Lochte Edges Phelps at Arena Grand Prix at Mesa
With two of the most decorated Olympians in history squaring off in the center of the pool, Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) edged Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.) in the 100-meter butterfly final on Thursday to highlight the opening night of the Arena Grand Prix at Mesa at Skyline Aquatic Center.
Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist, touched in 51.93 seconds to best Phelps’ runner-up finish of 52.13. Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time with 22 career medals was competing for the first time since winning the last of his six medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London – a span of 628 days. Kenya’s Jason Dunford was third in 53.08.
The meet continues through Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m. MST followed by finals at 5 p.m.
Also victorious in Mesa were fellow American Olympic gold medalists Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.), Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash.) and Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.).
Ledecky won the women’s 400m free with a swim of 4:03.84. Gillian Ryan (Kutztown, Pa.) touched second in 4:08.51, while Becca Mann (Homer Glenn, Ill.) cruised to third with a time of 4:08.70.
Adrian won the 100m free with a convincing swim of 48.23. South Africa’s Roland Schoeman was second in 49.39, and Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) took third in 49.57.
Schmitt took first-place honors in the women’s 100m free with a swim of 54.46. Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.) finished second in 55.05, while Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.) took third in 55.14.
In the men’s 400m free, National Team member Michael McBroom (The Woodlands, Texas) finished first after touching in 3:50.87. Dwyer placed second in 3:53.85, followed by Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.), who finished in 3:54.47.
Olympian Claire Donahue (Lenoir City, Tenn.) won the women’s 100m fly in 59.05 followed by Katie McLaughlin (Dana Point, Calif.) in 59.60 and South Africa’s Marne Erasmus in 1:00.66.
In other races, Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson earned the top spot in the women’s 200m breast with a swim of 2:25.52, while Micah Lawrence (Pflugerville, Texas) finished second (2:26.60) and Breeja Larson (Mesa, Ariz.) placed third (2:28.87).
Colombia’s Jorge Murillo Valdes won the men’s 200m breast in 2:14.81 followed by Syria’s Azad Al-Barazi in 2:15.43 and Carl Mickelson (Chandler, Ariz.) was third in 2:16.50.
Universal Sports Network will televise live coverage from the Arena Grand Prix at Mesa on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT. Click here to find Universal Sports Network on your television provider. Additionally, a live webcast of the entire meet will be streamed online via usaswimming.org.
The Arena Grand Prix at Mesa is the fourth stop of USA Swimming’s 2013-14 Arena Grand Prix Series, which provides the nation’s best swimmers six opportunities to face top-flight competition on U.S. soil.
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 season.
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).