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Agnel wins third gold in Austin

1/19/2014

Connor Dwyer and Yannick Agnel at Worlds. (Medium)AUSTIN, Texas – Olympic gold medalist Yannick Agnel of France emerged as the top swimmer of the Arena Grand Prix at Austin, taking his third event of the meet Sunday in the men’s 1500m freestyle in 15:07.76.

 

Also winning multiple events this week were U.S. Olympians Caitlin Leverenz, Conor Dwyer and Katie Ledecky, who won their second events of the meet on the third and final night at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center.

 

Leverenz and Dwyer finished first in the men’s and women’s 200m IM, while Ledecky won the women’s 800m free.

 

Agnel jumped out to a lead at the start of the men’s 1500m free and never looked back, finishing almost nine seconds ahead of runner-up Michael McBroom, 15:07.76 to 15:16.72. Ous Mellouli of Tunisia, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in this event, was third in 15:19.09.

 

Agnel also finished first in the 400m free on the first night of competition, and first in the 200m free on Saturday.

 

In the women’s 200m IM, Leverenz was in control the whole way, cruising to a win in 2:13.44. Karlee Bispo, a member of the 2013 U.S. World Championships team touched about one and a half seconds behind in 2:16.03, while Katie Meili was third in 2:16.13.

 

It was Leverenz’s second win of the meet after taking the women’s 400m IM on Saturday.

 

Dwyer won an equally decisive victory in the men’s 200m IM, finishing more than two seconds ahead of the rest of the field in 2:00.03. U.S. National Teamer Josh Prenot was second in 2:02.05, while another National Teamer, Andrew Seliskar, was third in 2:04.32.

 

Like Leverenz, Dwyer also won the 400m IM on Saturday.

 

“It’s the first long course meet of the season, so it set some benchmarks to see where we’re at,” Dwyer said. “I was happy with my times, and we have a lot of training ahead, so hopefully we’ll continue to do well come springtime.”
Ledecky’s win came on the heels of a tough double, in which she swam in the finals of the women’s 200m IM – where she finished fourth in 2:16.27 – about 10 minutes before the start of the 800.

 

“I swam the 200 IM this morning just for fun, so that I had a morning swim,” Ledecky said. “I swam it, and did pretty well, so I swam it tonight as a challenge, just for something fun and different to do. I’m not sure I’d ever do it again, but in January, there’s nothing to lose.”

 

In the 800, Ledecky trailed Denmark’s Lotte Friis through the 600-meter mark, before pulling ahead and winning by more than a body-length in 8:26.70. Friis took silver in 8:28.65, while Savannah King took bronze in 8:38.87.

 

“It was just a good meet for racing,” Ledecky said. “I didn’t have too many expectations coming in. I just wanted to get up and race. I was happy with my swim tonight, being able to do the double. It was a fun thing to do, and I’m very pleased with it.”

 

In a mini-rematch of the 2012 Olympic finals, gold and silver medalists Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman faced off in the middle of the pool. This time, the results were a little different.

 

Grevers held on for the win over a tight field in 53.72, but finishing second this time around was Arkady Vyatchanin of Russia in 55.51. National Teamer Ryan Murphy in third in 53.09. Thoman finished just out of the medal standings in 54.09.

 

“I just wanted to go a 53 – anything,” Grevers said. “This morning I went pretty hard after I qualified ninth yesterday in the 200. I wanted to make sure I got in. It was just good training and racing.”

 

Other National Teamers winning races Sunday were Tom Luchsinger and Jessica Hardy in the men’s 200m butterfly and women’s 100m breaststroke, respectively.

 

Luchsinger and fellow National Teamer Tom Shields were neck-and-neck through the first half of the men’s 200m fly, but Luchsinger put some distance between himself and the rest of the field in the third length and held on for the win in 1:57.93. Another National Teamer, Andrew Seliskar surged in the final 50 meters to finished second in 1:58.57, while Shields slipped to third in 1:58.85.

 

Olympian Hardy won the women’s 100m breaststroke by about body-length, holding off fellow National Teamer Laura Sogar in the final 10 meters with a time of 1:07.05. Sogar was second in 1:07.76, while Meili was third in 1:08.46.

 

In other races, Canadian Audrey LaCroix won the women’s 200m butterfly in 2:11.58, followed by Remedy Rule in 2:11.24 and fellow Canadian Noemie Thomas in 2:13.04.

 

Ross Murdoch of Great Britain won his second event of the meet, taking the men’s 100m breaststroke in 1:00.58. He bested U.S. National Teamer Mike Alexandrov by about a body length, with Alexandrov touching in 1:01.38. Brad Craig was third in 1:02.20. Murdoch also won the men’s 200m breast on the first night of competition.

 

Canadian Hillary Caldwell also won her second event of the meet in the women’s 100m backstroke, coming out on top of a tight race by 15-hundredths of a second in 1:01.57. U.S. National Teamer Megan Romano was second in 1:01.72, followed by Canadian Dominique Bouchard in 1:01.83. Caldwell won the women’s 200m back on Friday.

 

The Arena Grand Prix at Austin came to a close Sunday. For more information about the meet, including the webcast and complete results, go to www.usaswimming.org/austingrandprix.