USA Swimming Winter Nationals: Nathan Adrian, Alia Atkinson With Strong Swims in Morning

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, December 7. THE final day of prelimins is complete at the USA Swimming Winter Nationals with plenty of strong times going up on the scoreboard.

Women’s 200 back
American-record holder Elizabeth Pelton will be battling long course world record holder and teammate Missy Franklin in the finale as the two California teammates went 1-2 in the distance dorsal this morning. Pelton threw down a 1:51.75 in the morning, which is a fairly consistent time for Pelton as she was in the 1:48s around this time of the year last year.

Franklin had a bit more conservative of a swim with a 1:53.27, but could be looking to topple her teammate in her signature 200 back event later this evening. There’s little doubt the pair will challenge Franklin’s meet record of 1:49.18 from last year.

Indiana’s Brooklyn Snodgrass put in a swift 1:53.34 to qualify third, while Cal’s Melanie Klaren wound up fourth in 1:54.06.

Indiana’s Cynthia Pammett (1:55.98), California’s Stephanie Au (1:56.39) and California’s Sophie Batchelor (1:56.59) rounded out the top seven. Meanwhile, IU’s Allie Day and NCAP’s Janet Hu set up a swimoff with matching 1:56.60s for eighth overall.

It’s stunning how top-heavy the California versus Indiana finale looks to be, with both teams demonstrating some ridiculous depth in the longer distance backstroke event. Teri McKeever has a lot stronger top-end talent pool in the event, but IU’s Ray Looze has definitely been putting in time recruiting the next tier of backstroke talent.

Men’s 200 back
California’s Ryan Murphy will be looking to take a shot at his 17-18 U.S. National Age Group record this evening after clearly qualifying ahead of the pack this morning in the distance dorsal.

Murphy put up a time of 1:41.52, and could be looking at a sub-1:38 this evening to take down his own record of 1:38.15 from last year. There’s a definitely chance for the Golden Bear to make a serious run at that mark.

Louisville’s Aaron Greene was feeling it this morning as he cracked 1:43 for the first time and beat Russian Olympian Arkady Vyatchanin to the wall in his heat. Greene posted a 1:42.21, crushing his lifetime best of 1:43.74 from last year’s Winter Junior Nationals.

Indiana’s Eric Ress clinched third-place honors this morning with a 1:42.76, while Utah’s Kristian Kron took fourth in 1:42.82.

Vyatchanin put in an easy speed 1:42.90 to qualify fifth, while Queens University of Charlotte’s Matt Josa cut his personal best by two seconds with a 1:43.03 to qualify sixth. With that swim, Josa broke the NCAA Division II record of 1:43.41 set by Florida Southern’s Jeff Halfacre in 2012.

Louisville’s Grigory Tarasevich (1:43.29) and California’s Jacob Pebley (1:43.40) comprised the rest of what should be an exciting finale.

Women’s 100 free
All three records could be in trouble tonight if the top-level sprinters can drop a second from their strong morning swims.

California’s Natalie Coughlin, one of the best swimmers of all time, qualified first in 47.58. That could put her in line to take a run at her American record of 46.84 from 2011 and her meet record of 46.85 from 2007. She also might be able to try Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace’s astonishing U.S. Open record of 46.61 from 2012.

SwimAtlanta’s Amanda Weir, who is always in the discussion at nationals in the women’s sprint events, took second in 47.68., while Vanderpool-Wallace, swimming for SwimMAC, put up a 48.08 to qualify third.

California’s Missy Franklin, who is swimming a much more NCAA-specific event schedule this week, qualified fourth in 48.19, while NCAP’s Janet Hu, 17, qualified fifth in 48.34. Hu could have Franklin’s 17-18 U.S. National Age Group record of 47.28 in her sights this evening if she has enough left in her tank.

Utah’s Traycie Swartz (48.47), Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell (48.53) and California’s Rachael Acker (48.57) also made their way into what is a pretty solid championship heat in terms of star power.

Men’s 100 free
Although the backstrokes are certainly getting the bulk of the “wow, that’s a stacked field” responses, the men’s 100 free is filled with some strong stars as well.

California’s Nathan Adrian, who is celebrating his 25th birthday today, checked in with a 42.03 this morning to lead qualifying. He could have a chance to challenge his American record of 41.08 from 2009 depending on how this evening goes.

Adrian, along with NYAC’s Adam Brown’s 42.04 from this morning, definitely have a legitimate shot of rewriting Matt Grevers’ meet record of 41.35 from 2010 as Adrian and Brown will be battling throughout the entire swim.

NYAC’s Darian Townsend, already having an unbelievable meet thus far, qualified third in 42.41, while another NYAC representative in Josh Schneider took fourth overall in 42.49.

Louisville’s Joao De Lucca (42.51), Grevers (42.68), SwimAtlanta’s Karl Krug (42.69) and Utah’s Nicholas Soedel (42.79) also made their way into the top eight.

Women’s 200 breast
SoFlo’s Alia Atkinson, a Jamaican Olympian having a career fall, demolished her lifetime best in the longer distance breaststroke event with a 2:05.63. Her top time coming into today had been a 2:06.99 from the 2009 NCAA Division I Championships. Now, it’s looking like she will have a legitimate chance to take down Laura Sogar’s 2:05.04 meet record from 2012, and maybe even take a run at fellow Aggie Breeja Larson’s U.S. Open mark of 2:04.48. Atkinson, who had a strong FINA World Cup circuit this year, just continued on through the rest of the year with her big swims.

SwimMAC’s Micah Lawrence qualified a distant second in 2:10.59, while Indiana’s Bronwyn Pasloski took third overall in 2:10.74.

Utah’s Stina Colleou (2:11.21), California’s Marina Garcia Urzainqui (2:11.23), Michigan’s Angela Chokran (2:11.30), Minnesota’s Haley Spencer (2:11.66) and T2’s Justine Mueller (2:11.68) picked up the rest of the transfer spots into the big final.

Men’s 200 breast
NCAP’s Chuck Katis, who recently left Harvard and is now training with NCAP, put up the top time of the morning with a 1:55.26, just ahead of Louisville’s Addison Bray’s 1:55.27. The two will be vying for a national title this evening, but likely will lose some of their thunder depending on what times American record holder Kevin Cordes puts up over in Austin.

Tennessee’s Brad Craig took third in 1:55.74, while Michigan’s Richard Funk placed fourth in 1:55.91.

Louisville’s Kameron Chastain (1:56.38), California’s Josh Prenot (1:56.99), Trojan’s Mike Alexandrov (1:57.03) and Indiana’s Cody Miller (1:57.09) also earned spots in the finale, although it will be missing some of the luster that the Arizona Wildcats’ phenomenal breaststroke crew would have brought to this meet.

Women’s 200 fly
Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell had a barrier-breaking swim this morning as she clocked a lifetime best of 1:54.82 to lead the way this morning. That’s her first time under 1:55 as she nearly cut a second from her personal record of 1:55.71 from just last month. It’s been an amazing year for Worrell, as she previously topped out at 2:01.28 in 2011 and hadn’t had a breakthrough until last month. Now, she’s challenging for a national title.

California’s Rachel Bootsma turned in a second-seeded time of 1:56.68, and has more in her this evening as she’s also been in the 1:54s. Cal post-grad Caitlin Leverenz finished third in 1:56.87, and is usually known for her breaststroke and IM events, but could be in the mix for a national title in the distance fly event.

Indiana’s Brenna MacLean (1:56.97), Western Kentucky’s Claire Donahue (1:57.44), California’s Sophie Batchelor (1:57.73), Indiana’s Gia Dalesandro (1:57.97) and Schroeder’s Hannah Saiz (1:58.23) also earned spots in the finale.

Remedy Rule, however, had her disqualification overturned to move her into the top eight with a 1:57.69 for sixth overall, bumping Saiz into the B final.

Men’s 200 fly
Michigan’s Dylan Bosch led the way in prelims with a 1:43.04 or 1:42.95, depending on which set of results one believes. Bosch’s entire heat had a massive technical malfunction with times changing all over the place. Either way, Bosch is likely to put up a huge time this evening as he has several 1:41s to his credit in the past year. He might even make a push for Tom Shields’ meet record of 1:40.24 from last year.

Meanwhile, initial indications have the following at the rest of the top eight in the event, but we will update when times become official:

NCAP’s Andrew Seliskar (1:44.42), Arizona State’s Alex Coci (1:44.55), Cal’s Will Hamilton (1:44.66), Michigan’s Kyle Whitaker (1:45.27), Michigan’s John Wojciechowski (1:45.79), Cal’s Josh Prenot (1:45.97) and Michigan’s Peter Brumm (1:46.26).

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