PHOENIX, Arizona, February 18. RYAN Lochte and Missy Franklin continue to stay at the top of the leader board after the Arena Grand Prix stop in Orlando, Florida, last weekend. Lochte only had one win out of six races, the 200 IM, but managed a couple other top three finishes. Franklin won four events, keeping her well ahead of the pack in the women's points totals. Of course, Franklin will not be able to accept the grand prize given to the top scorers at the end of the Grand Prix.
Becca Mann also won four events in Orlando, highlighted by an incredible double in the 800 free and 200 IM, just seven minutes apart. Mann posted the fastest time in the world in 2013 in that 800 free with an 8:27.37, a time that would have been seventh in the Olympic final last year.
Tyler Clary was the only male swimmer to win more than two events in Orlando, taking the 400 IM, 200 fly and 200 back. Clary had been out of the water for most of the fall, but appears to be getting back into racing shape with some decent swims last week.
If you missed any of our coverage of the Arena Grand Prix in Orlando, be sure to check out our recaps on swimmingworld.com, as well as on-deck interviews on swimmingworld.tv. I also hosted three Race Day shows, analyzing swims in the championship finals each night, and you can find those on swimmingworld.tv as well.
High school swimming championships also continued last weekend, and though we saw no national high school records fall, we saw Cameron Stitt pull off a Jack Conger-style feat at the Oregon state championships. Stitt, a senior at Sunset High School in Portland, swam a 4:25.21 in the 500 free in Friday's prelims, breaking the 29-year-old state mark held by Alex Stiles by two seconds. Stitt almost broke the record last year as a junior, but this year was able to crush the record. The next day in finals, he cruised to an easy 4:33 for his fourth-straight win in the 500 free. Congratulations to Cameron, who will be attending the University of Michigan next summer. You can go to our high school page at swimmingworld.com to read more high school championship recaps.
Grand Canyon University was able to defeat their rivals at the University of the Incarnate Word last weekend at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships, winning the men's and women's titles. Incarnate Word did not send many of its top swimmers to the meet after shaving most of the squad last December to get their NCAA cuts, including new NCAA records holders Thiago Parravicini and Tamris Nascimento. Grand Canyon was on fire, with a 19.55 from Michael Branning in the 50 free and a 53.35 from Eetu Karvonen in the 100 breast. Defending national champion Mychala Lynch also looked strong with a 55.05 in the 100 fly.
The California Golden Bears were able to beat Bay Area rival Stanford on Saturday in the big dual meet between the two women's swimming powers. The Bears won by just nine points, so it wasn't a runaway. It was the final home meet for Caitlin Leverenz, who is the only senior on Cal's squad. She won the 200 IM and both breaststrokes on Saturday. Next Saturday, the men of Cal and Stanford battle in their final dual meet before the conference championships.