By Erin Greene
ANN ARBOR, Michigan, May 19. IF anyone questioned the ability to swim fast in a morning finals session, those questions were answered on the second day of finals at the Eric Namesnik Grand Prix, as Michael Phelps posted a new pool record in the 100-meter backstroke. He, along with Katie Hoff, also had a few words to share on the new prelims-finals format.
"I think swimming in the morning is something we are getting used to," Phelps said. "It is something we will have to do later. So, it is something that is good to practice so later we will be able to do it."
"It is good to get the experience of testing out what a morning finals feels likes," Hoff said. "I have always been a good morning swimmer. A lot of it is just mental. If you think, ‘This is too hard,' then it will be."
Hoff, who used this meet as the opportunity to swim some different events, also spoke about her event schedule.
"I was not in the 400 IM," she said. "Today was a lot about speed. I know that will help me out in the long run. It will probably help my speed at nationals. I look forward to swimming it at nationals."
Women's 400 IM
Ava Ohlgren proved the prelims-finals reversal can be effective when she shed eight seconds off her preliminary time to take home the victory by four seconds in 4:48.79. First-place seed heading into the finals, Elizabeth Beisel, also swam the event faster than yesterday. Her time of 4:52.61 earned her second place. Kaitlin O'Brien, who trailed five members of the field at the 200-meter mark came back to win the bronze in 4:53.24.
Monika Stitski also lowered her time to move from eighth into fourth in 4:54.70. Fellow 17-year-old Alexa Komarnycky followed in 4:57.24. Justine Mueller (4:58.13) slightly improved upon her time to overtake seventh-place finisher Courtney Kalisz (4:58.66). Filling the final position was Emily Brunemann (5:00.46) in the final 100 meters.
Men's 400 IM
When first-place seed Ryan Lochte scratched the finals, Robert Margalis capitalized on the opportunity to earn his first gold of the meet. Margalis' time of 4:25.80 was seven seconds under his prelim time and a second and a half faster than the competition.
Eric Vendt, who earned a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in the event, again found himself in the second-place position with 4:27.30. Keith Beavers rounded out the Top 3 in 4:27.62.
Tyler Harris checked in next for fourth-place at 4:30.75. Roland Rudolph jumped up three places to finish fifth in 4:34.89. Brennan Morris clocked a time of 4:35.41 for sixth.
Dane Grenda (4:36.79) and Alex Vanderkaay (4:38.28) were responsible for seventh and eight place, respectively.
Women's 100 butterfly
Felicia Lee maintained her No. 1 seed, as she was the only swimmer to complete the sprint fly race under a minute. Lee completed the race in 59.92. Jemma Lowe picked up the silver in 1:00.30, while Mary Descenza moved into the medal positions with 1:01.99.
Kim Vandenburg (1:02.14) edged out Katie Hoff (1:02.18) by just .04 seconds to capture fourth place. Margaret Kelly (1:02.79) finished sixth in her home pool. Dagny Knutson (1:02.98) and Melissa Jaeger (1:03.58) captured the final two positions.
Men's 100 butterfly
Michael Phelps notched yet another win in one of his signature events, the 100-meter butterfly, with an easy lead of more than a second. The phenom posted the only sub-55 second time of 53.66. Teammate Davis Tarwater came back in the final 25 meters to finish as the runner-up in 55.12. Joe Doyle rounded out the Top 3 in 55.27.
Joe Bartoch was the next swimmer to complete the race. He did so in 55.50. Peter Verhoef was close behind, recording a time of 55.83. Chris Brady, the third Wolverine to swim the race, hit the wall in 56.47.
Pablo Marmolejo moved up one place when he posted a time of 57.77. Meanwhile, Matthias Sigrist finished in eighth place with a time of 57.91.
Women's 200 freestyle
In an improvement from yesterday's swims, Katilin Sandeno rose the bar by clocking a time of 2:02.62. Tied with Andrea Hupman at the 100-meter mark, Sandeno powered it home for the gold. Hupman took second in 2:03.80. Mary Descenza, who had barely dried off from her 100 fly race, earned her second consecutive bronze in 2:04.46.
Sixteen-year olds Megan Romano and Allison Schmitt touched the wall next with the times of 2:04.64 and 2:04.89, respectively. Kim Vandenberg, who also swam the previous race, finished sixth in 2:05.29.
Caroline Burckle filled seventh place with a time of 2:05.62, while Kim Jasmer occupied the final championship position in 2:07.78.
Men's 200 freestyle
Taking home his second medal in as many races for the day, Phelps swam a time of 1:49.39 in a race in which he owns the world record. Matthew Owen touched out Daniel Madwed by two one-hundredths to finish second in 1:51.46, while Madwed took third in 1:51.48.
Phelps' teammate, Chris DeJong, occupied the first place outside of the medal range with a time of 1:52.76. Robert Margalis swam to fifth place in a time of 1:54.01.
Wolverines were responsible for the next three places. Peter Vanderkaay led the pack in a time of 1:54.08 for sixth. Matt Patton followed in 1:55.02, while Davis Tarwater took eighth in 1:57.77.
Women's 100 breaststroke
Lowri Tynan held onto her top seed to pick up her first victory of the meet in a time of 1:12.25. Nic Teo out swam Katie Hoff by .03 seconds to earn the silver in a time of 1:12.83.
Mhyria Miller and Caroline Burckle battled for fourth place, but Miller came out on top in a time of 1:13.50. Burckle finished just .01 seconds later in 1:13.51.
Helen Pitchik (1:13.74), Agus Degiovanni (1:14.10) and Lyndsey Smith (1:17.83) occupied the final three spots.
Men's 100 breaststroke
Neil Versfeld recorded a time of 1:04.83 to maintain his top seed in the finals heat. Scott Span lowered his preliminary time by a second to earn the silver medal. Pat Penoyar swam the sprint breaststroke race in 1:06.61 to take home the bronze.
Sixteen-year-old Rob Holderness clocked in at 1:06.65 to occupy fourth place. Swimming the fifth-fastest time of 1:07.06 was Grant Burtch. Joining Holderness in the 16-year-old age bracket was Bogdan Knezevic (1:07.14) in sixth place.
Brad Craig (1:07.40) edged Clark Burckle (1:07.49) to end the race in seventh place.
Women's 100 backstroke
After an extremely close race yesterday evening, Rachel Goh came out on top after swimming a time of 1:03.40. Katie Hoff, close on her heels, clocked in at 1:03.52 to finish in the runner-up position. Edging Kaitlin Sandeno by just one-tenth was Felicia Lee in a time of 1:03.94. Sandeno posted a time of 1:04.06.
Not far behind, Aleksandra Putra swam the fourth-fastest time of 1:04.15. Roxane Akradi hit the wall next in 1:04.45. Elizabeth Beisel swam to seventh place in 1:04.65, while Mary Descenza, swimming her third race of the day, placed eighth with a time of 1:05.16.
Men's 100 backstroke
It would not seem like a sanctioned meet if Phelps did not break a record. Waiting until the final event of the second day to accomplish that feat, he got the job done in the 100-meter backstroke. Phelps posted a time of 55.02 to erase Jeff House's record by three-tenths.
"I was pretty happy with it," Phelps said of his time. "A 55 is pretty good for me right now."
Finishing behind Phelps was Roland Rudolph with a time of 57.46. Omar Pinzon jumped from a sixth-place seed into the medal count with a time of 59.18. Keith Beavers was responsible for fourth place with his time of 59.26.
Completing the lower half of the heat was Matt Patton (59.40), TP Patrick (59.83), Brennan Morris (1:00.22), Ryan Atkinson (1:00.35).