By David Rieder
LOS ANGELES, California, July 8. THE first evening of long course meter racing at the Los Angeles Grand Prix, previously the Janet Evans Invitational, featured prelims of the women's 800 free and men's 1500 free. FAST's Kate Ziegler and Trojan's Ous Mellouli led the way in their respective events.
Ziegler posted a meet-record time of 8:31.05 in the 800, beating Chloe Sutton's meet record of 8:31.29 set in 2009. Ziegler's time moves her into the 10th in the world, just ahead of France's Coralie Balmy (8:31.53), as well as the second-fastest American, just behind Sutton's 8:29.31 from April.
Sutton of Mission Viejo ended up second in prelims, posting an 8:41.11. However, Sutton posted on her Facebook page that she is "just swimming one race this weekend," so she may scratch the finale.
If so, the Terrapins' Chelsea Chenault would move into second, as she clocked a now-third place time of 8:44.57, while Piranha's Lynette Lim would place third at 8:45.77. The finale will take place at the start of Friday's evening session.
Sutton also noted on Twitter that she planned to swim with the field for 400 tonight, and then finish with descending 100s.
Trojan's Mellouli, meanwhile, battled Mission Viejo's Chad LaTourette in the first heat of the men's 1500. Mellouli, the Olympic and World champion in the event, led LaTourette by nearly a bodylength early in the race before the Stanford junior overtook him around the halfway point.
Just two one-hundredths of a second separated the pair with 100 meters to go, but Mellouli managed a narrow win in the heat by just one one-hundredth, 15:11.22 to 15:11.23. The pair moved ahead of Japan's Junpei Higashi to be ranked 11th and 12th in the world, respectively. Mellouli improved from 23rd in the world, while LaTourette maintained his 12th-place ranking.
Longhorn's Michael Klueh held off Trojan's Mateusz Sawrymowicz for the win in the third heat, as the two clocked the third and fourth-best times, respectively. Klueh touched at 15:20.47, which ranked him 24th in the world, while Sawrymowicz, the 2007 world champion in the event from Poland, ended up with a 26th-ranked 15:21.49. Island's Ryan Cochrane, the Canadian Olympic bronze medalist, will also swim in Saturday night's finale, after clocking a fifth-place 15:26.36 in prelims.
Swimming World high school intern David "The Swim Geek" Rieder is a high school swimmer in Charleston, S.C. He swims for the Southern Marlins Racing Team and often negative splits his races. He can be found on the web at swimdr549.blogspot.com and twitter.com/david2swim.