AUSTIN, Texas, January 19. IF not for crushing the field on the final wall, NBAC’s Allison Schmitt may well have watched NCAP’s Katie Ledecky swim right past her in the 200 free final at the Arena Grand Prix in Austin. Schmitt, however, did just enough to hold off the hard-charging Olympic champion with a 1:57.71 to 1:57.76 triumph.
Schmitt is getting back in her groove after missing last summer’s National Team trips for Team USA after being one of the most valuable swimmers of the 2012 London Olympics squad. Schmitt has way more in the tank, considering her in-season best is a 1:55.82 from the 2011 Minneapolis Grand Prix, but she’ll take a touchout triumph ahead of Ledecky right now.
Ledecky finished just a second off her in-season best of 1:56.93 from the Mesa stop of the Arena Grand Prix with the fourth-best time she’s ever posted in this event. She announced herself to the world as a dangerous 200 freestyler with a sterling 1:56.32 relay leadoff for Team USA at last year’s Worlds, and could start considering the event individually.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Ledecky coming down from a distance base, First Colony sprinter Simone Manuel took third in 1:59.33. That’s a personal best, beating the 1:59.83 she set at least summer’s nationals.
SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker (2:00.61), IX3’s Chloe Sutton (2:01.66), SMU’s Nina Rangelova (2:01.72), Longhorn’s Quinn Carrozza (2:01.78) and NBAC’s Lotte Friis (2:02.05) comprised the rest of a loaded championship field.
Canada’s Savannah King dominated the B final in the 200 free this evening as she tracked down a time of 2:02.08, dropping more than a second from her preliminary swim. Maria Fernanda Richaud Leyva placed second in 2:03.56.