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ORLANDO, Florida, February 14. ALTHOUGH swimmers won't be having an early morning Valentine's Day gift with Ryan Lochte not making it into town until this evening, there was still plenty of presents to be unwrapped during day two prelims at the Arena Grand Prix in Orlando.
Women's 200 fly
Canada's Audrey Lacroix, who already has a fourth-ranked 2:09.18 from the Austin stop of the Arena Grand Prix this year, led the way in qualifying with a 2:11.25. In all likelihood, Lacroix will wind up breaking her meet record of 2:09.63 set last year here in Orlando as she will have a battle on her hands with Hungary's Katinka Hosszu cruising into second in 2:13.54 this morning.
Hosszu, who set two meet records in the morning yesterday before winning both the 200 free and 400 IM last night with some slower times, looks like she is finding her equilibrium after some jet lag to put up faster times at night.
Gator's Kahra Williams, 16, had an amazing swim as the youngster qualified third in 2:15.03. Coming into today, her top time ever had been a 2:22.60 from last July at sectionals. This morning, she dropped more than seven seconds from that lifetime best. That's a huge accomplishment and should set her up for a fun evening in the championship heat.
Canada's Katerine Savard, fresh off a 100 fly victory last night, qualified fourth in 2:15.57, while Chattahoochee Gold's Lauren Case, 15, qualified fifth in 2:16.03. Isabella Paez (2:16.07), California's Caitlin Leverenz (2:17.11) and GPAC's Delaney Walz (2:17.20) also made the big final.
Last night's consolation heat warrior Andreina Pinto of Gator, made the B final in the 200 fly again with an 11th-place 2:18.48. Look for her to do some damage this evening.
Men's 200 fly
Club Wolverine's Tyler Clary, who admitted he hasn't had the best chance to focus on his training in the past month with a back injury and two strains of flu, continues to battle back strong as he led qualifying in the 200 fly with a 2:01.08.
Canada's Alec Page finished second behind Clary with a 2:02.74, while Hungary's David Verraszto could be looking to add to his 400 IM win from last night with a third-seeded time of 2:03.65. Yeziel Morales tied Verraszto in the morning with a 2:03.65 as well.
Bolles' Joseph Schooling made his way into the big final as well with a 2:04.82 for fifth, while Luiz Pedro Ribeiro Pereira claimed sixth in 2:05.47. Canada's Eric Hedlin (2:05.69) and CST's David Gonzalez (2:05.69) rounded out the rest of the championship heat before swimmers took to the other side of the pool for the 50s.
side of the pool for the 50s.
Women's 50 free
There is a high probability that Christine Magnuson's meet record of 25.33 from last year will fall tonight as some seriously swift sprinters took to the water this morning.
T2's Amanda Kendall, who is rejuvenating her career with head coach Paul Yetter down in Florida, topped qualifying with a 25.63. That's nearly a personal best, having clocked a 25.61 in Austin last month.
SwimMAC's Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, one of the top female sprinters in the world, cruised to 25.84 for second. She's definitely capable of dropping her time into the meet record realm this evening. Canada's Sandrine Mainville (25.90) and Victoria Poon (25.96) also cleared 26 seconds this morning.
CATS' Melissa Gates took fifth overall in 26.08, while Bulldogs' Megan Romano placed sixth overall in 26.09. Azura Florida's Fernanda Delgado, 15, wound up seventh overall in 26.26 as the World Junior Championship competitor has a 25.70 to her credit. SwimMAC's Katie Meili closed out the championship finale field with an eighth-place 26.36.
Men's 50 free
This evening should see some significantly serious speed in the men's splash-and-dash considering the times put up this morning. Brazil's Bruno Fratus broke the meet record with a 22.24, clearing Anthony Ervin's 22.43 from a year ago. That swim vaulted Fratus to fourth in the world rankings behind only James Magnussen (21.88), Nathan Adrian (21.89) and Ning Zetao (22.23).
His compatriot, Cesar Cielo, now representing Mesa Aquatic Club, checked in with a 22.55. That's good enough to move into a tie for ninth in the world rankings. The two Brazilians should put on a show this evening, with a chance for both to knock Magnussen from his perch.
Jimmy Feigen posted the top American time this morning with a 22.69. That's just a bit off his eighth-ranked season best of 22.49 from Austin. Meanwhile, SwimAtlanta's Karl Krug claimed fourth overall in 22.88.
NYAC's Adam Brown touched fifth in 22.89 with SwimMAC's Cullen Jones taking sixth just behind with a 22.93. Club Wolverine's Miguel Ortiz earned seventh in 22.94, while Renzo Tjoan A Joe also beat 23 seconds with an eighth-place 22.98.
For the Michael Andrew fans, the 14-year-old pro finished 32nd in 23.91. His 13-14 national age group record is a 23.19.
Women's 100 back
Elizabeth Simmonds of Great Britain could be looking at a special swim this evening after qualifying first with a 1:01.31 in the 100 back this morning. She's already seventh in the world with a 1:00.71 from the Belgium Cup in Antwerp, and will be vying for a better time this evening. She may even try to rival Fu Yuanhui's top-ranked 1:00.05 from January.
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu lined up her second final of the night with a 1:02.21. That's just a second off her 10th-ranked season best of 1:01.11 from the Nice Invite in France. Ontario's Dominique Bouchard picked up third overall in 1:02.54, while Canada's Hilary Caldwell wound up fourth in 1:02.63 in what is an internally-heavy finale.
Megan Romano was the top American with a fifth-place 1:03.09, while 16-year-old Elise Haan of T2 Aquatics finished sixth in 1:03.28. Gator's Fernanda Gonzalez Ramirez (1:03.36) and Gisela Morales (1:03.65) wrapped up the top eight finishers this morning.
Men's 100 back
Germany's Yannick Lebherz put up the only sub-56 second time of the morning to potentially set himself up for his second win in as many days. Lebherz, who won the 200 free last night in a touchout against Michael Weiss, posted a 55.90.
Russian Olympian Arkady Vyatchanin turned in a second-place time of 56.11, while Club Wolverine's Junya Koga snared third overall in 56.45. The top three swimmers could push each other to some seriously strong times, but will need at least a 54-low to challenge for a World Top 10 time.
Germany's Carl-Louis Schwarz placed fourth in 56.73, while Auburn's Albert Subirats took fifth this morning in 56.77. Hungary's Gabor Balog raced his way to sixth in 56.95, while Carpet Capital 15-year-old Ethan Young qualified seventh in 56.97 to break 57 seconds for the first time. His previous lifetime best had been a 57.28 from last summer's junior nationals.
Club Wolverine's Miguel Ortiz picked up the final transfer spot into the championship finale with an eighth-place 57.62.
Michael Andrew, the 14-year-old national age group record hunter with nearly 50 record revisions to his credit, qualified 11th into the B final with a 58.76. He could be vying for his 13-14 national age group record of 57.38 from earlier this year.
Women's 400 free
IX3's Chloe Sutton, who is still in the process of adjusting to life as a post-grad in Raleigh, N.C., cruised to the top seed this morning with a time of 4:12.93. She will have some serious work ahead of her with the Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu qualifying second in 4:13.24 as the two could lead to some strong swims tonight.
It will take a 4:09 to crack into the World Top 10 currently anchored by Lotte Friis (4:09.35). Hosszu already is up there with a sixth-ranked 4:08.61 from Luxembourg, and if Sutton can hang with the two-time FINA World Cup winner, she could wind up in the top 10 as well.
York Y's Courtney Harnish, 14, qualified third after the A flight with a 4:14.99. That's just off her lifetime best of 4:14.79 from last summer's junior nationals. Meanwhile, Clearwater's Alexandra Aitchison finished well back in fourth in 4:19.86. Kendall Brent, another youngster at 15, took fifth overall in 4:20.06 with Hungary's Agnes Mutina placing sixth in 4:20.17.
Gator's Andreina Pinto likely finally pushed her way into a championship heat after a handful of consolation swims already in Orlando as Pinto posted a seventh-place 4:20.21. Joanna Evans rounded out the top eight after the A flight of competition with a 4:20.79.
Men's 400 free
After A flight qualifying, Canada's Ryan Cochrane and The Woodlands' Michael McBroom set up a potentially great battle this evening in the middle distance event. While Cochrane posted a strong morning time of 3:54.36, well ahead of the pack, McBroom has the fifth-ranked time in the world this year with a 3:50.47 from Austin and should challenge this evening even though he posted a 3:57.21 in prelims.
Hungary's David Verraszto, who proved his has plenty of distance ability with a 400 IM win last night, qualified third in 3:58.16. Canada's Eric Hedlin rounded out the top four in 3:58.71.
Mexico's Andres Olvera Alejos posted a fifth-place time of 3:58.95, while Canada's Williams Brother touched sixth in 3:59.06 as the final sub-4:00 swim this morning in the A flight.
Dion Dreesens (4:00.24) and Germany's Maximilian Bock (4:00.35) claimed the last two transfer spots into the championship finale, barring any B flight swimmers beating them out later in the session.
Women's 200 breast
SwimMAC's Micah Lawrence, who stands fourth in the world this year with a 2:25.73 from the Austin stop, led the way this morning in the distance breaststroke with a 2:30.80. Meanwhile, BlueFish's Laura Sogar checked in with a 2:31.04, as she is the sixth-ranked swimmer in the world with a 2:26.14 from Austin as well. The top duo should turn up the heat this evening in Orlando as the look to put up even stronger times.
SoFlo's Alia Atkinson, who crushed the 100 breast last night to move to second in the world in both the 50 breast and 100 breast, took third in 2:34.70. California's Caitlin Leverenz, who is battling Megan Romano for the points lead, qualified fourth in 2:35.82 and will be looking to inch closer to overtaking Romano.
Clearwater's Sydney Pickrem finished fifth in 2:36.54, while Bolles' Olga Lapteva touched sixth in 2:36.84. T2's Justine Mueller pocketed seventh overall in 2:37.06, while Venezuela's Mercedes Toledo claimed the final transfer spot into finals with a 2:37.48.
Men's 200 breast
Sean Mahoney led the way in prelims of the 200 breast with a time of 2:15.30, just ahead of Bolles' Melquides Alvarez Caraballo's second-place 2:15.49. Those two are definitely head and shoulders above the rest of the times this morning, finishing three seconds ahead of the pack. The two could be vying for World Top 10 times this evening, currently anchored by Li Xiang's 2:13.72 from Perth.
Felipe Lima, who just barely finished second after falling to Mike Alexandrov in the 100 breast on night one, took third in 2:18.42. Tennessee's Brad Craig qualified fourth in 2:18.51, while Alexandrov claimed fifth in 2:19.03.
Adam Ritter (2:19.84), James Guest (2:19.96) and Andrew Poznikoff (2:19.99) rounded out the rest of the championship heat with it taking a sub-2:20 to make the big final tonight.