Arena Grand Prix, Charlotte: Connor Jaeger Completes Distance Sweep

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, May 12. THE final day of the Arena Grand Prix in Charlotte is complete as plenty of scorching times went up on the scoreboard to close out the Charlotte UltraSwim.

Women's 800 free
It took a powerfully timed surge in the final 15 meters, but Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton negative split her swim by three seconds to hold off a game Andreina Pinto for Sutton's second win of the meet.

Sutton out in 4:14, came home in 4:11 to turn in a sterling time of 8:25.88. That swim is only a second-and-change off of her lifetime best of 8:24.05 from the 2011 World Championships, and gave her a fourth check as she finished the meet with two wins and two silvers. Sutton moved into the top 10 in the world with her swim.

Gator's Andreina Pinto nearly pulled off the victory, pushing the pace a bit earlier than Sutton might have originally planned, but could not hold off a superior charge by Sutton down the stretch. Pinto still managed to clock an 8:25.93 to also jump into the top 10 in the world in the distance freestyle event. The time is a lifetime best for Pinto, beating her 8:26.43 from the 2012 London Olympics , setting a South American standard in the process.

Chile's Kristel Kobrich wrapped up the podium with a third-place time of 8:31.77 with JCC's Leah Smith clinching fourth in 8:34.34.

NBAC's Gillian Ryan (8:35.49), Ashley Steenvoorden (8:37.78), Alicia Mathieu (8:42.36) and Athens Bulldogs' Amber McDermott (8:46.91) rounded out the top eight in the timed final event.

Women's 200 IM
A key breaststroke split helped 16-year-old Kathleen Baker drop another two seconds off her lifetime best from prelims to earn a huge hometown ovation in front of her SwimMAC fans. Baker split the race 29.33, 34.41, 39.31, 31.41 to pull away for the victory in 2:14.46. That crushed her previous best time of 2:16.59 set during prelims, and is just her third time under 2:17 as Baker focused on the championship season this summer.

NBAC's Annie Zhu turned in her second-fastest time ever with a 2:15.00. She nearly claimed her lifetime best of 2:14.79 set at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials last year, which can only bode well for the upcoming summer as Zhu looks to maintain the NBAC tradition of Worlds participants.

BlueFish's Brooke Zeiger took down her own lifetime best with a sizzling third-place time of 2:15.40. That swim cleared her previous top time of 2:16.14 from the 2012 U.S. Open Championships last August.

Athens Bulldogs' Shannon Vreeland (2:16.19), North Carolina's Cari Blalock (2:16.37), Katie Meili (2:16.50), Louisville's Tanja Kylliainen (2:16.81) and Michigan's Marni Oldershaw (2:17.55) comprised the rest of the championship heat. Cammile Adams topped the B final in 2:17.49.

Men's 200 IM
NBAC's Chase Kalisz completed a medley sweep with a near lifetime best in the finale as he followed a similar strategy as Kathleen Baker did the previous finale — smoke the rest of the field in the breaststroke. Kalisz split the race 25.97, 31.48, 33.60, 28.61 en route to a 1:59.66. That performance ties for his second-best swim ever, matching his top time at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. His best time ever is a 1:59.51 from the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. He has now cleared 2:00 on four separate occasions.

Meanwhile, Bolles' Joseph Schooling obliterated his lifetime best in the event of 2:03.26 from prelims, which also stood as a Singapore national mark for a few hours. This evening, Schooling crushed the event with a sterling time of 2:00.77.

Olympic star Ryan Lochte finally grabbed himself a podium spot for the first time this week with a 2:01.56 for third-place honors. He's definitely still getting back into form after focusing on his reality television show What Would Ryan Lochte Do? that airs on E! on Sunday nights.

NCAP's Andrew Seliskar (2:02.90), Michigan's Kyle Whitaker (2:03.16), Lake Forest's Conor Dwyer (2:04.26), GMSC's Ryan Harty (2:05.09) and Indiana's Stephen Schmuhl (2:06.26) finished fourth through eighth in the finale. Trojan's Mike Alexandrov took home the B final title with a time of 2:04.48.

Women's 200 back
Greenwood Memorial's Kaitlin Harty said “I have no idea” where her winning swim came from and that she guesses that she'll “just have to go faster” after crushing her lifetime best by four seconds with a 2:10.38 to win the distance dorsal. It has to be amazing being a 15-year-old backstroke prodigy on the upturn heading into Barcelona. That swim just missed cracking the top 10 in the world, currently anchored by Elizabeth Simmonds with a 2:10.25 from the British International meet earlier this year. Harty's previous top time had been a 2:14.27 from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Athens Bulldogs' Megan Romano checked in with a second-place time of 2:11.37, her best in-season swim and second-best effort ever. Her lifetime best is a scorching 2:09.08 from the 2012 U.S. Open, while her previous second-best time was a 2:11.74 from the Longhorn Elite Invitational last year.

BlueFish's Broke Zeiger, an ascendant swimmer out of Chuck Batchelor's club, took third in 2:11.59. While it wasn't a four-second drop like Harty, she still managed to smash three seconds off her lifetime best of 2:14.49 from the CeraVe Invitational that appeared live on SwimmingWorld.TV earlier this year.

Canada's Annie Harrison (2:13.34), SAST's Vien Nguyen (2:14.86), Elizabeth Beisel (2:17.62), Colombia's Isabella Arcila (2:17.70) and Michigan's Yin Yan Lau (2:17.71) also vied for the backstroke title. Michigan's Marni Oldershaw turned in a 2:15.63 to win the B final.

Men's 200 back
Andrew Teduits smoked a 1:59.59 lifetime best this morning during prelims before having to catch an early flight home. And, that time managed to stand as the fastest of the day. Unfortunately for Teduits, it wasn't a timed final, which allowed Bolles' Ryan Murphy to capture the overall victory in 1:59.93.

Murphy's age-group rival Jack Conger managed to turn in a second-place time of 2:00.25, while Ryan Lochte picked up his second third-place finish of the night with a 2:00.80.

Ty Stewart (2:01.60), Louisville's Pedro Oliveira (2:01.70), Ohio State's Steven Zimmerman (2:01.75), BlueFish's Connor Green (2:04.24) and Luis Rojas (2:04.52) finished fourth through eighth in the championship heat. Michigan's Ryutaro Kamiya checked in with a 2:03.55 to win the B final in the event.

Women's 100 free
Georgia pulled off a big 1-2 in what proved to be a loaded finale. Megan Romano turned in a time of 55.24 just a few minutes after competing in the women's 200-meter backstroke. That's only a second off her best in-season swim of 54.16 from the 2012 Longhorn Elite Invitational.

Her Athens Bulldog teammate Shannon Vreeland turned in a swift second-place time of 55.39, also just missing her in-season best effort of 55.26 set on relay duty at the 2012 edition of this meet. That's a big time top-two sweep for Jack Bauerle's charges.

AGUA's Lia Neal, who was scratched into the championship heat with Jessica Hardy calling it a meet after this morning, snared third-place honors with a 55.57. Neal, a 2012 Olympian, is looking to find her groove heading into the championship season. Her time indicates she's on that path, just a second off her in-season best of 54.35 from this meet a year ago.

Dana Vollmer surprisingly fell to fourth with a 55.76 after going out in 26.43. SwimMAC's Madison Kennedy checked in fifth with a time of 56.26.

Tennessee's Faith Johnson (56.40), SMU's Nathalie Lindborg (56.79) and SwimAtlanta's Amanda Weir (56.92) also competed in the championship field. NBAC's Cierra Runge topped the B final in 56.76.

Men's 100 free
California's Anthony Ervin, 31, didn't mess around as he blazed to a body-length lead at the 50 with a sterling 22.93 split, and came home in 26.21 to sweep the sprint freestyles with a 49.14 this evening. That's nearly a top time for him this season, just off his blistering 49.08 from the Mediterranean International Meet in March. That's his second best in-season time now for the sprint rockstar.

Longhorn's Ricky Berens, a Charlotte native, clinched second with a time of 49.99 as he earned a surprising paycheck in the event. This morning, he turned in a swift 49.76 and is dabbling in the sprint events as the 200-meter freestyle specialist potentially looks at adding a new event to his repertoire.

Club Wolverine's Michael Klueh, who is definitely a most distance-focused swimmer, pulled off a surprise of his own with a third-place time of 50.35. Longhorn's Garrett Weber-Gale just missed the podium with a fourth-place time of 50.65.

Tucson Ford's Darian Townsend (50.83), Bolles' Mario Todorovic (50.92), SwimMAC's Cullen Jones (51.42) and SwimAtlanta's Karl Krug (51.73) completed the championship finale. Lake Forest's Conor Dwyer touched out Bolles' Caeleb Dressel, 51.03 to 51.04, for the B final win.

Men's 1500 free
The distance freestyles this evening proved to have some of the most exciting races of the night. Following a head-to-head battle between Chloe Sutton and Andreina Pinto, Michigan's Connor Jaeger held off a surging Michael McBroom of Texas for his third title this meet. Jaeger turned up the heat down the stretch to capture the title in 15:02.68, giving him a distance free sweep. That swim moved him to ninth in the world this year, ahead of Eric Hedlin's 15:03.64 from Canadian World Championship Trials.

McBroom, meanwhile, gave Jaeger nearly all he could handle, but faded just a bit down the final sprint to wind up second in 15:03.38. That jumped McBroom ahead of Hedlin as well for 10th in the world rankings in what proved to be a fun head-to-head contest.

Finland's Matias Koski finished in third well behind the top duo with a 15:20.22, while Trojan's Mateusz Sawrymowicz earned fourth in 15:27.42.

Auburn's Zane Grothe (15:52.61), Venezuela's Andy Arteta (15:51.10), Wilton Y's Ian Rainey (16:07.37) and Nova Scotia's Chris Reith (16:19.89) completed the top eight in the timed final event.