Monday, January 18, 2010

USA Swimming Grand Prix, Long Beach: Ariana Kukors, Dana Vollmer, Michael Phelps Qualify for Three Finals

The final day of swimming qualifying in Long Beach is over. Today features the 100s of stroke, 200 IM, and 1650 free. Many swimmers are pulling triples today, such as Ariana Kukors and Michael Phelps. Expect tonight's finals session to be the most exciting yet.

Women's 100 Fly

Cal Aquatics' Dana Vollmer, already a double winner in Long Beach, led the way into the finals with a time of 52.32. Vollmer finished a second clear of North Baltimore's Felicia Lee, who took second in 53.36. FAST's Katie Hoff was third in 54.69, just ahead of North Baltimore's Elizabeth Pelton (54.84) and FAST's Ariana Kukors (54.86). Trojan's Jessica Hardy (55.03) and RTLR's Meghan Hawthorne (55.22) will be in the A-final as well, while Lodi's Mary Griffith and Monrovia's Kylie Garcia will have to swim-off for the final spot in the final, as both clocked 55.58.

Garcia won a very tight swim-off, clocking a 55.06, while Griffith came in at 55.09.

Men's 100 Fly

Japanese swimmers went 1-3 in the prelims, as Trojan's Hidemasa Sano swam a 47.37 and Tucson Ford's Masayuki Kishida clocked 47.90. Spliting the difference was Cal Aquatics' Will Copeland (47.86), while North Baltimore's Michael Phelps clocked 48.09 for fourth. Phelps should swim somewhere in the 45-range in the finals. The remainder of the final field will consist of North Baltimore's Todd Patrick (48.11), Trojan's Eddie Erazo (48.69), Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers (48.81), and North Baltimore's Ellis Miller (49.38).

Women's 100 Back

North Baltimore's Felicia Lee backed up from the 100 fly to lead prelims of the 100 back, clocking a 54.90 to claim lane four for the finals. On either side of her will be West Coast's Cindy Tran (55.22) and FAST's Margaret Hoelzer, the Olympic bronze medalist, who clocked 55.58. Dana Vollmer advanced to another A-Final, taking fourth in 55.77, ahead of Mission Viejo's Melanie Klaren (56.11), North Coast's Nicole Parmenter (56.14), WEST's Heidi Vanderwel (56.63), and North Coast's Kendyl Stewart (56.68).

Men's 100 Back

Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers was back in the pool to pace the prelims of his signature event, the 100 back. The 2008 Olympic silver medalist clocked a 47.42 to lead the field by a half second. In second was the 2004 silver medalist, Trojan's Markus Rogan, who checked in at 48.00. Swim Torrance's Vladimir Morozov (48.05) and Cal Aquatic's David Russell (48.13), claimed third and fourth, ahead of North Baltimore swimmers Ben Hesen (48.15) and Michael Phelps (48.37). Trojan's Eddie Erazo (48.49) and UCB's Jihuen Kim (48.50) round out the field.

Women's 100 Breast

Trojan Swim Club teammates Jessica Hardy and Rebecca Soni have done battle in this event many times over the last several months, and a good duel could be brewing for tonight. Hardy led Soni in the prelims, 1:01.25 to 1:01.87, but no one was close to these two. Next best was RTLR's Andrea Kropp, third in the 200 breast last night, in 1:03.40. Cal Poly's Angie Haven (1:03.45), Waves' Melissa Bates (1:03.72), FAST's Ariana Kukors (1:03.80), North Baltimore's Elizabeth Pelton (1:04.56), and Trojan's Katy Houston (1:04.66) will also swim in the A-final tonight. Notably, FAST's Caroline Burckle finished 11th (1:05.08), while North Baltimore's Felicia Lee missed advancing to her third A-final, touching 15th in 1:05.78.

Men's 100 Breast

Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima led the way into the finals of the 100 breast with a time of 53.42. Kitajima, representing Coca-Cola Swim Club and Trojan, will be looking to add to his win in the 200 breast last night when he faces off with American record-holder Mike Alexandrov of Tucson Ford, who clocked 53.60 for second. These two finished a second clear of the rest of the pack, led by Canadian Paul Kornfeld (54.84), who touched third ahead of Riverside's Bryan Haile (55.19) and Monterrey's David Mercado (55.55). Multnomah's Eetu Karvonen was sixth in 55.88, ahead of North Baltimore's Michael Phelps, who clocked 56.17 to make his third A-final of the day. Trojan's Markus Rogan rounded out the field with a 56.93.

Women's 200 IM

FAST's Katie Hoff clocked the only sub-2:00 time to lead the way in the 200 IM. Her time of 1:59.71 put her about a second in front of Cal Aquatics' Dana Vollmer, who clocked 2:00.40. FAST's Ariana Kukors, the world champion, took third in 2:01.65, setting up a great race in the finals between the top three. RTLR's Meghan Hawthorne took fourth (2:02.78), ahead of Cal Poly's Angie Haven (2:03.81), TCC's Noelle Tarazona (2:03.99), and RTLR's Andrea Kropp (2:04.43). Rounding out the field was 100 breast world champion Rebecca Soni, representing Trojan, who clocked 2:04.96 to make her second A-final of the day.

Men's 200 IM

Trojan's Hidemasa Sano finished second in the 400 IM last night, but he won't as Michael Phelps to deal with in this one. Sano clocked the number one qualifying time, 1:49.71, just ahead of Club Wolverine's Alex Vanderkaay, who touched in 1:49.80. Cal Poly's Peter Kline was third (1:50.97), while Trojan's Markus Rogan, who recently swam just off the short course meters world record in this event, took fourth (1:51.24). This was Rogan's third A-final qualifying swim in the session, while it was fifth-place Paul Kornfeld's second, as he finished fifth in 1:51.74. Other finals swimmers will be FAST's Robert Margalis (1:51.99), Cal Aquatics' Bennett Clark (1:52.57), and Trojan's Sebastian Stoss (1:52.83).

Finals are scheduled to begin at 4pm pacific (7pm eastern). Until then, timed final heats of the 1650 (fastest to slowest, alternating men and women) are being swum. Note that the meet is currently behind its already-tight timeline due to multiple power outages and weather issues in Long Beach.


  1. Phelps is the most dominant athlete of the last 20 years. Swimming doesnt get the publicity of the major U.S. sports, but that doesnt make it any less impressive.