The first night of competition at the AT&T Winter National Championships saw strong performances from multiple 2012 Olympians, including Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash.), Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.), Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) and Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J.). The competition, taking place at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center, runs December 5-7.
Adrian was the top performer in the men’s 50y free, winning the race with a time of 18.89 - the only swim under 19 seconds of the night. Josh Schneider (Cincinnati, Ohio) was second in 19.07 and Great Britain’s Adam Brown finished third in 19.13.
The women’s 50y free saw a standout performance from three-time Olympian Coughlin, who won the race in 21.51, just .05 off the meet record which is also her personal best time. Amanda Weir (Lawrenceville, Gal.) was second in 21.62 and Madison Kennedy (Avon, Conn.) rounded out the top three with a time of 21.69.
In the women’s 500y free, Ledecky was under American record-pace through the first 250 meters. She held the lead throughout the race but fell behind the American record time in the final 200 yards. Ledecky won the event with a time of 4:32.37 while fellow Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) placed second with a time of 4:34.63. Two-time Olympian Chloe Sutton (Mission Viejo, Calif.) placed third in 4:39.63.
The men’s final of the 500y free saw a heat featuring half of the field with ties to the state of Michigan. Michael Klueh (Evansville, Ind.) led the race through the first 250 yards but was unable to hold off teammate Connor Jaeger. Jaeger finished strong to win the event in 4:14.05 and Klueh was second in 4:14.43. Third place was filled by Denmark’s Anders Nielsen with a time of 4:15.29. Like both Jaeger and Klueh, Nielsen also trains in Michigan.
In the 200y IM, the women’s field saw a close race between Cal Berkeley teammates Elizabeth Pelton (Baltimore, Md.) and Celina Li (Pleasanton, Calif.). Pelton edged out Li in the final 50 yards to win the race with a time of 1:54.15. Li finished in 1:54.25 and third place went to Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson with a time of 1:54.85. On the men’s side, South Africa’s Darian Townsend won the race in 1:41.88. He was followed by Andrew Seliskar (McLean, Va.) in 1:43.22 and South Africa’s Dylan Bosch was third in 1:43.47.
Competition continues Friday with preliminaries at 9 a.m. ET and finals at 5 p.m. ET. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
A live webcast of prelims and finals will be available for all three days via usaswimming.org.
National television coverage from the meet will air on NBC on Saturday, Dec. 21 from 5-6 p.m. ET.