The top swimmers in the United States descend upon William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, California, this week for the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships.
Led by 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps as he surges forward with his comeback, along with other major names such as Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin, the event is one casual and hardcore fans alike will want to catch as the U.S. preps for future international competition.
Irvine is a proving ground in the utmost sense, as the proceedings will help to round out the rosters for both the Pan Pacific Championships later this month and the USA National Team for the world championships next year.
Below, let's take a look at the schedule of the event and keep track of the most recent results as the heats unfold.
|August 6||9 p.m. - 11 p.m. (Live)||Universal Sports|
|August 9||4 p.m. - 6 p.m. (Taped)||NBC|
|August 10||4 p.m. - 6 p.m. (Taped)||NBC|
|August 10||11 p.m. - 12 a.m. (Taped)||NBCSN|
Note: Full schedule can be found at USASwimming.org
Day 1 Results
|Women's Butterfly 200m||Cammile Adams (2:08.06)||Hali Flickinger (2:09.31)||Katie McLaughlin (2:09.49)|
|Men's Butterfly 200m||Tyler Clary (1:56.11)||Chase Kalisz (1:56.76)||Kyle Whitaker (1:56.80)|
|Women's Freestyle 100m||Simone Manuel (53.60)||Missy Franklin (53.76)||Margo Geer (54.17)|
|Men's Freestyle 100m||Nathan Adrian (48.24)||Anthony Ervin (48.71)||Michael Phelps (48.77)|
|Women's Freestyle 800m||Lindsay Vrooman (8:29.06)||Katy Campbell (8:30.46)||Leah Smith (8:30.86)|
|Men's Freestyle 1500m||Andrew Gemmell (15:07.82)||Janardan Burns (15:11.35)||Michael Klueh (15:11.37)|
|Women's Butterfly 200m||Cammile Adams (2:07.12)||Katie McLaughlin (2:08.74)||Hali Flickinger (2:08.77)|
|Men's Butterfly 200m||Tom Shields (1:55.09)||Tyler Clary (1:56.00)||Chase Kalisz (1:56.50)|
|Women's Freestyle 100m||Missy Franklin (53.43)||Simone Manuel (53.66)||Shannon Vreeland (54.14)|
|Men's Freestyle 100m||Nathan Adrian (48.31)||Ryan Lochte (48.96)||Jimmy Feigen (48.98)|
|Women's Freestyle 800m||Katie Ledecky (8:18.47)||Cierra Runge (8:24.69)||Becca Mann (8:26.64)|
|Men's Freestyle 1500m||Connor Jaeger (14:51.06)||Michael McBroom (14:56.17)||Jordan Wilimovsky (14:56.34)|
|Women's Freestyle 4x100m||Swimmac Carolina A (3:44.31)||California Aquatics A (3:44.32)||Wisconsin Aquatics A (3:46.02)|
|Men's Freestyle 4x100m||Swimmac Carolina A (3:21.31)||Stanford Swimming A (3:21.38)||Ohio State University A (3:21.97)|
Day 2 Results
|Women's Butterfly 50m||Kendyl Stewart 25.99||Claire Donahue 26.11||Kelsi Worrell 26.35|
|Men's Butterfly 50m||Matt Grevers 23.50||Tim Phillips 23.58||Connor Black 23.64|
|Women's Freestyle 200m||Katie Ledecky 1:55.16||Missy Franklin 1:56.40||Leah Smith 1:57.57|
|Men's Freestyle 200m||Matt McLean 1:46.93||Conor Dwyer 1:47.35||Reed Malone 1:47.41|
|Women's Backstroke 200m||Elizabeth Beisel 2:09.65||Missy Franklin 2:09.81||Courtney Bartholomew 2:10.63|
|Men's Backstroke 200m||Tyler Clary 1:56.97||Ryan Murphy 1:57.79||Connor Green 1:58.27|
|Men's Freestyle 4x200m||North Baltimore Aquatic Club A 7:24.49||Wisconsin Aquatics A 7:24.99||Stanford Swimming A 7:28.01|
|Women's Breaststroke 200m||Micah Lawrence 2:23.05||Breeja Larson 2:24.16||Melanie Margalis 2:25.27|
|Men's Breaststroke 200m||Kevin Cordes 2:09.48||Nicolas Fink 2:09.62||Josh Prenot 2:10.43|
Day 3 Results
|Women's Medley 400m||Elizabeth Beisel 4:36.46||Maya Dirado 4:39.79||Melanie Margalis 4:41.10|
|Men's Medley 400m||Tyler Clary 4:12.51||Chase Kalisz 4:13.33||Michael Weiss 4:16.17|
|Women's Butterfly 100m||Claire Donahue 58.25||Felicia Lee 58.44||Kendyl Stewart 58.86|
|Men's Butterfly 100m||Michael Phelps 51.17||Tim Phillips 51.49||Tom Shields 51.55|
|Women's Breaststroke 50m||Jessica Hardy 30.21||Breeja Larson 30.58||Katie Meili 31.01|
|Men's Breaststroke 50m||Brendan McHugh 27.10||Kevin Cordes 27.39||Zach Hayden 27.50|
|Women's Backstroke 50m||Rachel Bootsma 28.46||Olivia Smoliga 28.50||Ali Deloof 28.53|
|Men's Backstroke 50m||David Plummer 24.74||Matt Grevers 24.90||Shane Ryan 24.99|
|Women's Medley 400m||Elizabeth Beisel 4:32.98||Maya Dirado 4:35.75||Melanie Margalis 4:37.84|
|Men's Medley 400m||Tyler Clary 4:09.51||Chase Kalisz 4:11.52||Josh Prenot 4:14.85|
|Women's Butterfly 100m||Kendyl Stewart 57.98||Claire Donahue 58.03||Felicia Lee 58.14|
|Men's Butterfly 100m||Tom Shields 51.29||Michael Phelps 51.30||Tim Phillips 51.54|
|Women's Breaststroke 50m||Jessica Hardy 30.12||Breeja Larson 30.64||Katie Meili 31.00|
|Men's Breaststroke 50m||Brendan McHugh 27.24||Kevin Cordes 27.33||Zach Hayden 27.69|
|Women's Backstroke 50m||Rachel Bootsma 28.35||Cheyenne Coffman 28.42||Olivia Smoglia 28.49|
|Men's Backstroke 50m||David Plummer 24.82||Nick Thoman 24.91||Shane Ryan 24.97|
|Women's Freestyle 4x200m||NBACMD 8:01.75||CAL-PC 8:07.74||MAC-NC 8:14.07|
Day 4 Results
|Women's Freestyle 400m||Katie Ledecky 3:59.89||Leah Smith 4:06.90||Cierra Runge 4:07.58|
|Men's Freestyle 400m||Matt McLean 3:49.32||Ryan Feeley 3:49.40||Connor Jaeger 3:49.63|
|Women's Backstroke 100m||Micah Lawrence 1:06.97||Jessica Hardy 1:07.23||Breeja Larson 1:07.39|
|Men's Breaststroke 100m||Kevin Cordes 59.83||Brendan McHugh 1:00.31||Cody Miller 1:00.71|
|Women's Backstroke 100m||Missy Franklin 1:00.38||Rachel Bootsma 1:00.96||Olivia Smoglia 1:01.04|
|Men's Backstroke 100m||Matt Grevers 53.11||David Plummer 53.12||Ryan Murphy 53.20|
|Women's Freestyle 400m||Katie Ledecky 3:58.86||Cierra Runge 4:04.67||Leah Smith 4:06.28|
|Men's Freestyle 400m||Michael McBroom 3:47.19||Matt McLean 3:47.30||Connor Jaeger 3:49.42|
|Women's Breaststroke 100m||Micah Lawrence 1:06.51||Jessica Hardy 1:06.51||Breeja Larson 1:06.73|
|Men's Breaststroke 100m||Cody Miller 59.91||Nicolas Fink 1:00.38||Kevin Cordes 1:00.63|
|Women's Backstroke 100m||Missy Franklin 59.38||Rachel Bootsma 1:00.71||Elizabeth Pelton 1:00.76|
|Men's Backstroke 100m||Matt Grevers 52.75||Ryan Murphy 53.21||Nick Thoman 53.46|
|Women's 4x100m Medley Relay||Longhorn Aquatics 4:07.73||U. of Missouri 4:09.07||Swimmac Carolina 4:09.29|
|Men's 4x100m Medley Relay||Swimmac Carolina 3:38.51||Tennessee Aquatics 3:39.03||Ohio State University 3:39.29|
Day 5 Results
|Women's Medley 200m||Caitlin Leverenz (2:11.61)||Melanie Margalis (2:11.70)||Meghan Small (2:12.28)|
|Men's Medley 200m||Conor Dwyer (1:57.41)||Tyler Clary (1:58.38)||Chase Kalisz (1:58.73)|
|Women's Freestyle 50m||Ivy Martin (24.62)||Simone Manuel (24.89)||Abbey Weitzeil (24.95)|
|Men's Freestyle 50m||Nathan Adrian (21.78)||Anthony Ervin (21.82)||Josh Schneider (22.00)|
|Women's Freestyle 1500m||Leah Smith (16:27.37)||Anina Lund (16:36.89)||Courtney Harnish (16:38.56)|
|Men's Freestyle 800m||Liam Egan (8:02.98)||Jacob Ores (8:03.22)||John Lewis (8:04.38)|
|Women's Freestyle 50m||Kaitlyn Albertoli (25.88)||Linnea Mack (25.91)||N/A|
|Men's Freestyle 50m||Mark Weber (22.16)||Matt Grevers (22.22)||Caeleb Dressel (22.55)|
|Women's Freestyle 1500m||Katy Campbell (16:17.59)||Danielle Valley (16:19.83)||Lindsay Vrooman (16:22.83)|
|Women's Medley 200m||Melanie Margalis (2:10.20)||Maya Dirado (2:10.57)||Caitlin Leverenz (2:11.05)|
|Men's Medley 200m||Ryan Lochte (1:56.50)||Michael Phelps (1:56.55)||Tyler Clary (1:57.94)|
|Men's Freestyle 800m||Michael McBroom (7:49.66)||Matt McLean (7:55.58)||Michael Klueh (7:58.13)|
|Women's Freestyle 50m||Simone Manuel (24.56)||Ivy Martin (24.72)||Madeline Locus (24.81)|
|Men's Freestyle 50m||Anthony Ervin (21.55)||Nathan Adrian (21.69)||Cullen Jones (21.83)|
Note: List of full results can be found at Omegatiming.com.
Missy Franklin Just Misses First Place in 100-Meter Freestyle Preliminaries
She was fast in heat 13, but the 19-year-old Franklin was not the fastest on the day in the 100-meter freestyle thanks to a total time of 53.76 seconds.
That put her 0.16 seconds off the leader, Simone Manuel. The Texas native was in rare form Wednesday, blazing a 53.60 time. As SwimSwam records, that is quite an eye-popping number, to say the least:
Sixth fastest time in the world this year for Simone Manuel with a 53.60 in the heat 11 of the 100 free! #Phillips66Nats— SwimSwam (@swimswamnews) August 6, 2014
For Franklin, the performance was not a major disappointment, but missing out on first place and flirtation with her meet record of 53.43 is sure to provide her with some motivation the rest of the way this week.
Margo Geer came in third just 0.57 seconds off the lead, while another notable included up-and-comer Katie Ledecky, who, in tandem with Franklin, has done much recently to further the women's side of the sport.
She wound up No. 13 with a time of 54.96, but bigger things are in motion. In fact, the Franklin-Ledecky rivalry, the latter just 17 years of age, might just be the next big rivalry in U.S. swimming, even if they do not necessarily see it that way.
“The more we push each other the faster we’re going to go,” Ledecky said, per Nick Zaccardi of NBC OlympicTalk, “and the faster our relay is going to be.”
The two are far from done in Irvine.
Michael Phelps Stumbles out of the Gate in 100-Meter Freestyle Preliminaries
For Phelps, his comeback story that began in April has been punctuated by his public concerns about his ability to shake off the rust.
“My freestyle stroke has been a little different, but it felt a little off,” Phelps said, per Beth Harris of the Associated Press, via Gazettenet.com. “It felt better today than it has over the last couple weeks.”
Those issues were apparent in Wednesday's preliminary, although the caveat is that he was still able to register a third-place finish in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 48.77 seconds. As SwimmingWorld notes, though, it took a gargantuan comeback on the final stretch:
That comeback was still not enough, as Nathan Adrian won both the heat and the No. 1 spot on the leaderboard thanks to a 48.24 mark.
Lochte wound up in eighth place, a full 0.97 seconds off the top spot thanks to his 49.21 finish. Fresh off a knee injury, he remains one of the top names to watch over the course of the next five days as he readjusts to competition at such a high level.
Wednesday is far from over, though, as the evening slate promises to be even more entertaining. Preliminaries are just that, while the heats yet to come place a lot on the line for all involved.
Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte Finish off the Pace in 100-Meter Freestyle
Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte may have been the superstar names heading into Wednesday night’s 100-meter competition, but it was Nathan Adrian who won the freestyle event.
Adrian’s time of more than 28 seconds certainly didn’t set any world records, but it was good enough to beat out a loaded field. Lochte finished in second place, Jimmy Feigen placed third and Michael Phelps finished in a disappointing seventh after missing the turn at the wall after 50 meters.
Incredibly enough, seven of the eight swimmers to make the finals were Olympians and six actually counted a gold medal in a freestyle event to their resume.
Adrian commented on the race, via Everett Cook of the Los Angeles Times:
I don't think any of us have quite figured it out. That was a little bit slower than most of us expected it to be. Fortunately, I think I just did a little less bad than everyone else. ... We know as a whole that group of eight guys is much faster than what we showed in the pool tonight.
Adrian may not be as famous as fellow competitors Phelps and Lochte, but he has won the past three 100-meter free national titles and won gold in the event in London. This is just the latest chapter in what has proven to be an underrated and impressive career.
Michael Phelps Crushes Fly with 2014-Best Time in Prelims
It was just qualifying, but Michael Phelps has once again put up a time better than anyone else.
Phelps swam the men's 100-meter butterfly faster than anyone has this year with a finishing time of 51.17, making no doubt of his appearance as the frontrunner in Friday night's final.
It hasn't been long since Phelps made his return to the pool after calling it quits following the 2012 London Olympics, but he still considers the fly his favorite event, per USA Today's Nicole Auerbach:
"This has kind of been my event, and the event I love swimming the most," Phelps said. "I wanted to put up the fastest time in the world (last month at a meet in Athens)."
SwimSwam noted Phelps' performance surpassed that of the London Games:
Michael Phelps was faster in that Pan Pac trials prelim swim than he was at the Olympic final in 2012 #Phillips66Nats— SwimSwam (@swimswamnews) August 8, 2014
Even though he's won pretty much all there is to win in the sport, Phelps still has his work cut out for him in the immediate future. He doesn't have an automatic spot just yet on America's Pan Pacific Championships team later this month, but can do so with a big performance Friday night.
It will take some time for Phelps to regain his form of old, but even now he has the ability to blow the world's best swimmers out of the water.
Tom Shields Wins Fly Final, Phelps Close Runner-Up
Michael Phelps swam the fastest time of anyone in the men's 100-meter butterfly in qualifying, but that didn't matter when Friday night's final came around. He couldn't duplicate it, and Tom Shields' time of 51.29 was—barely—enough to hold off Phelps and win it.
And by barely, I mean barely. Phelps' time of 51.30 was one hundredth of a second short.
Such an instance reminds any avid Phelps fan of a similar occurrence in the 2008 Beijing Games, when he won his history-making seventh gold medal of the Games by one hundredth of a second.
Phelps' time of 51.17 earlier in Friday qualifying would have won it for him, but it's safe to say the win was much more important for the 23-year-old Shields. Per USA Today's Nicole Auerbach:
"I don't want to look until the last 15, because of Michael and the way he swims it, you either get way too confident or you're way too far behind," Shields said. "He comes back, and he'll pass you in an instant. …
"This was a very emotional win for me. That's my favorite event. That's the one I think about, the one that comes up in my dreams more often than not."
The 100-meter fly is arguably Phelps' best event, and while it's a shame for his camp that they didn't come out on top, the great time of 51.17 is the one they'll remember from this event.
What's more, the second-place finish secured Phelps' spot on the U.S. team on the upcoming Pan Pacific Championships. He hadn't done so prior to.
Shields will also advance with Phelps having won the event. As one of the USA's top young men's swimmers, he'll have another chance to prove himself in his quest to make 2016 his first Olympic Games.
Katie Ledecky Shines, Michael Phelps Does Not
In the night session on Saturday, one thing was made clear: Katie Ledecky is not from Earth. The 17-year-old set a world record in the 400-meter freestyle and became the first woman to ever swim the distance in under four minutes.
NEW WORLD RECORD KATIE LEDECKY 3:58.86. FIRST UNDER 3:59 THE BEST EVER #Phillips66Nats— SwimSwam (@swimswamnews) August 10, 2014
Tonight, Katie Ledecky set world record in 400 free. Now holds WRs in 400, 800 & 1500 frees. No woman has held all 3 at same time since '06.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 10, 2014
Katie Ledecky's 400m free WR tonight would have placed 47th out of the 87 men's 400m free swimmers in the morning prelims.— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) August 10, 2014
If you're looking for the next American to dominate the sport at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Ledecky is the one.
While Ledecky was exhibiting her dominance, the most-decorated swimmer in history was perhaps showing his age. The 29-year-old Michael Phelps had a rough day in the pool on Saturday. A day after losing by only 0.01 of a second in the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps fell by a much larger margin in the 100-meter backstroke.
Phelps' time of 53.75 was only good enough for sixth place. Needless to say, he was disappointed in his performance.
The 18-time Olympic gold medalist still has the 200-meter individual medley on Sunday.
The medley has traditionally been one of his strongest events. He's won the gold medal in the event in all three of the Olympic games he's appeared in.
Perhaps he can find a way to finish up nationals on a high note.
Michael Phelps Continues to Cruise
It may not be the typical domination fans are accustomed to, but Michael Phelps once again turned in another strong performance in California Sunday. This time, he placed fourth in the men's 200-meter individual medley preliminaries with a time of 1:58.74.
That was good enough to win his heat outright, and as an added caveat, he placed ahead of rival Ryan Lochte, who came in fifth overall.
Phelps was 1.33 off the lead, which belonged to Conor Dwyer. He was followed by Tyler Clary and Chase Kalisz, respectively.
Despite a slew of what are technically losses, Phelps has one more opportunity to nab a win Sunday. Even if he does not, a berth in the Pan Pacific Championships is already assured because of his performances to date.
Ryan Lochte Best Michael Phelps by 0.05 Seconds
The head-to-head battle between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the men's 200-meter individual medley more than lived up to the hype on Sunday, as Lochte pulled out a narrow victory. Only 0.05 seconds separated the two stars, with Lochte finishing in 1:56.50 and Phelps coming in at 1:56.55, per USA Swimming Live:
Swimming doesn't generally enter the sporting public's consciousness. It's generally one of the more popular sports at the Summer Olympics, but that only comes every four years. The sport needs stars like Phelps and Lochte in order to remain relevant in between the Olympics.
To see the two not only in action but competing at such a high level and so close to one another only helps swimming gain more of a foothold in the United States.