AUSTIN, Texas, January 15. THE USA Swimming Grand Prix held in Austin, Texas came to a finish with Janet Evans, 40, earning her second Olympic Trials cut. Meanwhile, the usual suspects shined bright throughout the evening.
Just two days after first qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the women's 400 free with a 4:17.12 during prelims, legendary Janet Evans, 40, added another event to her schedule in Omaha. Evans finished 11th in the women's 800 free today with an 8:49.05 to drop almost exactly 10 seconds from her seed time in negative split fashion.
Evans announced her return to swimming in June 2011 with her primary goal being to make Trials. She's now done so in a pair of events, including in the race in which her world record stood from August 1989 until August 2008 when Rebecca Adlington cleared the 8:16.22 with an 8:14.10 at the Beijing Games. Evans won four Olympic medals, including three golds at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, during her career that previously ended after the 1996 Atlanta Games.
NBAC's Allison Schmitt dominated the field with a winning time of 8:31.94, while Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton battled through illness with a second-place 8:36.93. Sutton's teammate Ashley Twichell checked in with a third-place 8:37.29.
Colorado Stars' Missy Franklin, who has become a shooting star within the sport in the last year, started the Olympic year off strong with a sub-1:00 effort in the women's 100 back. She dropped a time of 59.92 to set the tone for the year. She ranked fifth in the world last year with a 59.18 from U.S. Summer Nationals. Aquajets' Rachel Bootsma placed second in 1:00.03, while BSS's Georgia Davies checked in third with a 1:00.67. Notably, Natalie Coughlin qualified third in 1:01.19, but scratched the evening swim to focus on the women's 200 IM.
That decision paid dividends as Coughlin won the medley in 2:12.44, which would have cracked the top 25 last year. FAST's Katie Hoff finished second in the event with a 2:12.95, while Stanford's Kate Dwelley picked up third in 2:13.84.
After throwing down a 2:22 to win the women's 200 breast earlier in the meet, Trojan's Rebecca Soni cruised to victory in 1:06.88 in the women's 100 breast this evening. She made it a habit to drop 1:05 times the bulk of last year. Texas A&M's Breeja Larson, who had her breakout meet in Austin during the 2011 NCAA Championships, finished second in 1:08.29. Canada's Jillian Tyler wound up third in 1:08.33.
Texas A&M's Cammile Adams added to what has already been an impressive meet with a strong time of 2:06.76 to win the women's 200 fly. She added that effort to her women's 400 IM victory from a night ago. Tonight's swim would have ranked 10th in the world last year, and would have been the top U.S. time in 2011 ahead of Kathleen Hersey's 10th-ranked 2:06.89 from Santa Clara. BSS's Jemma Lowe placed second in 2:07.39. Lowe ranked third last year with a 2:05.59. Canada's Mackenzie Downing clinched third in 2:10.04.
Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers topped the men's 100 back in 53.55. That effort was within striking distance of his best time last year, a sixth-ranked 53.14 from U.S. Summer Nationals. Minnetonka's David Plummer earned second-place honors in 54.02, while NBAC's Michael Phelps took third in 54.09. Ryan Lochte, under heavy in-season training as usual, finished sixth in 56.47.
FAST's Michael Klueh posted a commanding victory in the men's 1500 free with a 15:25.33. Peter Vanderkaay claimed second in 15:39.43, while BSS's Thomas Allen checked in third with a 15:42.33.
Sebastien Rousseau touched out California's David Russell, 2:00.83 to 2:00.98, for the men's 200 fly title. Canada's Stefan Hirniak placed third overall in 2:01.09. Auburn's Mark Gangloff held off a strong field with a winning time of 1:01.08 in the men's 100 breast. Redlands' Valerii Dymo (1:01.25) and Trojan's Eric Shanteau (1:01.54) placed second and third. Notably, NBAC's Michael Phelps demonstrated some range with a B final win of 1:02.67.
Phelps completed a medley sweep for the weekend with a 1:58.52 in the men's 200 IM after capturing the men's 400 IM last night. Lochte placed second in 2:00.30, while Florida's Conor Dwyer turned in a third-place 2:01.59.