2014 Arena Grand Prix At Mesa: How Do The Times Stack Up?

By Emily Sampl

BOULDER, Colorado, May 4. ONE of the age-old questions asked by swimmers is, “How am I doing compared to last year?” Swimmers are always looking back at previous meet results and comparing their times to the same meet the year before to gauge their progress. Last weekend’s Arena Grand Prix at Mesa gave the swimming community the opportunity to do just that – assess where the top athletes are at this point in the season compared to last year. Are we on pace for a faster summer than 2013? A look back at the times turned in at the two meets will hopefully help answer that question.

Event                         Year                  Time                 Winner

Men’s 50 Free                   2014                        21.73                        Nathan Adrian

2013                        21.72*                      Nathan Adrian

Women’s 50 Free            2014                        25.16                        Cheyenne Coffman

2013                        24.90*                     Natalie Coughlin

Men’s 100 Free                2014                        48.23*                      Nathan Adrian

2013                        48.42                        Nathan Adrian

Women’s 100 Free         2014                        54.46                        Allison Schmitt

2013                        54.27*                      Missy Franklin

Men’s 200 Free                2014                        1:49.48                    Ryan Lochte

2013                        1:48.93*                  Ricky Berens

Women’s 200 Free         2014                        1:56.27*                  Katie Ledecky

2013                        1:56.93                    Katie Ledecky

Men’s 400 Free                2014                        3:50.87*                 Michael McBroom

2013                        3:51.95                     Matt McLean

Women’s 400 Free         2014                        4:03.84*                 Katie Ledecky

2013                        4:05.21                     Katie Ledecky

Women’s 800 Free         2014                        8:20.10*                  Katie Ledecky

2013                        8:20.64                    Katie Ledecky

Men’s 1500 Free              2014                        15:08.86*                Michael McBroom

2013                        15:28.57                   Michael Klueh

Men’s 100 Back                2014                        54.40                        Arkady Vyatchanin

2013                        54.26*                      Matt Grevers

Women’s 100 Back         2014                         1:01.58                    Fernanda Gonzalez

2013                        1:00.15*                  Missy Franklin

Men’s 200 Back                2014                        1:58.04*                 Arkady Vyatchanin

2013                        1:58.13                     Tyler Clary

Women’s 200 Back        2014                        2:12.53                     Clara Smiddy

2013                        2:09.35*                 Missy Franklin

Men’s 100 Breast            2014                        1:01.62                    Damir Dugonjic

2013                        1:00.63*                Mike Alexandrov

Women’s 100 Breast      2014                        1:07.50                  Alia Atkinson

2013                        1:07.32*               Breeja Larson

Men’s 200 Breast            2014                        2:14.81                  Jorge Murillo Valdes

2013                        2:14.51*               BJ Johnson

Women’s 200 Breast      2014                        2:25.52*             Alia Atkinson

2013                        2:28.03               Breeja Larson

Men’s 100 Fly                     2014                        51.93*                  Ryan Lochte

2013                        52.83                    Marcin Tarczynski

Women’s 100 Fly             2014                         59.05*                 Claire Donahue

2013                        59.58                     Claire Donahue

Men’s 200 Fly                   2014                        2:00.39                Tyler Clary

2013                        1:58.10*                Tyler Clary

Women’s 200 Fly            2014                        2:12.10                  Becca Mann

2013                        2:09.45*               Cammile Adams

Men’s 200 IM                   2014                        2:02.07                 Darian Townsend

2013                        2:01.04*               Darian Townsend

Women’s 200 IM            2014                         2:12.92                 Katie Hoff

2013                        2:12.68*               Katinka Hosszu

Men’s 400 IM                   2014                        4:19.00*              Tyler Clary

2013                        4:24.90                Tyler Clary

Women’s 400 IM            2014                        4:39.68*              Elizabeth Beisel

2013                        4:40.01                 Katinka Hosszu

*Faster time of the two years

On the men’s side, 2013 saw a faster winning time than 2014 in seven of the 13 events – the 50 free, 200 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 fly and 200 IM. The same can be said for the women’s side; of the 13 events, the faster winning time came in 2013 in seven events, including the 50 and 100 free, 100 and 200 back, 100 breast, 200 fly and 200 IM. So, overall, 14 of the 26 events had a faster winning time in 2013 than last weekend.

Are these time differences significant? They might be in some events, but not in others. In the men’s 50 free, for example, Nathan Adrian’s winning time this year was only .01 slower than his winning time last year – probably not significant enough to say he’s behind his pace from last year, at least for this meet. Several other events had similar results, though not as close as .01. In 10 of the 26 events, last year’s winning time and this year’s winning time were separated by less than half a second.

On the other hand, some events saw huge improvements over last year. Michael McBroom’s 1500 free time was a whopping 20 seconds faster than Michael Klueh’s winning time in that event last year. A 15:08 in April is a sign of good things to come for the men’s distance events. Distance queen Katie Ledecky also went faster in all three of her races – the 200 free, 400 free and 800 free – than last year. Tyler Clary won the men’s 200 fly and 400 IM in 2013 and again in 2014, adding two seconds in the 200 fly but dropping almost six in the 400 IM. Ryan Lochte, though he didn’t win any events last year, swam significantly faster this year, posting times of 49.68 in the 100 free, 1:49.48 in the 200 free and 51.93 in the 100 fly, compared to his 50.98 in the 100 free, 1:50.99 in the 200 free and 54.48 in the 100 fly last year.

Based on these numbers, a lot of swimmers seem to be right on par or ahead of their pace from last year. It will be interesting to see whether these statistics hold for the next Grand Prix meet, which will take place in Charlotte from May 15-18. With the Phillips 66 National Championships in August serving as a major selection meet for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and next year’s World Championships, World University Games and Pan American Games, swimmers will need to be on their game this summer.

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Author: Emily Sampl

Emily Sampl, an editorial assistant for Swimming World Magazine, is a freelance writer for USA Swimming and an assistant coach at Boulder High School and Boulder Elks Swim Team in Colorado. Emily graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and master's degree in sport administration from the University of Northern Colorado.

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