Ledecky, Acosta Win On Day One Of Mesa Arena Pro Swim Series; Atkinson, SOFLO Swimmers Compete Thursday


By Sharon Robb

April 15, 2015—Teenager Katie Ledecky had the crowd on its feet at Skyline Aquatic Center on opening day of the Arena Pro Swim Series Wednesday in Mesa, Ariz.

Ledecky, 18, of Nation’s Capital didn’t break any world records but did run away with the 1500-meter freestyle title in 15 minutes, 42.23 seconds. She took the lead early and built on it every 100 meters.

It was the fifth fastest time in event history and was the fastest time in the world this year becoming the first woman to crack the 16-minute barrier. The previous fastest this year was 16:06.72 by Lauren Boyle of New Zealand.

Ledecky was coming off a few weeks of altitude training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Chile Olympian Kristel Kobrich was second in 16:26.95. Madelyn Donohoe of The FISH, at 13, the youngest swimmer in the field, was third in a best time 16:44.01, dropping six seconds from her previous best.

Top seed and American record holder Michael McBroom scratched leaving the men’s 800-meter freestyle wide open. The three-man race came down to Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador and University of Louisville freshman winning in 8:10.85 and out-touching Nick Norman of Mission Viejo in 8:11.41 and teammate Daniel O’Connor in 8:12.76.

Both races are non-Olympic events.

Earlier in the day, swimmers held court with the media including Michael Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman. It was his first pre-meet press conference in six months since serving his suspension for his second DUI.

The 18-time Olympic medalist said he is not planning on competing for a spot on the world team for the World Championships. USA Swimming has banned him from the world championships in Kazan as part of his DUI punishment.

Instead, he said he hopes to compete for the U.S. at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. It was the first time he let his Olympic intentions be known publicly.

During his 40-minute press conference, Phelps admitted the last few months have been some of the most difficult in his life.

“I did more growing up in the last probably eight months than I ever have in my life just on a lot of different levels,” Phelps told a packed house of reporters. “I’m in a better place and a better state of mind mentally, emotionally, spiritually, everything.

“Like I said, it’s been some of the most challenging times of my life. Brutal. But you know, it’s life, and I have been able to come out on a better end and have a clearer head. I don’t think I’ve ever been like this once in my life.”

The 29-year-old said he has rekindled his passion for the sport. He is now engaged to his on-again, off-again girlfriend of eight years, Nicole Johnson.

“I feel like I am back in high school and even leading up to the 2008 Olympics,” Phelps said. “Just how I feel in the water. I’m happy at workout. I’m smiling. I actually come to every workout, which is a surprise. It’s a change from last year. It’s because I want to be there.”

The four-day meet and fourth stop on the Arena Pro Swim Series, capped at 600 swimmers, continues on Thursday with a full schedule of prelims and finals. Phelps will swim the first of five events, the 100-meter butterfly, on Thursday along with Ryan Lochte. The rivals are entered in the same events but are at different levels of training. SOFLO three-time Jamaican Olympian and world record holder Alia Atkinson and her teammates will also compete on Thursday.

The meet ends on Saturday. Top three finishers will win $1,000, $600 and $200.

Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 6 p.m. MST. The meet will be live streamed at usaswimming.org. Universal Sports Network will air live television coverage on Thursday and Friday with Floridian Rowdy Gaines as color analyst.

WEDNESDAY RESULTS

WOMEN

1500-meter freestyle:

1.Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital 15:42.23, 2. Kristel Kobrich, CHI 16:29.95, 3. Madelyn Donohoe, FISH 16:44.01; FLORIDA: 11. Cameron Davis, University of Miami 18:01.18.

MEN

800-meter freestyle:

1.Marcelo Acosta, Louisville/Azura Florida Aquatics 8:10.85, 2. Nick Norman, Mission Viejo 8:11.14, 3. Daniel O’Connor, Mission Viejo 8:12.76

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

Stacked Field Entered In This Weekend’s Arena Grand Prix

Stacked Field Entered In This Weekend’s Arena Grand Prix


By Sharon Robb

January 15, 2014

There will be plenty of world-class swimmers competing this weekend when the Arena Grand Prix Series resumes at the University of Texas Lee and Joe Jamail Aquatic Center in Austin.

The three-day meet that begins on Friday will be the first long course meet of the series.

A field of 423 athletes are entered including forty USA Swimming National Team swimmers and thirty Olympic gold medalists.

Heading the field are Olympic gold medalists Katie Ledecky, Nathan Adrian, Tyler Clary, Natalie Coughlin, Anthony Ervin, Matt Grevers and Allison Schmidt.

Canadian Olympian Martha McCabe was forced to withdraw from the meet with a stress fracture in her clavicle.

Even though he is on the psych sheet for Austin, Ryan Lochte, training full-time with SwimMAC after being sidelined after a freak MCL knee injury, will not be ready until the Feb. 13-15 Orlando stop, SwimMAC coach Dave Marsh said.

Universal Sports Network will have live coverage on Friday and Saturday. There will also be a live webcast streamed on http://www.usaswimming.org.

A total of $150,000 in prize money is available in the six-meet series. First place earns $500, second is $300 and third is $100.

Connor Dwyer and Megan Romano are currently leading the Arena Grand Prix Series standings after the first of six meets.

OTHER SWIMMING NEWS

Florida Gold Coast swimmer Brandon Goldman, a St. Thomas Aquinas alum, won three events to lead LSU men’s team to a 185-112 victory over SMU. Goldman, a freshman, won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:49.95, 200-yard backstroke in 1:48.34 and 200-yard individual medley in 1:51.10…LSU also defeated Oklahoma Baptist, 51-26. Oklahoma Baptist is coached by Sam Freas, former executive director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Florida Gold Coast coach…

Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, Carlos Omana of the University of Florida, was named the first Southeastern Conference Male Swimmer of the Week for 2014. Omana won the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:08.26 and 400-yard individual medley in 3:54.69 in the Gators’ 180-118 win over Florida…Florida Southern’s Luis Rojas and Lauren Reynolds won the Sunshine State Conference Swimmer of the Week honors…

North Baltimore Aquatic Club coach Bob Bowman, who coached Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt among others to Olympic gold, is writing a book that is expected to come out in late 2015 or early 2016. While some of his swimming experiences will be included, the book will dwell more on goal-setting, business and personal development.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 155: Lochte Breaks Meet Record; Teenagers Steal The Show

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 155: Lochte Breaks Meet Record; Teenagers Steal The Show


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.

Miscellaneous

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 sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4soflo.com

Phelps Opens Indianapolis Grand Prix In Big Way With Two Golds

Phelps Opens Indianapolis Grand Prix In Big Way With Two Golds


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

March 3, 2011

He’s baaaaaaccccckkkkk!

Michael Phelps started the USA Swimming Indianapolis Grand Prix on a winning note by capturing two events on opening night.

The 14-time Olympic gold medalist knocked off Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter freestyle and later on the in the evening won the 100-meter butterfly at the IUPUI Natatorium.

Phelps is coming off three weeks of altitude training in Colorado Springs and unlike last year, it seems to have paid off.

Looking fit and clean-shaven, Phelps owned his events Thursday night to post 2011 world-best times.

Seeded first after morning prelims, Phelps, 25, of North Baltimore, won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:46.27, fastest time in the world this year, ahead of Olympian Ous Mellouli, 27, of Trojan Swim Club in a season-best 1:47.01. Lochte finished fourth in 1:49.41.

Mellouli came back to win the 400-meter individual medley in 4:13.80.

Phelps, again seeded first, won the 100-meter butterfly by a body-length in 51.75, another world-best effort. Lochte, not shaved or tapered and currently into weightlifting, failed to final in the butterfly and was fourth in the consolation heat in 53.92.

“Welcome back stud, great double tonight,” Mellouli tweeted.

He wasn’t close to his U.S. Open, American or world record times, but both Phelps and his longtime coach Bob Bowman didn’t expect him to be.

“I said to myself if I was under 1:47 in the 200 free, I’d be really happy and when I saw 46.2, it kind of surprised me a little bit,” Phelps said. “It was the best time in the world so I’ll take it. I’m definitely happy.

“I’m in a lot better shape than I was a month and a half ago, that’s for sure. Right now, I’m a lot more consistent. It’s making gradual steps back to where I should be. For the most part, I know I’m heading in the right direction.”

Said Bowman: “We really just want to get him back to the top level or near the top level, and it’s good to be back. Finally, he’s in the game. Now, we can worry about the other stuff.”

Phelps and Lochte are scheduled to meet two more times in the meet on Saturday in the 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter freestyle. They will compete in separate events on Friday.

Other individual champions on opening night:

Katie Hoff, 21, of FAST Swim Team, won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:57.97. Teenager Missy Franklin was second in 1:58.75.

Jessica Hardy, 23, of Trojan Swim Club won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:07.31.

Dana Vollmer, 23, of California Aquatics won the 100-meter butterfly in 57.66. Vollmer is the first woman under 58 seconds in the event this year.

Julia Smit, 23, swimming unattached, won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:44.53. Sixteen-year-old Kaitlyn Jones was third in 4:48.60.

Barry Murphy, 25, of Club Wolverine surprised the men’s field won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:00.77, to move into second place in the world rankings. Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima, 28, of Japan, training with the Trojan Swim Club, was fourth in 1:01.72. American record holder Eric Shanteau was sixth in 1:02.58.

Canada finished one-two in the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay with the “B” relay winning in 3:44.98 and “A” relay second in 3:46.01. Swim Ontario was third in 3:51.90.

Swim Ontario won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:25.07. SwimMAC, fresh off a training session at Pine Crest in Fort Lauderdale, was second in 3:27.06. Korea was third in 3:27.46.

The meet, the fourth stop in the seven-meet series, will be broadcast on Universal Sports on Friday 9-11 p.m. A live webcast of both prelims and finals will be shown on usaswimming.org.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com.

http://www.swim4soflo.com