ATHENS, Georgia, July 11. THE Greatest of All Time Michael Phelps is rounding into form nicely just a month out from U.S. Nationals. Tonight, Phelps posted the second-fastest 100-meter fly in the world during the Bulldog Grand Slam.
As part of a highly anticipated showdown with SwimMAC’s Ryan Lochte, Phelps crushed the competition with a 51.67. Only Viacheslav Prudnikov has been faster with a 51.60 from the Russian National Championships. Phelps had been hanging out around the 51-second stage with a 52.11 to rank 10th in the world since his comeback in April. Tonight, he demolished that effort.
Lochte, meanwhile, checked in with a second-place time of 53.08. He is ranked eighth in the world with a 51.93 from the Mesa stop of the Arena Grand Prix, but hasn’t been quite the same since re-injuring his knee in Mesa. SwimMAC’s Matt Josa rounded out the top three in 53.64.
NBAC’s Allison Schmitt, who just made news this week by signing with adidas, had a bit of an extra pep in her step tonight as she clipped former Georgia teammate Shannon Vreeland, 1:58.16 to 1:58.34, in the women’s 200-meter free. She’s been a lot faster this year with a ninth-ranked 1:56.41 from the Charlotte stop of the Arena Grand Prix, but Schmitt should be ready next month at Nationals. SPA’s Melanie Margalis grabbed third overall in 1:58.96 as the other sub-1:59 swim of the night.
Bulldogs’ Jordan Mattern cleared 2:00 with a fourth-place 1:59.60 in the A final, while NBAC’s Cierra Runge captured the B final with a 1:59.82.
NBAC’s Yannick Agnel led a trio of swimmers in the 1:47s in the men’s 200-meter free. Agnel raced his way to a 1:47.27, while teammate Conor Dwyer snared second in 1:47.44. Club Wolverine’s Connor Jaeger rounded out the top three in 1:47.94. NBAC’s Matt McLean put up a 1:48.80 to finish fourth tonight as well. Agnel is the fastest of the group so far this year with a third-ranked 1:45.63 from French Nationals, while Dwyer moved to 19th in the world ranking with his swim.
Lochte had a rough morning in the 200 free, qualifying to the B final with a 14th-place 1:52.32. This evening, he turned it up a notch to win the B final in 1:48.69 — the fourth-fastest effort of the night.
SwimMAC’s Micah Lawrence cruised to victory in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:08.50. That’s just a second off her 14th-ranked season best of 1:07.58 from the Charlotte stop of the Arena Grand Prix, and was plenty fast enough for the win tonight.
Lawrence’s summer training partner Emma Reaney, who is looking to transition her American-record yard skills into long course excellence, took second in 1:09.57. Auburn’s Annie Lazor wound up third in the 100-meter breaststroke finale with a 1:09.84.
Bulldog’s Nic Fink tracked down the men’s 100-meter breaststroke title in 1:01.69. That’s an in-season best for Fink, who previously had a 1:02.18 from the 2013 Georgia Senior Sectionals. He’s broken a 1:00 in championship competition with a 59.84 at the 2013 FINA World Championships, but tonight was his first in-season sub-1:02.
Bolles’ Anton Lobanov finished second in 1:02.15 tonight, while Auburn’s Michael Duderstadt checked in with a third-place 1:03.11. Notably, SwimMAC’s Tyler Clary won the D final in 1:06.34 as part of a difficult 100 breast/400 IM double.
SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker heated up the women’s 100-meter fly finale with her first sub-1:00 time ever. She blazed her way to a 59.69 to win the finale, breaking her previous personal best of 1:00.22 from the Austin stop of the Arena Grand Prix. She’s now just a second-or-so away from cracking the top 20 in the world currently anchored by Alexandra Wenk and Daynara de Paula’s 58.49s.
Athens Bulldog took home the next two spots in the fly finale as Lauren Harrington took second in 1:00.34 and Shannon Vreeland picked up her second podium of the night with a 1:00.61. In other action, SwimMAC’s Cammile Adams charged through the C finale with a 1:00.91 for the bonus consolation heat victory.
SPA’s Melanie Margalis had a breakthrough swim in the women’s 400-meter IM as she won in 4:39.84. That performance vaulted her to 17th in the world rankings, and demolished her previous lifetime best of 4:46.36 set this morning in prelims. That time had clipped the 4:46.94 she set at the 2011 Georgia Senior Sectionals.
NBAC’s Becca Mann finished second overall in 4:41.05, a bit off her 16th-ranked season best of 4:39.78 from the Santa Clara stop of the Arena Grand Prix. Athens Bulldogs’ Amber McDermott rounded out the top three in 4:46.81.
Clary closed out that difficult 100 breast/400 IM double with a winning time of 4:21.66 in the distance medley event. Two of the three Litherlands triplets finished second and third in the finale as Kevin (4:26.11) and Mick (4:29.34) rounded out the top three. Ty Stewart had a strong B final with a 4:26.58 for the consolation title.
Results: Bulldog Grand Slam: Day Two