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MESA, Arizona, April 12. THE second day of finals action is complete at the Arena Grand Prix — Mesa as Club Wolverine's Tyler Clary turned in an exciting double this evening.
Women's 400 IM
After a trio of runner-up finishes last night, Hungary's Katinka Hosszu threw down a dominant time in the distance medley for her initial first-place check of the Arena Grand Prix series. Hosszu is definitely used to first-place checks as she amassed six figures in winnings on the FINA World Cup tour last year.
Tonight, Hosszu led wire-to-wire with a 4:40.01 for the win. That cleared her season best of 4:41.18 from earlier this year, but did not move her out of seventh-best in the world so far. Beatriz Gomez Cortes of Spain still holds sixth with a 4:39.86.
Fellow USC-connected swimmer Stina Gardell snared second overall with a time of 4:42.26, while California's Caitlin Leverenz rounded out the top three with a 4:42.64.
Pleasanton's Celina Li just missed the podium with a fourth-place time of 4:48.40, while Cammile Adams of Texas A&M claimed fifth in 4:48.58.
Germantown's Rachel Zilinskas (4:54.39), Louisville's Tanja Kylliainen (4:54.43) and Redlands' Sonia Wang (4:58.25) also vied for the event title in the 400 IM. Two-time Olympian Andreina Pinto cruised to the B final victory in a time of 4:55.50.
Men's 400 IM
Club Wolverine's Tyler Clary pushed his winning to $3,700 on the Arena Grand Prix series with another first-place check as he clocked a 4:24.90 to win the distance medley. He has plenty in the tank as he continues to round into form for Barcelona as he's been in the 4:06 range with a lifetime best of 4:06.96. It will be fun to see what Clary can pull off when he's fully tapered.
UCD's Scott Weltz raced to second in a lifetime best of 4:26.37. That swim cleared his previous top time of 4:27.25 and cashed him a runner-up check. AK Sharks' Sam Smiddy took third in 4:26.86 to wrap up the top three finishes.
Palo Alto's Curtis Ogren (4:27.75), Argentina's Esteban Paz (4:29.22), Venezuela's Carlos Claverie (4:31.85), Santa Clara's Alex Wold (4:33.55) and Cardinal's Carlos Almeida (4:38.63) posted the rest of the championship finishes. Meanwhile, East Brisbane's Zac Dalby cut seven seconds from his personal best with a B final winning time of 4:30.26.
Women's 200 free
Nation's Capital's Katie Ledecky and Colorado Stars' Missy Franklin put on a show in an epic battle in the 200-meter freestyle as both challenged the top time in the world this evening.
Franklin went out hard, leading Ledecky 56.79 to 57.45, at the 100-meter mark. Ledecky, however, put the hammer down, especially in the final 10 meters, to overtake her fellow Olympic gold medalist, 1:56.93 to 1:56.96.
Both joined just a foursome of swimmers to post 1:56s this year. Federica Pellegrini blasted a world-leading time of 1:56.51 today in Italy, while Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden had a 1:56.55 to her credit earlier this season as well.
Ledecky's time represents a two-second drop in her lifetime best, down from 1:58.66, as she continues to develop some speed to go along with her distance freestyle prowess. Franklin also put up a strong mid-season time, just a second-and-a-half off her top time of 1:55.06. T2's Erika Erndl rounded out the top three with a 2:00.12.
Erndl's effort proved to be historic as the 34-year-old blasted the FINA Masters world record of 2:04.05 set by Dawn Heckman in the women's 30-34 age division.
Chelsea Chenault (2:00.90), Jewish Community's Leah Smith (2:01.32), SMU's Nina Rangelova (2:01.95), SESI's Jessica Cavalheiro (2:02.54) and Longhorn's Karlee Bispo (2:03.25) also competed in the championship eight. Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton touched out California's Elizabeth Pelton, 2:01.61 to 2:01.68, for the B final win.
Men's 200 free
In a finale that featured 16 Olympic medals, Longhorn's Ricky Berens pulled off the victory in the 200-meter free just weeks after setting the American record in the 200-yard freestyle in Austin.
Berens, who represented three of the medals in the heat, raced to a 1:48.93 to emerge from an amazing heat, just off his season best of 1:48.39 that puts him among the top 10 in the world this year.
Tucson Ford's Darian Townsend touched out Denmark's Anders Neilsen, 1:49.61 to 1:49.67, for second place honors in the finale. Club Wolverine's Michael Klueh raced to fourth overall in 1:49.77, while Lake Forest's Conor Dwyer completed a line of swimmers all finishing in the 1:49s with a fifth-place 1:49.85.
Ryan Lochte, who owns 11 of the Olympic medals in the event, placed sixth in 1:51.26. California's Tom Shields (1:51.50) and PEAK's Tom Kremer (1:51.73) completed the amazing championship heat.
Virginia's Matt McLean continued his trend of .00 times as he clocked in at a 1:50.00 to prevail in the B final of the 200 free.
Women's 200 back
Colorado Stars' Missy Franklin put up an easy speed 2:09.35 in her world-record event in the women's 200-meter backstroke, coming off a double from the women's 200-meter freestyle. The time wasn't close to Federica Pellegrini's 2:08.05 from earlier today in Italy, but it didn't need to be as Franklin already owns the world-leader with a 2:07.31 from earlier in the year.
Future California Golden Bear teammate Elizabeth Pelton touched well back with a second-place 2:12.37, while AK Sharks' Clara Smiddy kept the strong Smiddy outing going with a third-place time of 2:13.33. Sam has been tearing it up in his events as well.
USC's Joanna Stenkvist (2:14.81), Hannah Moore (2:15.32), Ally Howe (2:15.87), Redlands' Yulduz Kuchkarova (2:15.90) and Katinka Hosszu (2:17.34) rounded out the championship heat with Hosszu feeling the pain from the high volume of meters she's been putting up this week. T2 15-year-old Elise Haan grabbed the B final win in 2:15.53.
Men's 200 back
In another loaded finale, Club Wolverine's Tyler Clary blazed his way to his second gold medal of the night by winning the 200-meter back.
Olympic gold medalist Clary posted a full-second victory with a 1:58.13 for the win, as he now has won more than $4,000 on the Arena Grand Prix circuit with his two victories tonight. He also nearly cleared his season best of 1:57.85 that ranks him in the top five in the world in the distance dorsal.
Bolles' Ryan Murphy grabbed second-place honors in the event with a 1:59.28, while Tucson Ford's newlywed Matt Grevers snatched third place with a 1:59.92 to round out the sub-2:00 efforts in the finale. Grevers went out hard with a 57.12 to lead at the halfway mark, but fell back to third as Clary and Murphy surged past him.
Kristian Kron took fourth place, while Ryan Lochte wound up fifth with a 2:03.07. Lochte is notorious for not putting up the best finishes at in-season meets before popping huge times at the end of the season.
Cardinal's Pedro Oliveira (2:04.33), Redlands' Daniil Bukin (2:05.26) and CANY's Nikita Denisyako (2:06.27) rounded out the championship heat. DANA's Yeziel Morales clocked a lifetime best 2:04.61 to win the B final.
Women's 50 free
California's Natalie Coughlin, 30, clocked a lifetime best in the splash-and-dash with a sizzling 24.90. That's her best time since posting a 24.92 at the Santa Clara International Meet way back in 2008, and is only her third sub-25 second time.
Her time training with the California post-grad group that includes sprint studs Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin is definitely paying off as she jumped to sixth in the world this year with her performance.
Trojan's Jessica Hardy tracked down second with a 25.38, while Tucson Ford's Christine Magnuson snared third in 25.47. The top three finishers have accounted for 16 Olympic medals in their careers with Coughlin owning 12.
Louisville's Kelsi Worrell (25.84), GTAC's Olivia Smoliga (25.94), California's Liv Jensen (26.05), SESI's Daynara De Paula (26.07) and Fresno State's Cheyenne Coffman (26.19) also vied for the title in the finale. SMU's Nathalie Lindborg topped the B final in 25.91.
Men's 50 free
California's Nathan Adrian nearly bettered his 50-meter free season best of 21.70, that ranks him second in the world behind Florent Manaudou. Adrian blitzed star-studded finale with a 21.72 for the win. Adrian's teammate Anthony Ervin ripped off a 22.31 to take second overall as Cal's post-grad sprint group proved to be special this evening with plenty of top times from Adrian, Coughlin and Ervin.
Redlands' Joey Hale clinched third-place honors with a 22.85, while SMU's Mindaugas Sadauskas finished fourth in 23.01.
Tucson Ford's Luke Pechmann (23.05), Palo Alto's Geoffreay Cheah (23.28), Davie Nadadores' Roberto Gomez (23.56) and Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers (23.94) comprised the rest of the championship field. Sun Devil's Herbie Behm snared the B final win in 23.38.