WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
May 13, 2012
Ryan Lochte, wearing a racing suit for the first time at the meet, got serious and broke a meet record Sunday on the fourth and final day of the USA Swimming Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix Series.
Lochte, 27, won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:57.63, breaking the previous meet record of 1:58.25 set by Brazil’s Thiago Pereira in 2009.
It was Lochte’s sixth event of the meet. He failed to medal in his other five races and missed the finals of the 100-meter freestyle.
“It felt good to actually have a decent swim” Lochte said after his race.
Lochte, the world record in the 200 IM, pulled away during the third leg with a strong breaststroke. It was his best racing of the meet, which he summed up as “disappointing.”
“I hate to lose,” Lochte said. “I like winning. I had to keep reminding myself this isn’t the big picture. The big pictures is the Trials and Olympics. People won’t remember this meet. They’ll remember the Trials and the Olympics.”
It was his coach, U.S. Olympic men’s and University of Florida coach Gregg Troy, who suggested Lochte wear his racing suit for a good confidence-building finish to the meet.
Lochte said he won’t begin to taper for another couple of weeks. While he has the endurance, he said he will focus on speed when he returns to Gainesville to train this week.
Teenagers had no problem with speed to highlight fourth-day action in Charlotte.
Fifteen-year-old Kathleen Ledecky of Curl Burke Swim Club won the 800-meter freestyle in a career-best time and meet record 8:25.85. It was a best time by four seconds. The previous meet record was 8:30.07 set by Chloe Sutton in 2010. Gillian Ryan, 16, was second in 8:36.56. Ledecky’s time was the fastest by a 15-year-old in 15 years.
Sixteen-year-old Ryan Murphy of Bolles, a national junior team member, won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:58.09 ahead of Omar Pinzon in 1:58.12.
Seventeen-year-old Lia Neal of Asphalt Green won the 100-meter freestyle in a best time of 54.35 edging Jessica Hardy in 54.36 and Natalie Coughlin in 54.59. It was her best time by 4/10ths of a second.
SOFLO swimmer Nick Schwab, 21, of Indiana University finished the 200-meter individual medley in 2:10.19.
In other championship finals:
Hometown hero Ricky Berens, a Charlotte native, won the 100-meter freestyle in honor of his mom on Mother’s Day, he said. He won in 49.07. It was his second gold medal of the meet.
Caitlin Leverenz, 21, of California won her second gold of the meet, this time in the 200-meter individual medley in a meet record 2:10.25, bettering the previous record of 2:12.29 set by Katinka Hosszu in 2011. It was her third fastest time of her career. Ariana Kukors (2:11.09) and Liz Pelton (2:11.87) also broke the meet record.
Elizabeth Pelton, 18, of T2Aquatics won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:09.41.
Chad LaTourette, 23, of Mission Viejo won the 1500-meter freestyle in 15:06.73.
Phelps, Bowman Headed For Altitude
Michael Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman were in Dallas Sunday for an Olympic Media Summit. He answered questions for nearly an hour and talked about the journey he has taken to get to this point in his career.
“Last year was the year I kind of woke up a little more than I had in the past,” Phelps said. “It’s kind of, I guess, got to me a little more. In 2010, it was kind of like “whatever.” Last year it was like “This is so frustrating.”
“It never was a fun feeling. But last year it was something that super-frustrated me. I did everything I can to try to fight back. And hopefully, I did, to where I can make up some of the ground that Ryan Lochte has put me on. It’s going to be a fun summer.”
Added Bowman, “You can do anything you set your mind to if you have a dream and you’re willing to work hard enough.”
Phelps still would not divulge what events he planned to swim at the trials. He also said winning another eight gold medals is not the goal this time around.
Phelps and Bowman are scheduled to leave on Monday for altitude training in Colorado Springs. The pair will be isolated from the rest of the world, away from distractions, leading up to the U.S. Olympic trials that begin on June 25 in Omaha, Neb.
The University of Southern California received an $8 million donation for a new aquatic center. Former USC swimmer Fred Uytengsu, president of the Alaska Milk Corporation and former Phillippine national team member, will have the center named after him but did stipulate that the swimming pool will be named for his swim coach, Peter Daland. It was the largest gift donation ever made by a former student-athlete to the athletic department…
2008 U.S. Olympian Chris Colwill of Brandon won a gold medal on 3-meter springboard at the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale. Colwill finished ahead of China’s Li Shixin by .35 of a point. It was his first international win in an individual event. The U.S. won three medals on Sunday and seven overall in a tuneup before the U.S. Olympic diving trials…
Germany’s Britta Steffen set up the defense of her second Olympic title in the 50-meter freestyle with a 24.92 victory at the German Olympic trials on Sunday…Queensland, Australia won the bid to host the August, 2014 Pan Pacific championships, 25 years after it last hosted the event.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com