Editorial coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, March 17. MARTIN Grodzki showed up at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex today during the final day of long course racing at the Speedo Southern Zone Sectionals for some final racing preparation in defense of his NCAA titles in the 500- and 1650-yard freestyles.
The Georgia senior won the 1500 freestyle tonight in 15:42.73, averaging 1:02 per 100 meters. He swam alone for the whole race, winning by 14 seconds ahead of Miguel Davila, who posted a 15:56.79. Yoelvi Pedraza was third with a 15:58.96.
With in-state rival Ryan Lochte leaving the meet early, Ryan Murphy had no peer in the men's 200 back, winning with an impressive in-season time of 2:00.15. It's not too far off his fastest of the season, a 1:59.92 from the Arena Grand Prix last month in Orlando. Connor Green of Bluefish, also a rising star in the backstroke, placed second in 2:04.00. Green's lifetime best is 2:00.57 from the 2012 U.S. Open, and we could see a sub-2:00 swim from the 17-year-old this summer. Brandon Goldman of Coral Springs placed third with a 2:06.28.
Vien Nguyen took down a Beijing Olympian in the women's distance event of the day, the 800 freestyle. The 16-year-old from Saint Augustine posted an 8:51.70 to beat Venezuelan Andreina Pinto, who posted an 8:53.90. The win gives Nguyen her first victory of the meet after two third-place finishes in the 400 and 1500 freestyles. Kendall Brent, a 14-year-old representing Swim Florida, placed third in an impressive 8:54.94.
Jorge Murillo also took down an Olympian tonight in the men's 200 breaststroke, dominating over Brazilian Felipe Lima 2:14.83 to 2:17.42. Murillo got close to his Colombian national record of 2:14.37, which he had set at the 2012 spring Colombian nationals. Placing third in the event was Carlos Mahecha with a 2:21.00.
T2 Aquatics' Erika Erndl, one of the oldest females to compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials at 34 years old, won the 100 freestyle with a 57.47 over 17-year-old Jessica Hodgson of Bolles. Erndl's best time stands at 54.59 from the 2009 U.S. Open. Nguyen backed up her 800 free win with a bronze-medal finish in the sprint free with a 58.29.
Isabel Reis, a 16-year-old representing Seacoast Swimming, won the women's 200 fly in a 2:18.27, well ahead of Alyssa Yambor-Maul of Area Tallahassee's 2:21.39. Elizabeth Zeiger of Bluefish Swim Club placed third with a 2:24.36.
Joseph Schooling, the national high school record holder in the 100-yard fly and a Singapore Olympian in the 200 fly, won the longer butterfly event in 2:02.87. Schooling let Julio Galofre push the pace for 150 meters before turning in a 31.11 final 50 meters to win the race. Galofre settled for silver with a 2:03.94, while Andre Montoya Torres was third with a 2:04.77.
With Cesar Cielo sitting out the 100 free, and Ryan Murphy scratching from finals to focus on the 200 backstroke, Davie Nadadores' Roberto Gomez won the event in 51.99. (Murphy was the top swimmer in prelims with a 52.87.) Santo Condorelli of Bolles placed second with a 52.07, while Dylan Carter of davie Nadadores was third with a 52.23.
Jana Mangimelli, a standout at the University of Georgia, won the women's 200 breast with a 2:34.17, while Sarra Lajnef fell off the pace in the final 50 meters, settling for silver with a 2:34.78. Olga Lapteva placed third in 2:34.84.
Clara Smiddy of AK Sharks won the women's 200 back with a 2:15.18, while Yabor-Maul placed second again tonight with a 2:17.81. Carol Colorado finished third with a 2:18.33.
The 400 free relays closed the meet, and Bluefish won the women's race with a 3:57.57. Davie Nadadores was second with a 4:00.65, while Area Tallahassee finished third with a 4:06.05.
Davie Nadadores took the top two spots in the men's 400 free relay, with the A team winning in 3:30.55 and the B team second in 3:36.66. Bluefish rounded out the top three with a 3:40.05.