AUSTIN, Texas, December 1. ARIZONA's Kevin Cordes became the first man under 1:51 in the men's 200-yard breaststroke to close the U.S. Winter Short Course Nationals with a U.S. Open and American record. Meanwhile, Katie Ledecky put on a show in the 1650 free.
Women's 1650 free
Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, quite likely the best female distance swimmer on the planet right now, turned in a sparkling swim with a stunning time of 15:28.36. She went out hard gunning for Katie Hoff's American record of 15:24.35, but still managed to blast 20 seconds from the previous meet record of 15:48.64 from 2010. Ledecky is now the second-fastest swimmer ever in the event.
Notably, Ledecky also demolished her 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record of 15:40.38 from earlier this year, and is already 10 seconds faster than the NCAA record that North Carolina's Stephanie Peacock set in a win at NCAAs with a 15:38.79 in March. Ledecky went out fast, clocking a 4:38.82 at the 500-yard mark, which for comparison's sake is just off the NCAA A cut of 4:38.13 in the event.
Olympic silver medalist Haley Anderson didn't stand a chance, as she settled for a 15:55.91 to win second and break the NCAA A cut of 16:01.12. Indiana's Lindsay Vrooman also automatically qualified for NCAAs with a third-place time of 15:56.81.
Minnesota's Ashley Steenvoorden (16:02.88), West Virginia's Rachael Burnett (16:09.92), Texas' Kaitlin Pawlowicz (16:09.96), Texas' Kelsey Leneave (16:15.52) and NCAP's Megan Byrnes (16:15.63) rounded out the top eight.
Men's 1650 free
Texas' Michael McBroom drew a huge ovation from the partisan crowd as he checked in with a strong time of 14:40.10. That swim far surpassed the NCAA A cut of 14:47.70 to punch his ticket to the show. He has more in the tank heading into the rest of the season as well, sporting a 14:32.86 lifetime best from the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Dynamo's Evan Pinion, who recently decided to attend the University of Tennessee for college, earned runner-up honors with a 14:56.57 to break 15:00 for the first time. His previous best had been a 15:02.07 from 2010 short course juniors.
USC's Cristian Quintero rounded out the top three with a 15:00.79, while NU's Jordan Wilimovsky placed fourth in 15:11.91. USC's Ted Singley (15:12.41), USC's Cary Wright (15:12.47), Indiana's James Barbiere (15:13.55) and Dynamo's Kevin Litherland (15:20.32) completed the rest of the top eight in the timed final event.
Women's 200 back
Colorado Stars' Missy Franklin nearly got into the American record game with a stunning time of 1:49.18. That swim just missed future California teammate Elizabeth Pelton's 2011 national record of 1:49.16. Although many in attendance thought it was an American record as Natalie Coughlin's 1:49.52 from 2002 in this pool was listed as the national record in the results. Franklin did clear Mary DeScenza's meet record of 1:51.58, and bettered her lifetime best of 1:50.10 from the Minneapolis Grand Prix. Franklin is now the third fastest ever behind Gemma Spofforth (1:48.34) and Pelton.
Franklin's former Colorado high school foe Bonnie Brandon placed second in 1:51.49 for Arizona, clearing the NCAA A cut of 1:53.17. Dynamo's Kylie Stewart earned third-place honors in 1:52.77, while Indiana's Brooklyn Snodgrass placed fourth in 1:53.97.
NCAP's Janet Hu (1:54.82), USC's Kendyl Stewart (1:55.20), Indiana's Cynthia Pammet (1:55.49) and USC's Henriette Stenkvist (1:56.82) completed the top eight. Texas' Sarah Denninghoff won the B final in 1:55.26.
Men's 200 back
Bolles' Ryan Murphy went out fast and had enough left to touch out Gator's Arkady Vyatchanin, 1:38.15 to 1:38.22. That swim crushed Jack Conger's 17-18 U.S. National Age Group record of 1:40.41 set last year. Murphy and Vyatchanin also joined an exclusive club of sub 1:39s, made up of just seven other swimmers including Ryan Lochte's fastest time of 1:36.81. Lochte led prelims with a 1:40.69 before scratching the rest of his night. USC's Alex Lendrum completed the top three tonight in 1:42.29.
Indiana's Eric Ress (1:42.72), MSU's Jacob Jarzen (1:43.10), Texas' Austin Surhoff (1:43.38), Matt Thompson (1:43.41) and Arizona's Ellis Miller (1:43.90) placed fourth through eighth. Arizona's Michael Sheppard posted a 1:42.77 to win the B final.
Women's 100 free
Arizona's Margo Geer blistered what proved to be an extremely fast championship heat with a winning time of 47.16, just missing her lifetime best of 47.14 set at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Fresh off her near American record swim in the 200 back, Missy Franklin raced to second in 47.60 to down her lifetime best of 47.94. She set that personal record back in 2010. GTAC's Olivia Smoliga earned third-place honors in 47.89, breaking 48 for the first time as her previous best had been a 48.37 from earlier in the meet.
FCST's Simone Manuel placed fourth in 47.97, while Jessica Hardy took fifth in 47.98 after making the final with a Christine Magnuson scratch. T2's Erika Erndl took sixth in 48.21, further lowering her U.S. Masters Swimming 30-34 age division national record of 48.42 set during prelims. Her previous record had been a 49.08 from Dec. 2008. AGUA's Lia Neal (48.22) and NCAP's Janet Hu (49.23) also competed in the finale. Texas' Karlee Bispo has a scorching fast B final victory in 48.19 that would have put her sixth overall.
Men's 100 free
With Nathan Adrian sitting out the rest of the meet after injuring his finger during warmdown following his stellar first session 50 free, the door was wide open in the 100 free finale. Just like in the 50 free, Matt Grevers walked right through the door to victory with a 41.71 in the finale.
Louisville's Joao De Lucca, meanwhile, blasted past the NCAA A cut of 42.45 with a sterling 42.05 to become an instant contender for the NCAA title in March. Olympian Ricky Berens, who had contemplated retirement for a short time after the 2012 London Games but decided to return to the sport he loves, took third in 42.37 — a lifetime best. His previous top time had been a 42.92 from prelims.
Trojan's Nikita Lobintsev tied Arizona's Giles Smith for fourth with matching 42.63s, while Longhorn's Garrett Weber-Gale placed sixth in 42.89. Trojan's Alexander Sukhorukov earned seventh in 43.26, while SwimFlorida's Pavel Babaev touched eighth in 43.57. Stanford's Eugene Godsoe ripped off a 42.59 to win the B final.
Women's 200 breast
Texas' Laura Sogar, who posted a meet-record time of 2:05.04 in prelims, wound up fading off Breeja Larson's American record in the final 50 yards with a 2:05.39. Sogar had gone out strong, posting a 59.38 and 1:31.89 at the 100 and 150-yard marks, both under Larson's pace, but could not hold on to dust Larson's 2:04.48. USC's Andrea Kropp (2:07.62) and Jessica Schmitt (2:09.78) placed second and third with Kropp joining Sogar under the NCAA A cut of 2:08.70.
Arizona's Chelsey Salli (2:11.23), USC's Kasey Carlson (2:11.57), USC's Meghan Hawthorne (2:11.98), Arizona's Emma Schoettmer (2:12.49) and Arizona's Ellyn Baumgardner (2:12.64) completed the rest of the championship heat. PCC's Miranda Tucker won the B final in a swift time of 2:10.53, while USC's Stina Gardell took second in that heat with a 2:11.89.
Men's 200 breast
Arizona's Kevin Cordes made history tonight, becoming the first man ever to break 1:51 in the men's 200 breaststroke event with an astonishing time of 1:50.73. That swim not only broke the American record of 1:51.73 set by Mike Alexandrov, it also beat Neil Versfeld's U.S. Open and NCAA record of 1:51.40 set in 2009. Cordes now owns the American record in both the 100 (51.32) and 200 breast (1:50.73) events, and only continues to get better.
Meanwhile, Tucson Ford's Clark Burckle nearly became the second-fastest man in the history of the event with a sizzling 1:51.20 before having it overturned by a disqualification. The disqualification was for an illegal flutter kick during his swim. Trojan's Alexandrov took second tonight in 1:52.24, while Tucson Ford's Austen Thompson placed third in 1:54.73.
Indiana's Cody Miller (1:54.89), Tennessee's Brad Craig (1:55.11), NBAC's Chase Kalisz (1:56.43) and Arizona's Carl Mickelson (1:57.40) also vied for the national title.
Later in the evening, Burckle filed a protest and had his disqualification overturned, thus reinstating his stellar time of 1:51.20 as the second-fastest time ever.
“I would tell you if I cheated, but I would never do something like that on purpose,” Burckle told Swimming World.
Women's 200 fly
After blazing prelims with a 1:53.98, USC's Jasmine Tosky cruised to victory in the finale with a strong time of 1:54.38. Both times are under the NCAA A cut of 1:54.60, locking down a spot for Tosky at NCAAs. NYAC's Kim Vandenberg dropped more than a second from her prelim swim with a 1:55.94 for second, while UCLA's Noelle Tarazona earned third in 1:55.95 just behind her.
Indiana's Brenna MacLean (1:56.88), USC's Kendyl Stewart (1:57.47), West Virginia's Amanda Nugent (1:58.10), Arizona's Ashley Evans (1:58.11) and UCLA's Anna Senko (1:58.11) rounded out the championship eight, while Indiana's Haley Lips claimed the B final in 1:57.45.
Men's 200 fly
California's Tom Shields smoked the meet record in the distance fly with a lifetime-best effort of 1:40.24. That performance clipped his previous best of 1:40.31 from the 2011 Pacific 10 Championships, and eclipsed Hidemasa Sano's meet mark of 1:41.07 from 2008. Shields is still chasing Michael Phelps (1:39.65) as the fastest 200-yard butterflier of all time.
DSA's Clark Smith raced to second in 1:44.58, while Arizona's Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (1:44.80) and Matthew Barber (1:45.39) finished third and fourth. NCAP's Andrew Seliskar (1:45.44), USC's Dakota Hodgson (1:45.62), Texas' Tripp Cooper (1:47.03) and USC's Justin Difederico (1:47.96) comprised the rest of the championship field. MSU's Bryan Williams won the B final in 1:46.59.
Women's 400 free relay
Arizona's Margo Geer (47.83), Bonnie Brandon (48.48), Megan Lafferty (48.60) and Alana Pazevic (48.99) posted a blistering meet record of 3:13.90 in the event. That swim bettered the 3:14.50 set by California back in 2010. Texas' Alex Hooper (49.56), Sarah Denninghoff (48.44), Gretchen Jaques (49.24) and Kelsey Amundsen (48.81) placed second in 3:16.05, while USC's Kasey Carlson (48.28), Katarzyna Wilk (49.49), Jasmine Tosky (49.10) and Joan Christel Simms (49.42) raced to third in 3:16.29. All three times beat the NCAA A cut of 3:17.27. Arizona B (3:17.81), UCLA (3:17.85), Texas B (3:20.56), Indiana (3:20.57) and USC B (3:20.72) completed the championship final in the event.
Men's 400 free relay
Arizona's Giles Smith (43.08), Mitchell Friedemann (42.42), Woody Joye (42.85) and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (42.86) just missed the meet record of 2:51.19 with a winning time of 2:51.21. The effort proved to be enough to clear the NCAA A cut of 2:53.94.
Texas' Austin Surhoff (43.87), Clay Youngquist (44.20), Charles Moore (44.07) and Dax Hill (41.92) finished second in 2:54.06, while USC's John Wagner (43.74), Cristian Quintero (43.55), Chad Bobrosky (43.80) and Nick Karpov (43.71) took third in 2:54.80. Texas B (2:56.07), Arizona B (2:57.55), Michigan State (2:58.92), Indiana (2:59.13) and USC B (2:59.27) earned the rest of the top eight finishes.