FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, July 19. AT Summer Nationals, how Ryan Lochte transfers his short-course success from spring’s World Championships to the long-course pool will be one of the main storylines. If nothing else, Lochte seems to be gradually rounding into form, evident in the five victories he secured at last weekend’s Southern Zone South Sectionals.
Still in training mode, Lochte prevailed in a trio of freestyle events, as he finished first in the 50 (23.51), 100 (51.36) and 400 (3:54.33). For good measure, Lochte also won the 100 breaststroke (1:03.81) and the 400 individual medley (4:18.90). Lochte was second in the 200 backstroke as his 2:01.79 was just behind the 2:01.48 of Lucas Salatta. Once his taper hits, expect Lochte to drop time considerably as he chases multiple bids to next year’s World Champs in Melbourne.
Among the women, Margaret Hoelzer produced a splendid meet with a quartet of wins. Hoelzer took top honors in the 100 fly (1:01.37), 200 fly (2:15.84), 200 backstroke (2:13.20) and 200 freestyle (2:02.46). She also placed third in the 100 backstroke, an event won by Leila Vaziri of Indiana University. Vaziri, a contender at Nationals behind Natalie Coughlin in the 100 back, was timed in 1:02.19.
In other action, Thiago Pereira won the 100 fly (55.36) and 200 individual medley (2:03.22) and took second place in the 400 I.M. (4:19.95). Meanwhile, Mike Alexandrov was the winner of the 200 breast in 2:18.79.