INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 4. THE second evening of long course meter action at the USA Swimming Grand Prix held at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI featured some significant swims. Several top-ranked times went into the world charts, while a few U.S. National Age Group records took a tumble.
North Baltimore's Michael Phelps picked up his third world best in as many tries this weekend with a sterling time of 1:55.34 in the men's 200 fly. That effort far surpassed the previous pacesetter of 1:56.89 clocked by Kazuya Kaneda last month, and clipped the 1:55.85 Brazil's Kaio Almeida turned in tonight to push Phelps to the limit. Club Wolverien's Wu Peng rounded out the podium with a 1:57.86.
2011 Grand Prix circuit leader Missy Franklin, 15, dropped one of the most impressive swims of the meet with a strong 59.56 in the women's 100 back. That time bettered her previous world best of 59.75 set at the Austin Grand Prix, as Franklin is one of just two women under 1:00 this year (Aya Terakawa; 59.91). Franklin's 59.75 had stood as the U.S. National Age Group record heading into the meet, and her time this evening lowered it even further. Brazil's Fabiola Molina placed second in 1:01.05, while Glenview Titan's Olivia Smoliga, 16, completed the top three in 1:01.56.
Daytona Beach's Ryan Lochte and Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers tied for the men's 100 back triumph with matching 54.08s. Those performances stand near the top of the world rankings, behind Camille Lacourt's 53.54. Minnetonka's David Plummer completed the top three with a 54.25. Notably, Bolles' Ryan Murphy, 15, finished seventh with a 55.56 to lower the U.S. National Age Group record in the event. Patrick Murphy and Jacob Pebley previously shared the record with 55.61s.
With a six-month suspension for a positive doping offense now in his past, California's Sean Mahoney clocked a 2:11.47 to win the men's 200 breast. That swim beat Eric Shanteau's previous world best of 2:12.12 set at the Austin Grand Prix. Shanteau finished second this evening in 2:12.08, bettering his previous season best. Meanwhile, Trojan's Kosuke Kitajima completed the top three with a 2:13.14.
2010 Grand Prix circuit winner Chloe Sutton of Mission Viejo raced to the top time in the world in the women's 400 free. She overtook FAST's Katie Hoff down the stretch, 4:06.04 to 4:06.42, for the victory. FAST's Kate Ziegler earned third overall with a 4:06.94 as all three swims beat the previous top time in the world of 4:07.10 set by Lotte Friis at the Flanders Cup in January.
Elaine Breeden raced to victory in the women's 200 fly with a top time of 2:08.60 to move to second in the early world rankings. Only Ellen Gandy has been swifter with a 2:05.90 from February. MacKenzie Downing now stands third with a 2:09.57 at the same meet as Gandy's top time. Canada's Audrey Lacroix touched second in 2:10.06, while Nittany Lion's Kelly Nelson completed the top three in 2:14.46.
California's Dana Vollmer and Trojan's Jessica Hardy put on a show in the women's 50 free as Vollmer won by the slimmest of margins, 25.09 to 25.10. The times put the swimmers third and fourth in the world rankings. Meanwhile, Franklin, 15, of the Colorado Stars pushed her U.S. National Age Group record for 15-16 year olds faster with a third-place 25.26. That swim beat her previous NAG of 25.46 set last year.
2008 U.S. Olympic hero Jason Lezak, 35, demonstrated a continual ability to perform even later in life with a 22.59 for the men's 50 free victory. SwimMAC's Josh Schneider and California's William Copeland tied for second-place honors with matching 22.65s.
Trojan's Ous Mellouli captured the men's 400 free title in 3:48.23, well short of his top-ranked time of 3:46.64 set at the Missouri Grand Prix. FAST's Michael Klueh took second with a time of 3:51.82, while Trojan's Dominik Meichtry wound up third in 3:53.30.
Pointe-Claire's Ashley McGregor snared the women's 200 breast title in 2:30.96, while Center Grove's Emma Schoettmer touched second in 2:31.40. SMU's Raminta Dvariskyte completed the podium with a third-place 2:32.10.