2018 SPEEDO GRAND CHALLENGE
After duelling for the 200 freestyle crown on night 1 of the 2018 Speedo Grand Challenge, California teammates Ryan Murphy and Andrew Seliskar each lowered a meet record at day 2 finals in Irvine. Murphy, who won that 200 free race on Friday, took down his own meet record in the 200 back, while Seliskar lowered the mark in the 100 fly.
Three of the six fastest men in the world this year went to battle in the 200 back, with Murphy taking on teammate Jacob Pebley and Japan’s Ryosuke Irie, who is currently training at Team Elite. Murphy led from the start, fending off a late charge from Irie to clock 1:55.70, breaking his 2015 meet record of 1:57.20. Irie closed like a freight train in 28.58, touching in 1:56.23, with Pebley back for 3rd in 1:57.68. Both Murphy and Irie were just off their season best times which rank them 3rd and 6th in the world, while Pebley sits 4th.
After his impressive 200 free on day 1, Seliskar continued his strong showing at the meet with his swim of 52.83 in the 100 fly. He knocked off Luis Martinez‘s 2017 meet record of 52.85 by .02, and missed his own best time by the same margin (52.81 from 2015). He was particularly strong on the back half, coming home in 27.72 to overtake teammates Tom Shields and Matthew Josa. Shields took 2nd in 53.41, with Long Gutierrez (53.58) 3rd and Josa (53.96) 4th.
Team Elite’s Kathleen Baker also took down a meet record in the women’s 200 back, touching in a quick 2:10.32 to surpass Elizabeth Pelton‘s 2:11.59 from 2015. Swimming her first long course 200 back of the year (excluding prelims), Baker becomes the 4th fastest American so far this season. Emma Schanz (2:14.63) edged Amy Bilquist by .01 for 2nd, while Katinka Hosszu ended up swimming the ‘B’ final, finishing 5th overall in 2:15.56.
The Hungarian did come out victorious on the night however, claiming the 400 IM decisively in 4:39.51 over Samantha Shelton (4:48.52) and Sarah Darcel (4:49.94). Hosszu moves to 18th in the world for the year.
The women’s 100 fly saw an exciting four-way battle, with Farida Osman blasting out to an early lead in 27.18 before Hellen Moffitt, Louise Hansson and Katie McLaughlin attacked coming back. McLaughlin came home the quickest, but it was Moffitt who got her hand on the wall first in 58.78, just a few hundredths ahead of Hansson (58.82). McLaughlin was 3rd in 59.02, while Osman faded back to 4th in 59.38. McLaughlin’s swim makes her the 7th fastest American this year (Moffitt is currently 4th with her 58.59).
McLaughlin had a win of her own, taking the 200 free in 1:59.08 to become the 6th fastest American this year. 13-year-old Claire Tuggle (2:00.69) edged out Hansson (2:00.81) for 2nd, posting her third fastest swim ever.
International swimmers Vlad Morozov and Jacob Heidtmann each picked up a win as well, with Morozov taking the 50 free and Heidtmann the 400 IM. Morozov, currently ranked 3rd in the world with his 21.47, swam 21.98 to top Cal’s Michael Jensen (22.61). 37-year-old Anthony Ervin was also in the mix, ultimately placing 16th in 24.13 after a 23.85 prelim. Heidtmann (4:20.76) used a strong freestyle to get by Cal teammates Michael Thomas (4:21.15) and Trenton Julian (4:22.17), both of whom registered best times.
In the final event of the night, open water ace Jordan Wilimovsky pulled away from Cal’s Nick Norman on the back half of the 400 free to win in 3:51.48, just a second off his lifetime best. He is now the 2nd fastest American this year behind only Zane Grothe, as he takes down his season best by three full seconds. Norman, who brought his PB down this morning in 3:55.05, got it down a bit more for 2nd place in 3:54.93.
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