eastin, Unattached 2:11.35, 3. Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg Aquatics 2:12.22.
200-meter backstroke: 1. Maya DiRado, Stanford 2:08.61, 2. Kirsty Coventry, SwimMAC 2:10.04,3. Kaitlin Harty, YNS 2:10.23.
100-meter freestyle: 1. Simone Manuel, Unattached 53.80, 2. Abbey Weitzeil, CANY 54.22, 3. Dana Vollmer, CAL Aquatics 54.54; SOFLO: 39. Alia Atkinson 58.08.
800-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital 8:13.20, 2. Lotte Friis, North Baltimore 8:27.85, 3. Cierra Runge, North Baltimore 8:32.21.
200-meter individual medley: 1. Michael Phelps, North Baltimore 1:57.90, 2. Chase Kalisz, North Baltimore 1:59.05, 3. David Nolan, North Baltimore 2:00.89; SOFLO: 29. Kile Aukerman 2:10.39
200-meter backstroke: 1. Ryan Lochte, SwimMAC 201.04, 2. Omar Pinzon, Trojan 2:01.65, 3. Connor Green, Cal Aquatics 2:02.03.
100-meter freestyle: 1. Nathan Adrian, Cal Aquatics 48.00, 2. Cristian Quintero, Trojan Swim Club 49.45, 3. Jimmy Feigen, Unattached 49.80.
1500-meter freestyle: 1. Clark Smith, UT 15:19.08, 2. Chris Wieser, Ford Tucson 15:38.38. 3. Ty Fowler, Ford Tucson 15:38.38.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com