Phelps and Franklin are Golden as the Minneapolis Grand Prix Concludes


MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.) and Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) each took home gold medals Sunday on the final night of competition at the Minneapolis Grand Prix. Phelps earned his fifth gold medal of the meet in the 200m IM while Franklin won both the women’s 200m back and 100m free. The two swimmers earned the Male and Female High Points Award of the meet.

Phelps was a perfect five for five in Minnesota having also won gold medals in the 100m and 200m fly, 200m free and the 100m back. His win on Sunday came in his only final of the night, the 200m IM. Phelps swam a 1:57.58 for the win, nearly four seconds faster than the second-place finisher. South Africa’s Darian Townsend earned the silver medal with a 2:01.55 and China’s Wu Peng won the bronze in 2:01.97. Phelps’ time was the fourth fastest in the world this year.

Franklin won a total of five medals in Minneapolis - three gold, one silver and a one bronze. In her first of three finals Sunday, Franklin earned a bronze in the women’s 200m IM. Katie Hoff (Towson, Md.) had a tremendous back-half of the race to beat Elizabeth Pelton (Baltimore, Md.) and Franklin. Hoff came into the wall at 2:12.02, Pelton was 2:12.23 and Franklin finished in 2:13.12.

Thirty-two minutes later, Franklin would win the gold medal in the women’s 200m back with a time of 2:08.03. Canada’s Lauren Lavigna out touched Great Britain’s Stephanie Proud for second place with a 2:12.85. Proud came into the wall two one-hundredths behind at 2:12.87.

In the final individual women’s event of the meet, Franklin earned the gold in the 100m free with a time of 54.27. Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.) earned the silver medal, her second medal of the evening and fifth over the three days, by finishing in 54.69. Last night’s 50m gold medalist, Amanda Weir (Lawrenceville, Ga.) came in third at 54.80.

In the women’s 800m free. France’s Camille Muffat and Chloe Sutton (Mission Viejo, Calif.) battled the entire distance but Muffat out touched Sutton 8:31.23 to 8:31.85 for the gold medal. Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y.) finished third in the heat with a 8:35.61 but Schmitt took the bronze medal by swimming a 8:35.12 in an earlier heat.

In the men’s 200m back, Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.) touched the wall first with a 1:58.39. The silver and bronze medal was decided by two one-hundredths of a second. Germany’s Christian Diener finished in 2:00.76 and Israel’s Nimrod Bar-Or was third in 2:00.78.

In the men’s 100m free, Cayman Islands swimmer Brett Fraser earned the gold medal by beating out France’s Clement Lefert and Germany’s Gideon Louw. Fraser touched at 48.88 and Lefert swam a 49.44. Louw rounded out the top-three spots with a 49.58.

The final event of the night and the meet, the men’s 1500m free, was won by Tunisian Olympic gold medalist Ous Mellouli. Mellouli won the race in 15:15.50 whille Michael Klueh (Evansville, Ind.) won the silver with a time of 15:17.44. Mads Glaesner from Denmark came in third at 15:29.32.

The USA Swimming Grand Prix Series continues January 13-15, with the Austin Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. It will be the second stop of the seven-meet 2011-2012 Series. The overall winner of the Grand Prix Series will be awarded $20,000 at the final Grand Prix held in Santa Clara, Calif., May 31-June 3, 2012. For a complete schedule of events and results, visit www.usaswimming.org/grandprix.