INDIANAPOLIS – Olympian Michael Phelps and U.S. National Teamer Jessica Hardy both set meet records and turned in the fastest times in the world this year in their respective events Saturday at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Phelps bested the rest of the field in the men’s 200m IM by nearly three seconds, turning in a time of 1:56.32. Hardy was just as dominant, winning the women’s 100m breaststroke by more than two seconds in 1:06.12.
Their swims marked two of the five meet records set on the third and final night of competition at the IUPUI Natatorium. Also setting meet records were Hungarian Katinka Hosszu in the women’s 200m fly, U.S. National Teamer Nick Thoman in the men’s 100m backstroke and U.S National Teamer Caitlin Leverenz in the women’s 200m IM.
In the men’s 200m IM, Phelps was in control the whole way, building his lead at each 50. Darian Townsend finished second in 1:59.28, while Olympian Ryan Lochte, the world record-holder in this event, was third in 1:59.37.
It was Phelps’s third win of the meet after taking gold in the men’s 100m butterfly on day 1 and the men’s 400m IM on day 2. His time in the 400m IM was also a meet record.
“I’m very happy,” Phelps said. “It’s a half second faster than I was last year, and I was shaved at this point last year, so I’m getting steps closer to the time that I want. It’s two seconds off the time I went shaved and rested last year (at the FINA World Championships), so for right now, I’m very pleased.
“On a scale of 1-10, I’m maybe at like a seven-and-a-half, eight. The most important thing is that we’re going to be working on the small things. There are going to be races that are going to be won or lost by me getting my feet over faster on a turn, or me hitting the wall on a full stroke. I think those small details are going to be something very important that I’m going to need to work on more.”
Hardy was more than a second ahead of the pack at the first turn of the women’s 100m breaststroke, leaving the rest of the field racing for second place. Her time bested the meet record of 1:07.31, which she set in last year’s finals, by more than a second. Four-time Olympian Amanda Beard took silver in 1:08.50. Emma Schoettmer was third in 1:09.75.
“This is my first meet since Duel in the Pool, so I was really rusty the first day, and really tired, so I was surprised I felt good today – felt good last night, even,” Hardy said. “Swimming throughout the meet, I got used to racing again. I’m glad it was the last day. It was a good opportunity. I knew I’ve been training well, but it’s fun to see it unfold in the race.”
Leverenz’s performance in the women’s 200m IM was the second-fastest in the world this year. Touching first at the 50-meter mark, Levernz lost the lead temporarily to Elizabeth Pelton in the backstroke leg, but regained it again with a strong breaststroke. From there, she managed to hold on to the lead down the stretch, touching in 2:09.71.
World record-holder Ariana Kukors was second in 2:10.76, followed by Pan American Games gold medalist Elizabeth Pelton in third in 2:12.30.
Leverenz won the 200m IM coming off a tough double. She finished fifth in the women’s 200m fly earlier in the session.
“I think it’s better than what I was expecting,” Leverenz said. “I was pretty exhausted going into the break today, and I just wanted to swim the 200 fly and go a best time. Before the 200 IM (coach) Teri (McKeever) said, ‘What are you going to do?’ and I said, ‘I’m just going to go out there and lay it all on the line and see what happens.’ I’m really, really happy with that time, and I think what’s even better is when I look at my time, I see a lot of room for improvement.”
Just fractions of a second separated the top four swimmers at the 50-meter mark of the men’s 100m backstroke, but it was Thoman who pulled away for the win in 53.95. David Russell finished a little more than a half-second behind in 54.61. Mathias Gydesen and Lochte tied for third in 54.75.
“The rest of my team and I are really beat up right now, so if I can go faster this year than I did last year and be feeling worse, I’m pretty happy,” Thoman said. “I was just really trying to keep my tempo up. That’s what I’ve been really working on this year, and then just trying to keep high in the water. I fell off a little bit at the end, but I kept it together pretty well.”
Hosszu and American Olympians Dana Vollmer and Kathleen Hersey were locked in a dead heat through the first 100 meters of the women’s 200m butterfly, but Hosszu distanced herself in the final 50 meters to win by a body length in 2:07.58. Hersey was second in 2:09.92, followed by Vollmer in 2:09.96.
It was Hosszu’s second win and meet record this week after taking gold in the 400m IM on Friday.
World Champion Missy Franklin won her second event of the meet Saturday, leading the field from start to finish in the women’s 100m backstroke, touching in 59.89. Stephanie Au was second in 1:01.30, followed by Kylie Stewart in 1:02.12.
Franklin missed the meet record she set last year by 33-hundredths of a second. In addition to her win tonight, she also took gold in the women’s 200m back on Friday.
In the men’s 200m fly, U.S. National Teamer Bobby Bollier took advantage of a strong back half to best the rest of the field by about a second and a half, touching in 1:56.34. Fellow National Teamers Davis Tarwater and Tyler Clary finished second and third in 1:58.02 and 1:58.14.
U.S. Pan American Games gold medalist Marcus Titus came out on top of a close one in the men’s 100m breaststroke, holding off Olympic gold medalist Brendan Hansen in the final 50 meters for the win in 1:00.86. Hansen was second in 1:01.04, while Vladislav Polyakov was third in 1:01.48.
In the distance events, U.S. Pan American Games gold medalist Gillian Ryan won the women’s 800m free with a time of 8:32.49, followed by Olympian and world champion Kate Ziegler in 8:33.86 and Rachel Zilinskas in 8:36.70.
Matias Koski won the men’s 1500m free in 15:09.17, followed by U.S. Pan American Games gold medalist Arthur Frayler in 15:09.27 and Mateusz Sawrymowicz in 15:19.35.
For more information about the Indianapolis Grand Prix, including the webcast and complete results, go to www.usaswimming.org/indianapolisgrandprix.