Sunday, January 17, 2010

USA Swimming Grand Prix, Long Beach: Day 3 Prelims: Vladimir Morozov Blasts 50 Free

The second preliminary session is in the books in Long Beach. This day of swimming featured some swimmers in their best events, such as Olympic champions Rebecca Soni in the 200 breast and Michael Phelps in the 400 IM, while others such as Matt Grevers and Jessica Hardy experiment in off events, as both advanced to finals in the 200 free. Many swimmers had strong prelim swims to set them up for American record runs in the finals. The highlight of the morning, however, was 17-year old Vladimir Morozov's 19.68 50 free, which leads all qualifiers into finals.

Women's 200 Free

USC's Katinka Hosszu blazed through the 200 free prelims to earn the top seed for tonight's finals. Hosszu clocked a 1:45.73 to finish ahead of American Record-holder Dana Vollmer, representing Cal Aquatics, who finished in 1:47.47 to claim second. Vollmer will be one of many chasing her American and US Open mark of 1:41.53 tonight. Meanwhile, FAST's Katie Hoff claimed third in 1:47.59, ahead of the 1:47.93 turned in by Trojan's Jessica Hardy. Next was USC's Lyndsay De Paul, who finished in 1:48.35, followed by Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton (1:48.59), North Baltimore's Elizabeth Pelton (1:48.79), and USC's Presley Bard (1:48.91)

Men's 200 Free

Todd Patrick of North Baltimore edged Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers for the top seed in the 200 free, 1:38.40 to 1:38.52. Just behind them was Cal Aquatics' Will Copeland, who touched in 1:38.72, followed by Trojan's Dominik Meichtry (1:39.50) and FAST's Tamas Kerakjarto (1:39.69), who rounded out the sub-1:40 swims. Completing the final field will be Cal Poly's Peter Kline (1:40.06), Dayton Raiders' John Koehler (1:40.15), and Cal Poly's Chase Nick (1:40.49).

Women's 200 Breast

RTLR's Andrea Kropp finished as the top seed (2:11.94), ahead of Trojan's Rebecca Soni (2:12.27), who could challenge her American record of 2:04.75 tonight. The next best was Cal Poly's Angie Haven (2:14.96), who was just ahead of Trojan's Jessica Hardy, more of a sprint breaststroker, who came in an 2:15.07. FAST's Ariana Kukors posted a 2:15.42 for fifth, while German Sarah Poewe, representing Trojan, and USC's Lyndsay De Paul checked in at 2:15.83 and 2:16.55 for sixth and seventh, respectively. Both Genevive Bradford of Irvine Novaquatics and Kelsey Kafka of North Coast clocked 2:17.64, so they will have to swim-off to determine the final swimmer to advance.

Men's 200 Breast

Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima, representing the Coca Cola Swim Club and Trojan, led prelims in 1:56.36, leading the field by nearly six seconds. He could, however, get a strong challenge tonight from Short Course National champ Mike Alexandrov, who, while representing Tucson Ford, finished fourth in 2:03.51. The runner-up in prelims was Eetu Karvonen of Multnomah Athletic Club, who touched in 2:02.29, followed by David Mercado of Mountain, who checked in at 2:02.58. The rest of the field will be comprised of Cal Poly's Carter Richards (2:03.60), FAST's Robert Margalis (2:04.09), Cal Poly's Josh Cutts (2:04.94), and 2008 NCAA Champion Paul Kornfeld (2:05.24).

Women's 50 Free

The Cal Aquatics pair of Madison Kennedy and Dana Vollmer clocked 22.91 and 23.01, respectively, to lead the way into finals. Next in was USC's Presley Bard (23.35), ahead of West Coast's Cynthia Fascella (23.45) and FAST's Kara Lynn Joyce (23.47). Completing the field were North Baltimore's Elizabeth Pelton (23.61), Irvine Novaquatics' Dayae Choi (23.64), and West Coast's Cindy Tran (23.70).

Men's 50 Free

17-year old Vladimir Morozov of Swim Torrance clocked a blazing time of 19.68 to lead prelims. Tying for second were Cal Aquatics' Will Copeland and Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers, who both swam 20.02. Rose Bowl's Jason Lezak, twice Morozov's age, finished fourth 20.18, just ahead of Tucson Ford's Masayuki Kishida (20.24) and Cal Aquatics' Bennett Clark (20.25). Also qualifying for the final were RST's Joey Hale (20.52) and UCB's Jung Yang (20.57).

Women's 400 IM

Former world champion Katie Hoff led the way into the 400 IM final. Representing FAST, she touched in 4:12.70 to claim her second A-final spot for the evening session. Claiming the second spot was North Baltimore's Felicia Lee, who finished in 4:15.17, just ahead of FAST's Ariana Kukors' 4:15.58. Noelle Tarazona of TCC (4:18.03), Mission Aurora's Bonnie Brandon (4:18.93), and RTLR's Andrea Kropp (4:19.03) rounded out the sub-4:20s, while USC's Haley Anderson (4:21.01) and The Armada's Kirstie Chen (4:22.51) completed the final eight.

Men's 400 IM

North Baltimore's Michael Phelps clocked a solid 3:47.15 to lead the prelims of the 400 IM. The time is more than ten seconds off his personal best of 3:36.26 set in 2006, but he will be much closer to that mark tonight. Claiming lane five for the final was Trojan's Hidemasa Sano, who finished in 3:48.21. Sano will be Phelps' closest competition in the final. These two could chase Tyler Clary's American and US Open record of 3:35.98. Cal Poly's Peter Kline, who clocked 3:51.84, touched third, just ahead of Phelps' North Baltimore teammate Todd Patrick, who came in at 3:52.21. The rest of the final heat will be comprised of Club Wolverine's Alex Vanderkaay (3:54.07), Monterrey's Raul Lopez (3:55.61), FAST's Robert Margalis (3:55.91), and Monterrey's Miguel Castro (3:58.95).


All of the above was posted at Swimming World TV. Now I will share some of my thoughts headed into tonight's finals.

Women's 200 Free - Dana Vollmer will go really fast tonight. She could be gunning for her own American record (1:41.53). Katie Hoff doesn't have as much speed as Vollmer, but she will be in the mix the whole way.

Men's 200 Free - It will be very close, though I don't see anyone breaking 1:35. Grevers or Meichtry gets it done.

Women's 200 Breast - This will be all Rebecca Soni. She posted the second fastest time in history at Nationals, which was less than half a second off her American record. She could be close to that time tonight.

Men's 200 Breast - The greatest breaststroker in history destroyed everybody in prelims, but Kosuke Kitajima could have challenges tonight, especially from Mike Alexandrov, who beat Kitajima at short course Nationals.

Women's 50 Free - Madison Kennedy goes into the final as the top seed and favorite, but she has to deal with some tough competition, including her teammate Dana Vollmer and two-time Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce.

Men's 50 Free - Vladimir Morozov had quite a swim in the prelims, but can he beat out the grizzled veterans surrounding him, including one man twice his age, Jason Lezak.

Women's 400 IM - Ariana Kukors will be tough tonight, but I don't think she can match up with her training partner Katie Hoff. Hoff should be around 4:02-4:03 for the win.

Men's 400 IM - Michael Phelps wants the American record back, but first he's gotta get through Hidemasa Sano, who took the 200 fly last night. It should be a good one, and expect both men to be around 3:40.


Live commentary again tonight on . Make sure you check out the live results and live video beginning at 5pm pacific time (8pm eastern).

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