PHOENIX, Arizona, February 24. LAST night we saw some great swimming at various conference meets in the United States, but all of them paled in comparison to what happened this morning at the Big 12 championships in Columba, Missouri. Texas A&M sophomore Breeja Larson broke the NCAA record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 57.92 in prelims. She is now the second person under 58 in the event, the first being Tara Kirk, whose American record of 57.77 is in jeopardy tonight. Larson finished second in the 100 breast at last year's NCAAs with a 58.51. Larson had battled through a throat cancer diagnosis last summer and has been showing steady in-season improvement since her recovery.
At the Pac 12 championships last night, Katinka Hosszu and Caitlin Leverenz gave us a great preview of what we can expect to see at the women's Division I NCAA championships in the 200 IM. Hosszu, the reigning national champion, won in 1:52.37, just six hundredths of a second off Julia Smit's NCAA and U.S. Open record of 1:52.31. Leverenz was right behind for second place with a 1:52.43. These two are more than a second faster than anyone else in the country in this event, and sets up for another epic battle tonight in the 400 IM. Stanford's sprinters helped keep the Cardinal in first after two days, with four swimmers in the final of the 50 freestyle. Cal's Liv Jensen, the reigning 50 free NCAA champ, won the conference title with a 21.70. Haley Anderson posted a quick 4:36.52 in the 500 free to beat older sister Alyssa, who like a lot of the Arizona swimmers, have already tapered and are waiting until NCAAs to peak again.
Over at the Big Ten championships, Michigan's Ryan Feeley is now the fastest 500 freestyler in the country with his winning time of 4:15.12. The Wolverines went 1-2-3 in the event, with Connor Jaeger going 4:15.65 and Sean Ryan getting third with a 4:16.47. Jaeger and Ryan are third and fourth in the nation in the event. Michigan has a 35-point lead over Ohio State.
Mateo de Angulo, who was at one point the fastest 500 freestyler in the country, won the ACC 500 free last night in 4:18.66. de Angulo swam a 4:15.2 at the Georgia Tech Invite in November. Eric Bruck of Clemson gave his team something to remember in the program's final days, winning the 50 free in 19.41. This will be Clemson's final conference meet, and right now they are sitting in sixth place, with leader North Carolina owning twice as many points.
Nick McCrory and David Boudia almost got onto the medal podium yesterday evening at the FINA diving world cup meet, finishing fourth in the synchro platform event. The duo missed third by 13 points, but on the upside, they did qualify the United States to compete in the Olympics in the event with their fourth place finish. China won the men's synchro platform, with Mexico and Germany taking second and third. Boudia breezed through preliminaries of the individual platform diving event, qualifying 12th, while Thomas Finchum was not able to score high on a couple of dives, finishing 35th. China, as usual, are one and two going into semis.
Ian Thorpe will be racing one more time this weekend before heading back to Australia to prepare for the Olympic Trials, which begin in just three weeks. Thorpe is competing in the 100 and 400 freestyles in Zurich, where he has said he will not give any interviews to the media.