INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 5. THE USA Swimming Grand Prix in Indianapolis came to a close with North Baltimore's Michael Phelps finishing a five-for-five effort with two more triumphant times. The meet took place at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI in long course meter format.
In an exciting head-to-head battle between Phelps and Daytona Beach's Ryan Lochte, Phelps crushed Lochte in the men's 200 IM with a sterling time of 1:56.88. That swim demolished Lochte's previous top-ranked time of 1:59.26 and closed to within two seconds of Lochte's world record (1:54.10) and Lochte's textile best (1:54.43). Lochte, meanwhile, settled for second in the high profile swim with a 1:59.19 to better his season best. Trojan's Markus Rogan wound up third overall in 2:00.08.
Phelps followed that up with a triumphant swim in the men's 100 free, clocking a 48.89. That is the first swim under 49 seconds this year, besting the previous world pacesetter of 49.00 posted by Yannick Agnel. Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers took second in 50.01, while Rose Bowl's Jason Lezak claimed third in 50.08.
Phelps finished his meet with a five-for-five-for-five performance. Five events, five wins, five world bests. After a less-than-dominant 2010, Phelps has definitely begun to look like he's on his way back to his usual self with the 2012 London Olympics in his crosshairs.
Lochte returned for the second of his three swims tonight with a winning effort of 1:57.63 from lane eight to move into second in the world behind Tyler Clary's 1:57.31 from the Austin Grand Prix. Swim Ontario's Matt Hawes claimed second-place honors in 1:58.85, while SwimMAC's Nick Thoman snagged third in 1:59.66. Lochte finished his night with a 12th-place effort of 50.78 in the 100 free.
Thoman returned in the men's 400 medley relay to leadoff SwimMAC's relay with a 53.93 100-meter back time. That swim would have won the 100 back last night, and moved him to third in the world rankings.
Canada's Erica Morningstar led the way in the women's 200 IM with a 2:12.59. That performance cleared the top-ranked time in the world of 2:12.79 set by Stephanie Rice in Sydney last month. Julia Smit touched second in 2:14.11, while Delaware's Kaitlyn Jones, 16, finished third in 2:16.32.
Colorado Stars' Missy Franklin, 15, crushed the competition in the women's 200 back with a winning time of 2:07.96. She cleared her lifetime best of 2:08.05 set at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships, and just missed the top time in the world of 2:07.75 set by Belinda Hocking at the New South Wales Championships last month. Crow Canyon's Madison White placed a distant second in 2:12.49, while Swim Ontario's Brittany MacLean earned third-place honors in 2:12.70.
California's Dana Vollmer scorched the women's 100 freestyle finale with a winning time of 54.36. That put her in the conversation with the top swimmers in the world, as Femke Heemskerk currently owns the top effort this year with a 54.12. Trojan's Jessica Hardy picked up second in 54.70, while Canada's Victoria Poon placed third in 54.88. Franklin grabbed fourth in 54.93, just missing the U.S. National Age Group record of 54.91 owned by Lia Neal in the 15-16 age division.
In distance events, 2010 Grand Prix circuit winner Chloe Sutton of Mission Viejo snatched the women's 800 free title in 8:29.20 to become one of just a handful of swimmers under 8:30 this year, while FAST's Kate Ziegler joined her under 8:30 with a second-place 8:29.84. FAST's Katie Hoff snagged third-place honors with an 8:33.24.
Trojan's Ous Mellouli topped the men's 1500 free in 15:04.16, short of his top-ranked time of 15:01.65 from the Missouri Grand Prix. Chip Peterson (15:15.25) and Michael Klueh (15:18.46) rounded out the top three.