Arena Grand Prix, Charlotte: Hardy, Alexandrov Win Third Titles; Vollmer Breaks Top 10

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, May 11. THE third night of finals at the Arena Grand Prix stop known as the Charlotte UltraSwim produced more cash for Trojan teammates Jessica Hardy and Mike Alexandrov. Meanwhile, plenty of scorching times were posted in the pool, including Dana Vollmer's top 10 time in the sprint fly.

Women's 200 fly
Gator's Andreina Pinto emerged triumphant from a pack of swimmers at the end of the women's 200-meter fly. Pinto backhalfed her way to the win, surging past a line of swimmers with a 33.62 final 50 meters en route to a 2:12.40 for the win. That's just a second off her top swim ever, a 2:11.23 at the 2012 London Olympic games, and just half-a-second off her best in-season time of a 2:11.93 from last year's Santa Clara International meet.

North Carolina's Meredith Hoover had a strong back half of her own with a 2:12.57, finishing just behind Pinto. That's her first time under 2:13, beating her previous lifetime best of 2:13.57 from this meet a year ago.

Athens Bulldogs' Lauren Harrington claimed the final podium spot with a bronze-winning effort of 2:13.28. That's a lifetime best, downing Harrington's long-standing top time of 2:13.45 from way back at the 2008 Junior National Championships.

Mount Pleasant's Megan Kingsley took fourth in 2:13.58, while Flint Y's Courtney Weaver wound up fifth in 2:14.66. Louisville's Kelsi Worrell went out hard, with a 29.44 at the 50, then faded throughout the rest of the race to take sixth in 2:15.04.

Emma Nunn (2:15.82) and NYAC's Kim Vandenberg (2:16.73) wrapped up the championship heat, with Louisville's Tanja Kylliainen winning the B final in 2:14.62.

Men's 200 fly
Bolles' Joseph Schooling blasted the field by more than a second with a sterling time of 1:57.79. Out in 1:25.32 at the 150-meter mark, the Singapore citizen felt the pain coming home with a 32.47 to close out his winning time. With a bit more strategic of a race, Schooling had the chance to break his Singapore record of 1:56.67 set at the 2011 SEA Games. Schooling already took down a pair of Singapore records yesterday, and owns five national marks including his time in the 200 fly. He finished a bit on the outskirts of the top 10 in the world as well, which is anchored by Wang Shun's 1:56.70 from Chinese Nationals.

Tom Luchsinger finished second in 1:58.80, while Club Wolverine's Dan Madwed placed third overall with a time of 1:59.60. NBAC's Chase Kalisz broke 2:00 for the first time in his career with a 1:59.73 to take fourth. That swim smashed his previous best of 2:00.82 from the 2012 Indianapolis Grand Prix, and foreshadows a potentially special swim coming from the multi-event star in the 200 breast later this evening.

Nation's Capital's Andrew Seliskar (2:00.63), Gator's Sebastien Rousseau (2:00.75), Venezuela's Jose Perez (2:02.32) and Michigan's Dylan Bosch (2:02.71) rounded out the championship field. Stephen Schmuhl of Indiana posted a lifetime best 2:00.64 to win the B final.

Women's 50 free
Jessica Hardy captured her third title of the meet with her first no-breath long course 50 free. After a breaststroke double last night in the 50 and 100-meter events, Hardy blazed her way to a winning effort of 25.09. That's just outside the world's top 10 currently anchored by Brittany Elmslie's 24.91 from Australian Nationals. California's Natalie Coughlin remains the top American in the world this year with her scintillating time of 24.90 in Mesa to tie Femke Heemskerk for eighth in the world. The win provided Hardy her third $500 first-place check of the meet, netting her $1,500 in just two nights of work.

Athens Bulldogs' Megan Romano finished just behind with a lifetime-best effort of 25.12 as she matched SwimMAC's Madison Kennedy for second-place honors. Romano's previous best was a 25.23 from the Longhorn Elite Invitational just under a year ago. Kennedy, in front of a home crowd, just missed her fourth sub-25 career effort.

Dana Vollmer (25.80), Emma Svensson (25.83), SwimAtlanta's Amanda Weir (25.88), AGUA's Lia Neal (25.89) and California's Liv Jensen (25.99) placed fourth through eighth. Athens Bulldogs' Shannon Vreeland captured the B final in a 25.74.

Men's 50 free
With a no-breather of his own, California's Anthony Ervin matched his in-season lifetime best with a sizzling 22.01 in the splash-and-dash. That swim matched the 22.01 he clocked at the Mediterranean International Meet earlier this year as the 31-year-old continues his remarkable career resurgence.

Just to reset Ervin's amazing story, he tied for the Olympic gold medal in the 50-meter free back in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics. He then retired from the sport before returning to the pool in 2011. He had enough natural talent to match with his training at California to earn a berth on the U.S. Olympic roster, where he finished fifth in the 50-meter free. He's since continued swimming with much more professional money available to swimmers who decide to remain in the sport. He's also pulled off some ground-breaking crowdfunding projects to keep himself swimming around the world.

Auburn's Marcelo Chierighini earned second in 22.09, while SwimMAC's Cullen Jones took third overall in 22.16 after smashing the field off the start. Jones has never had a problem with his start, but is still getting himself back into overall shape after nearly retiring following the 2012 London Olympics. Thankfully for the U.S. sprint freestyle group, SwimMAC head coach David Marsh talked him out of it.

Josh Schneider (22.77), SwimAtlanta's Karl Krug (22.85), Longhorn's Ricky Berens (22.97) and Auburn's Adam Brown (23.18) comprised the rest of the top eight. Pavel Babaev took the B final win in 22.52.

Women's 100 back
Athens Bulldogs' Megan Romano clocked just her sixth 1:00 performance of her career with a 1:00.83 to hold off a hard-charging 16-year-old from SwimMAC, Kathleen Baker. Romano's time just edged her 1:00.87 from the 2011 U.S. Nationals as her fifth-best time ever, and put her just half-a-second outside of the top 10 in the world. Missy Franklin is the top American this year with a blistering third-ranked time of 59.34.

Baker, meanwhile, snatched second-place honors with a 1:00.98 to clear 1:01 for the first time in her career. That bettered her previous top time of 1:01.63 from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, dropping two seconds from her preliminary time of 1:02.60.

Greenwood Memorial's Kaitlin Harty, just 15 herself, took third-place honors in 1:01.59 to lower her lifetime best as well. Coming into today, she had only been under 1:02 once, that was a 1:01.99 at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

DANA's Carolina Colorado (1:01.73), Colombia's Isabella Arcila (1:02.52), Michigan's Alex DeLoof (1:02.69), BlueFish's Brooke Zeiger (1:03.80) and Ellen Williamson (1:03.89) grabbed fourth through eighth in the A final. Catherine Mulquin posted a 1:03.43 to win the B final earlier in the evening.

Men's 100 back
Wisconsin's Drew Teduits, who became the Badgers' first NCAA titlist since 1959 with his victory in the 200-yard back, pulled off another shocker this evening with a sizzling time of 54.43. He just touched out veteran David Plummer of Minnetonka for the win as Plummer posted a 54.45. Teduits cleared 55 seconds for the first time with the swim, blazing past his lifetime best from prelims of 55.43.

The final three wound up being incredibly close as Bolles' Ryan Murphy turned in a third-place time of 54.49, just .06 seconds off Teduits victorious time. Japanese world titlist Junya Koga, who is now training at Club Wolverine, wound up with a fourth-place effort of 54.91.

Eugene Godsoe (54.94), Olympic superstar Ryan Lochte (5.48), Jack Conger (55.71) and Mohamed Hussein (56.46) also competed in the championship finale. Lochte is definitely showing signs of having an overloaded plate. Typically, the swimming community excuses Lochte when it comes to mid-season swims as the lack of victories usually comes from a huge volume of work under head coach Gregg Troy. This year, however, he's definitely been focused on his reality television show as well as promoting it for the E! network.

Women's 400 free
After a pair of runner-up finishes earlier in the meet, Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton snatched a first-place $500 check in the middle-distance event. Sutton put together a well-paced 400 with a 4:09.10 to hold off the rest of the field. She still has more in the tank, as her best in-season time is a 4:06.04 from the 2011 Indianapolis Grand Prix. However, she did just enough to get her hands on the top prize in the event as she continues to fund her professional career. She, along with Rebecca Ejdervik, will appear in the June issue of Swimming World Magazine with some first-person accounts of what it means to be a professional swimmer.

NBAC's Gillian Ryan turned on the afterburners down the stretch with a 29.81 final 50 to finish second overall in 4:09.70. Meanwhile, JCC's Leah Smith picked up third-place honors with a 4:10.85 after sticking with Sutton through the initial 300 meters.

Athens Bulldogs' Amber McDermott (4:12.91), Gator's Andreina Pinto (4:15.07), Ashley Steenvoorden (4:15.07), Chile's Kristel Kobrich (4:16.28) and NBAC's Cierra Runge (4:16.72) also vied for the title during the championship heat. Athens Bulldogs' Shannon Vreeland picked up another B final win with a 4:13.60.

Men's 400 free
Michigan's Connor Jaeger negative split his way to a winning effort of 3:48.77 in the event. That swim missed his lifetime best of 3:48.06 from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, and also nearly moved Jaeger into the top 10 in the world this year anchored by Gabriele Detti's 3:48.51 from Italian Nationals. That's Jaeger's second win of the meet to go along with his 800-meter freestyle victory.

Longhorn's Michael McBroom had the third fastest time of the night to finish second with a time of 3:50.77 as IX3's Charlie Houchin smashed the B final with a blistering time of 3:50.64. Unfortunately for Houchin, he won't cash the second-place check with the swim being in the consolation heat. Virginia's Matt McLean picked up another paycheck with a third-place time of 3:51.57. He's been focusing a bit more on the 200 as of late, but still managed a top-three finish in the 400 this evening.

Club Wolverine's Michael Klueh (3:52.85), Dynamo's Matias Koski (3:52.89), Marwan El Kamash (3:56.07), Lake Forest's Conor Dwyer (3:56.41) and Auburn's Zane Grothe (3:58.78) also competed in the championship finale.

Women's 200 breast
NBAC's Annie Zhu used an electric final 50 meters with a blistering 38.35 to overtake Longhorn's Laura Sogar by the slimmest of margins, 2:27.16 to 2:27.17. Sogar fell a second off Zhu's final 50 meters with a 39.34 and could not hold on to her 150-meter lead. Tennessee's Molly Hannis rounded out the top three with a time of 2:30.72 as the sprint breaststroker managed to earn another podium finish.

SMU's Raminta Dvariskyte (2:33.48), Ashley Wanland (2:33.73), Michigan's Angela Chokran (2:35.09), GMAC's Genevieve Robertson (2:35.69) and Louisville's Gisselle Kohoyda (2:36.34) also competed in the championship heat. Katie Meili, who competed collegiately for Columbia, took home the B final win with a 2:32.51.

Men's 200 breast
Trojan's Mike Alexandrov kept pace with his Trojan teammate Jessica Hardy, clinching his third title of the meet. After putting up an easy speed 2:16.74 in prelims to make the finale, Alexandrov turned on the heat from lane two in the finale with a 2:13.60 for the win. That's a total of $1,500 so far this meet for the Bulgarian-American.

Jorge Murillo earned his third podium of the meet, all three behind Alexandrov, with a 2:14.44 for second-place honors. NBAC's Chase Kalisz nearly lowered his lifetime best of 2:14.13 from the World Junior Championships in 2011 with a third-place 2:14.51.

Louisville's Carlos Almeida (2:15.97), Thomas Dahlia (2:16.30), Nicolas Fink (2:16.43), Michigan's Richard Funk (2:17.28) and Tennessee's Tristan Slater (2:18.12) rounded out the top eight. Connecticut's Lachezar Shumkov picked up the B final win with a 2:18.98.

Women's 50 fly
Dana Vollmer had an amazing swim in the sprint fly, cracking into the top 10 in the world in the event. She charged to a sterling time of 26.18, matching Marieke Guehrer for seventh in the world. With her speed, Vollmer nearly broke 26 seconds for just the third time in her career. Last year, she managed a smoking 25.80 lifetime best at the Charlotte UltraSwim.

Vollmer's Olympic butterfly wingwoman Claire Donahue picked up second-place honors with a time of 26.77, while Louisville's Kelsi Worrell touched third overall in 26.94 to complete the sub-27 finishes.

DANA's Carolina Colorado (27.24), SwimMAC's Andrea Georoff (27.42), CTA's Kristel Vourna (27.79), Natalie Hinds (27.87) and Machine's Hellen Moffitt (28.00) churned through the sprint fly to finish fourth through eighth. SwimMAC's Alyssa Marsh drew a huge ovation with a lifetime best 27.81 to win the B final. That's the first time under 28 seconds for SwimMAC head coach David Marsh's daughter, as she previously went a 28.29 at the Charlotte UltraSwim in 2012.

Men's 50 fly
Auburn's Marcelo Chierighini drew a “War Eagle” from Universal Sports' commentator Rowdy Gaines, an alum of Auburn, as Chierighini clocked a 23.72 for the win. Chierighini is just a month off competing at the NCAA Championships for the Auburn Tigers.

SwimMAC's Cullen Jones, fresh off an in-season best in the 50 free earlier in the evening, clocked a 24.03 in the sprint fly for second. Eugene Godsoe, who spent time training in Charlotte before heading to Stanford as an assistant coach this year, took third overall in 24.17.

NYAC's Tyler McGill (24.23), Tim Phillips (24.42), SwimMAC's Matthew Josa (24.75), Auburn's Adam Brown (24.84) and Josh Schneider (24.92) wrapped up the top eight. Santo Condorelli of Bolles blasted the B final with a winning time of 24.48.

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