Minneapolis Race Day
Courtesy of: SwimmingWorld.TV
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, November 18. LAST weekend was an exciting first stop in the Arena Grand Prix Series with a lot of fast swimming. First, a big congratulations to Michael Andrew for breaking two National Age Group records for 13-14 in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke on day one. His 48.7 and 55.9 ranked him 13th and 17th overall. Here are a few more high lights from days two and three.


Caitlin Leverenz reminded us this weekend that she is not just an IMer with a dominant breaststroke. The Cal graduate out-touched butterfly Olympian Claire Donahue by three tenths of a second. Up next was the 50-yard freestyle and Cesar Cielo showed he is a serious force to reckon with even at this point in the season. The Brazilian posted an 18.83, which is a top 20 swim of all time. He was still about four tenths of a second off his US Open mark set back in 2008.

Megan Romano clocked a few near in-season bests to win the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Romano said in a post-race interview she wanted to come out here to win but she mainly just wanted to see where she was at after accepting her Duel in the Pool roster invite.

The men put on a show in the 500 freestyle, really giving the fans something to watch. Conor Dwyer posted the ninth fastest time in the history of the event with a 4:10.6. Teammate Yannick Agnel was only a tenth of a second behind him. North Baltimore finished with the top three positions.

It appeared as though Caitlin Leverenz had a stronger emphasis this weekend on non-breaststroke events. After we watched her win the 200 butterfly it was strange to see her come in third in the 200 breaststroke by a pretty large margin. However, Kierra Smith and Haley Spencer clocked a 2:06, which is great for this point in the season. It was a close race as well for the men and BJ Johnson out touched NCAA champ Carlos Almeida by about a second with a 1:53.

The final night opened up with the 1650 for the women. Minnesota's Kiera Janzen controlled the race finishing with a 16:05. The men continued to shine in the 200 IM. Conor Dwyer dropped two seconds from his personal best but was out touched by Darian Townsend who clocked his fourth fastest time in the history of the event, 1:43.7!

The highlight of the women's 200 backstroke was 14-year-old Ashlyn Schoof who claimed second place with a 1:56.7! She had only been under the two-minute barrier once before. Congratulations to Ashlyn for crushing her previous life-time best.

On the men's side, Russian Olympian Arkady Vyatchanin put together another solid race looking quite effortless. He clocked his third fastest time ever, 1:41.4. The 100 freestyle was another exciting race of the weekend. Adam Brown just edged out a fast and furious Cesar Cielo by one-one hundredth of a second. 41.89 was the winning time.

Thank you to Arena for putting on such a great show as always. The next stop will kick off the 17th of January in Austin, Texas. For complete results and interviews please go to SwimmingWorld.com.