Ledecky Victorious Again to Wrap Up Arena Grand Prix at Mesa


Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) convincingly topped the women’s 800-meter freestyle field Saturday to take her third win of the Arena Grand Prix at Mesa at Skyline Aquatic Center.

Ledecky touched nearly 13 seconds clear of the field with a time of 8:20.10, which ranks as the third-best effort in the world this year. Second went to 2013 FINA World Championships runner-up Lotte Friis of Denmark in 8:33.05. Becca Mann (Homer Glen, Ill.) finished third in 8:35.15 to complete a solid meet.

Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.) surged over the final 50 meters to nip Tom Luchsinger (Mount Sinai, N.Y.) in the men’s 200m fly by one-hundredth of a second – 2:00.39 to 2:00.40 – for his second victory of the meet. Bobby Bollier (Mission Hills, Kan.) touched third in 2:00.54.

A pair of 16-year-old rising stars went one-two in the women’s 200m fly, as Mann took the win in 2:12.10, and Katie McLaughlin (Dana Point, Calif.) was second in 2:13.95. Caitlin Leverenz (Tucson, Ariz.) finished third in 2:14.81.

In her first high-level meet since the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, two-time Olympian Katie Hoff (Towson, Md.) won the women’s 200m IM in 2:12.92. Second went to Leverenz in 2:14.61, and Sweden’s Stina Gardell was third in 2:15.34.

Just as Ledecky did in the women’s 800m free, Michael McBroom (The Woodlands, Texas) swam away with the men’s 1500m free in 15:08.86. Venezuela’s Andy Arteta finished second in 15:39.66, followed by Liam Egan (Boston, Mass.) in 15:43.49.

Alia Atkinson of Jamaica picked up her second win of the meet with a time of 1:07.50 in the women’s 100m breast. Americans Micah Lawrence (Pflugerville, Texas) and Breeja Larson (Mesa, Ariz.) took second and third, in 1:08.93 and 1:08.98, respectively.

The men’s 100m breast went to Damir Dugonjic of Slovenia in 1:01.62. Kevin Cordes (Naperville, Ill.) touched second in 1:01.68, and Mike Alexandrov (Champaign, Ill.) grabbed third in 1:02.07.

Mexico’s Fernanda Gonzalez Ramirez earned the win in the women’s 100m back in 1:01.58, followed by Cheyenne Coffman (Prather, Calif.) in 1:02.25 and Clara Smiddy (Miami, Fla.) in 1:02.40.

Russia’s Arkady Vyatchanin claimed the men’s 100m back in 54.40. Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.) was second in 54.50, while David Plummer (Oklahoma City, Okla.) grabbed third in 55.85.

South Africa’s Darian Towsend claimed the men’s 200m IM in 2:02.07. Austria’s Jakub Maly took second in 2:03.80, and Michael Weiss (Reno, Nev.) rounded out the podium in third in 2:05.19.

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. The series resumes May 15-18 with the Arena Grand Prix at Charlotte (N.C.).

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). 

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