Conor Dwyer Shines to Open Arena Grand Prix at Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) was victorious in the 400y individual medley and finished second in the 200y free Thursday on the opening night of the Arena Grand Prix at Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
USA Swimming National Team members Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.), BJ Johnson (Seattle, Wash.), Claire Donahue (Lenoir City, Tenn.) and Caitlin Leverenz (Tucson, Ariz.) also earned individual event victories in the short-course yards meet, which serves as the first of six stops of the 2013-14 Arena Grand Prix Series.
The meet continues through Saturday, with prelims at 9 a.m. CT followed by finals at 6 p.m. CT. Tickets are required for all sessions and are on sale at the University Aquatic Center Ticket Booth.
Complete results, meet information and a live stream of the competition are available online via usaswimming.org.
In the final individual event of the session, Dwyer touched first to take the 400y IM with a time of 3:40.03. Fellow National Teamer Michael McBroom (The Woodlands, Texas) was second in 3:47.66, followed by Spain’s Guillermo Blanco in 3:48.26.
In the men’s 200y free, Dwyer was edged by North Baltimore Aquatic Club training partner Yannick Agnel of France, who finished first in 1:31.90. Dwyer was second in 1:32.09, and Nikita Lobintsev of Russia took third in 1:33.45.
In her third and final swim of the night, Leverenz won the women’s 400y IM in 4:07.06, besting runner-up Megan Kingsley (Mount Pleasant, S.C.), who finished in 4:11.94, and Breanne Siwicki, who took third in 4:13.40.
“I haven’t raced since Worlds, so it’s been a solid three months plus that I haven’t raced,” said Leverenz, who also finished eighth in the 200y free and fifth in the 100y fly. “It was really good to get the cobwebs off and get up and do my thing – go up and race.”
Romano won the women’s 200y free with a time of 1:45.29 to best the University of Minnesota pair of Kiera Janzen (Robbinsdale, Minn.) and Tori Simenec (Salem, Ore.), who took second and third in 1:45.43 and 1:46.02, respectively.
In the men’s 100y breast, Johnson earned the win in 52.58. Finland’s Eetu Karvonen was second in 52.73, and Mike Alexandrov (Champaign, Ill.) took third in 52.90.
Donahue took the 100y fly, her signature event, with a time of 51.80. Rebecca Weiland (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.) finished second in 52.47, and Kingsley earned her second podium of the night, taking third in 54.08.
In other races, Minnesota’s Haley Spencer (O'Fallon, Mo.) won the women’s 100y breast in 1:00.26
Canada’s Kierra Smith was second in 1:00.33, and Laura Day (Peyton, Colo.) finished third in 1:02.44. Brazil’s Cesar Cielo won the 100y fly in 46.19, followed by Great Britain’s Adam Brown, who was second in 46.66, and Australia’s Dan Lester, who placed third in 46.95.
As part of USA Swimming’s partnership with Arena, the Arena Grand Prix Series will offer swimmers the opportunity to take home prize money for top finishes in all individual Olympic-distance events. In total, $150,000 in prize money is available to be distributed over the course of the six-meet series. At each meet, $500 will be awarded for a first-place finish, $300 for second and $100 for third in all individual events. Arena is serving as the title sponsor for the Arena Grand Prix Series for the second straight year.
In addition to the prize money, swimmers will compete for a Series grand prize from BMW. For the first time in the history of the Series, BMW will give the highest-scoring eligible male and female U.S. swimmer a one-year lease of a BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Series.
Male and female overall Arena Grand Prix Series champions will be honored at the conclusion of the 2013-14 series based on the number of points accumulated throughout the six meets. Participants will be awarded points in each individual Olympic event throughout the duration of the Series (Five points for first, three for second, one point for third place). Olympic gold medalists Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte won the 2012-13 series titles.