PHOENIX, Arizona, February 15. THE second day of prelims at the Arena Grand Prix in Orlando, Florida, was just like yesterday's prelims, with Olympians providing the big moments in the pool. But the biggest story of the day is not what's going on in the pool, but Ryan Lochte's entourage from the E! television network, there to film Lochte for his upcoming reality TV show. Lochte has been followed by a camera crew consistently for the past few weeks as he travels around the country for obligations to sponsors. His reality show hits the airwaves in April.
In the pool, a couple of swimmers from West Virginia University posted the quickest times in a couple of events. Bryce Bohman, a senior at West Virginia, dropped a second off his lifetime best in the 100 back, posting a 55.56 tonight. He'll have Ryan Murphy, Robert Hurley, Tyler Clary and Ryan Lochte to deal with in the final. Tim Squires, a junior at West Virginia, is top seed in the 50 free with a 23.09, missing his lifetime best by one hundredth of a second. He'll be sandwiched between Olympic finalist Anthony Ervin and Olympic Trials finalist Josh Schneider.
Alec Page had one of the best prelim sessions today, earning the top seed in the 200 fly and posting the third-fastest time in the 400 free. Page trains in the Vancouver area with Olympian Ryan Cochrane, who has to be viewed as a favorite to win the 400 tonight. Becca Mann was five seconds ahead of the field today in the 400 free prelims, and could dominate tonight just as she did last night in the 400 IM.
Missy Franklin will swim in the finals of the 50 free, then almost immediately into the 100 back. Franklin, as we know, handles these doubles well, and we'll see if she can post a sub-1:00 time in finals.
We'll have full coverage of finals beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern on swimmingworld.com.
This morning, Brazilian blogger Alex Pussieldi reported that Cesar Cielo was officially returning to Auburn University after the postgraduate team he founded in Brazil crumbled in the wake of lack of support. Cielo will be working once again with Brett Hawke, who guided Cielo to gold in the 50 free in the Beijing Olympics.
We'll close out today's show with a funny video from the Rocky Mountain Athletic conference's swim meet last night in Grand Junction, Colorado. Michael Branning, a junior at Grand Canyon University, paraded out for the final of the 50 freestyle in a bunny suit. Apparently the costume had a very positive effect on his performance, as he won the race with a 19.55, the only swim under 20 seconds at the meet. It's a lifetime best for Branning, and puts him within two tenths of the NCAA Division II record of 19.39.