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MESA, Arizona, April 24. OLYMPIC superstar Michael Phelps returned in triumphant fashion as he raced to the top seed in the men’s 100-meter fly in the final significant swim of the morning at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa.
Meanwhile, news broke this morning that NBAC’s Yannick Agnel and Chase Kalisz would both be out of the meet. NBAC’s Bob Bowman let us know why this morning.
“Yannick is taking a short break after swimming at French Nationals,” Bowman said. “Chase is still in school and could not make this meet.”
Women’s 100 free
First Colony’s Simone Manuel, on her way to Stanford after her senior season in high school, lead the way in prelims with a 55.06, while NBAC’s Allison Schmitt definitely is feeling strong in her return meet with a second-seeded effort of 55.11. Schmitt’s had some trouble firing on all cylinders in her past meets, but is looking strong here in Mesa.
SwimAtlanta’s Amanda Weir turned in a third-place time of 55.43 with fellow veteran Natalie Coughlin of California tying her with a 55.43. They went about it in different ways with Coughlin having the fastest 50 of the bunch with a 26.21.
Athens Bulldog Megan Romano (55.44), NCAP’s Katie Ledecky (55.62), Tucson Ford’s Margo Geer (55.88) and Fresno State’s Cheyenne Coffman (55.95) all broke 56 seconds to make the championship finale.
Olympian Katie Hoff, still on the comeback trail after taking a bit of a sabbatical to focus on school and getting engaged this past weekend, topped the B finalists with a 56.04. The consolation heat will also include the likes of Jessica Hardy (56.25), Amanda Kendall (56.25) and Katie Meili (56.48).
Men’s 100 free
California’s Nathan Adrian, who stands third this year in the SwimVortex world rankings with a 48.26 from the Austin stop of the Arena Grand Prix, cruised to the top time this morning with a 49.98. He was the only swimmer to clear 50 seconds this afternoon.
NBAC’s Conor Dwyer picked up a second-place time of 50.17, while Phoenix Swim Club’s Roland Schoeman snared third in 50.22 to topline a veteran-laden finale. SwimMAC’s Ryan Lochte also made the finale with a 50.25, while Louisville’s Matthias Lindenbauer placed fifth in 50.37.
NYAC’s Darian Townsend (50.44), Jimmy Feigen (50.45) and Josh Schneider (50.52) comprised the rest of the championship eight.
California’s Anthony Ervin headlined the B final with a 10th-place time of 50.77, while Michael Andrew will have a bit tougher time taking out National Age Group records in his first meet as a 15 year old. Andrew qualified 27th overall in 51.89. Caeleb Dressel holds that record with a 49.28 from 2013.
Women’s 200 breast
SwimMAC’s Micah Lawrence took home the top seed in the distance breaststroke event with a time of 2:28.37, far and away the best effort this morning. Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson, swimming back in her home pool as a Mesa-native, took second in 2:30.59 in front of a hometown crowd, and immediately moved over to a chat with a mass of local media members.
Utah’s Stina Colleou raced her way to third in the event with a 2:30.69, while SoFlo’s Alia Atkinson finished fourth in 2:31.86.
SMU’s Raminta Dvariskyte (2:33.65), Trojan’s Stina Gardell (2:33.69), Califronia’s Caitlin Leverenz (2:34.26) and Bluefish’s Laura Sogar (2:34.46) also earned their way into the championship heat this evening.
Some top age groupers will do battle in the B final of the event as 15-year-olds Bailey Kovac (2:36.34), Nora Deleske (2:36.34), and 16-year-olds Destiny Nelson (2:37.40) and Riley Scott (2:38.32) each making the consolation heat.
Men’s 200 breast<
Trojan’s Azad Al-Barazi clinched the top seed in the event with a time of 2:16.40, while NYAC’s Mike Alexandrov, a definite Grand Prix veteran, qualified second in the event with a time of 2:16.54. Carl Mickelson rounded out the top three in 2:17.65.
Bolles’ Jorge Murillo Valdes earned fourth out of prelims with a 2:18.06, while GCU’s Youssef Elkamash raced to fifth in 2:20.40. Palo Alto’s Brandon Fischer (2:20.96), NCAP’s Carsten Vissering (2:21.23) and Long Island’s Gunther Cassell (2:21.55) picked up the other spots in the A final.
Arizona’s Kevin Cordes scratched the swim due to a school conflict, but will be here the rest of the meet.
The consolation heat is stocked as well with Curtis Ogren leading the way after qualifying ninth in 2:22.82. Tennessee’s Brad Craig is in the B final with a 2:22.97, while Gator’s Diago Carvalho also made the B final in 2:23.69.
Swimming World World Masters Swimmer of the Year David Guthrie, 53, made the D final with a strong time of 2:32.28.
Women’s 400 free
There’s little doubt that NCAP’s Katie Ledecky will wind up at the top of the world rankings tonight after clocking a sizzling 4:05.27 to kick things off this morning. She’s already second in the world behind Mireia Belmonte Garcia’s 4:03.84 with a 4:04.46 from the Austin Grand Prix. Ledecky definitely will be gunning for that 4:03 time this evening.
NBAC’s Becca Mann checked in with a second-place time of 4:09.21, showing her change from Clearwater to North Baltimore hasn’t negatively impacted the 16 year old. Virginia’s Leah Smith touched third in 4:10.23, while NBAC’s Gillian Ryan claimed fourth in 4:10.90.
NBAC owned the A final with Cierra Runge (4:11.29), Allison Schmitt (4:12.12) and Lotte Friis (4:12.16) qualifying fifth through seventh. Gator’s Andreina Pinto rounded out the top eight with a 4:15.31, while IX3’s Chloe Sutton just missed the finale with a 4:15.85.
Men’s 400 free
It took nearly a sub-4:00 to make the championship final, led by NBAC’s Conor Dwyer, who popped a 3:58.14 to lead all qualifiers. Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss checked in second with a 3:58.27, while The Woodlands’ Michael McBroom snared third in 3:58.43.
Tyler Clary, now in a dual representation situation where he still remains affiliated with Club Wolverine, but has moved to Charlotte and is training with SwimMAC, qualified fourth in 3:58.57.
Crimson’s Liam Egan (3:58.60), Nitro’s Sean Grieshop (3:58.67), Azura Florida’s Marcelo Acosta (3:59.46) and Aidan Burns (4:00.25) rounded out the top eight in the middle distance event.
Women’s 100 fly
Western Kentucky’s Claire Donahue proved to be the only sub-1:00 swimmer of the morning with a 59.56 to lead qualifying. Mission Viejo’s Katie McLaughlin tied SMU’s Marne Erasmus for second in the finale with matching 1:00.04s.
Bolles’ Carolina Colorado tracked down fourth out of prelims with a time of 1:00.48, while Hurricane’s Katie Hoff is definitely on point in her first full blown competition since returning from her time off to focus on school as she qualified fifth in 1:00.67.
T2’s Amanda Kendall (1:00.74), Gaucho’s Andrea Ward (1:01.04) and SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker (1:01.31) also made their way into the A final.
SoFlo’s Alia Atkinson, typically a stalwart in the breaststroke events, showed some versatility with a ninth-place 1:01.38 to lead the way into the B final.
Men’s 100 fly
The Greatest of All Time Michael Phelps definitely made his return dramatic after scratching the 100 free. That left him in the final heat of the day, if you don’t count the 400 free B finals, and he kept the fans cheering.
After drawing a huge cheer from his signature arm slap, Phelps entered the water and left no doubt that while he’s having fun he is still serious about the sport. Phelps threw down a 52.84 in his return swim, leading all qualifiers. As a prelim swim, that’s only half-a-second off the top 20 in the world rankings. And, yes, that’s a U.S. Nationals cut putting him in place to compete for a spot on the Pan Pacific Championships squad.
His long-term foe Ryan Lochte of SwimMAC set up a head-to-head battle this evening with the second-seeded time of the morning as he clocked a 52.94. The question isn’t whether tonight will be fast, but whether the two can challenge Takuro Fujii’s world-leading 51.84 from the Japanese Nationals.
Palo Alto’s Jason Dunford finished third in 53.33 with Azura Florida’s Luis Martinez placing fourth in 53.56.
Palo Alto’s Eugene Godsoe (53.75), Auburn’s Albert Subirats (53.91), Queens’ Matt Josa (53.91) and Terrapins’ Justin Lynch (53.93) also grabbed spots in the championship heat.
Michael Andrew, the 13-14 NAG hunter, now swimming as a 15-year-old placed 17th in 55.23. He has some time to make up as Justin Lynch owns the 15-16 mark with a 52.75.