Lochte and Ledecky Top the Podium on First Night of AT&T Winter Nationals

AUSTIN, Texas – Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) wowed the crowd with his near-American record breaking swim in the 200y medley on the first night of the 2012 AT&T Winter National Championships.

Lochte’s swim of 1:40.97 was just eighty-nine hundredths (1:40.08) of a second off from his 2007 American record swim and was nearly four seconds faster than his morning prelim swim. Alex Lendrum from USC and Austin Surhoff (Cockeysville, Md.) battled it out for the second and third spot on the podium. Lendrum got the edge with a 1:44.24 while Surhoff finished in 1:44.39.

Individual events began with the 500y free. For the women, Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) entered the finals with the top seed and bettered that mark by over two seconds swimming a 4:34.53. For the first half of the race, Ledecky was on pace for the American record. Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif.) and Leah Smith from Jewish Community Center Sailfish battled it out for second and third. Anderson finished in 4:36.87 and Smith at 4:36.90.

Swimming in front of a natatorium filled with Longhorn faithful, Michael McBroom (The Woodlands, Texas) didn't disappoint as he swam a strong, final 50-yards to capture his first USA Swimming title. His time of 4:16.08 edged out Cristian Quintero of USC and Matthew Barber of the Arizona Wildcats. Quintero went 4:16.56 and Barber went 4:16.62.

From start to finish in the women’s 200y medley, Celina Li of the Pleasanton Seahawks and Stina Gardell of USC wrestled with the lead spot. In the end, Li out-touched Gardell 1:55.28 to 1:55.32 for her first National title. Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) was able to reach the podium thanks to her stellar breaststroke leg and finished in 1:55.88.

The evening’s individual events concluded with the 50y free. Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) finished the night with a gold medal swim going 21.83 and just barely edging out fellow National Team member Margo Geer (Milford Center, Ohio) who went 21.84. Another National Team swimmer, Christine Magnuson (Knoxville, Tenn.) claimed bronze with a 21.91 swim.

On the men’s side, Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.) won in 18.88. Fellow Olympian Davis Tarwater (Knoxville, Tenn.) took home the silver in 19.36. Pavel Babaev of Swim Florida finished in third in 21.83 and collected the bronze medal.

The three-day meet is the last major domestic USA Swimming event of the year and will continue on Friday with preliminary heats taking place at 9 a.m. CT and finals beginning in the evening at 5 p.m. CT. The event will be broadcast on NBC as a one-hour special on Sunday, December 2 from 2-3 p.m. ET.

For complete results, please visit USA Swimming’s event page.

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