Courtesy of www.usaswimming.org
ISTANBUL, Turkey – On the first night of the 2012 FINA World Championships (25m) competition, the United States walked away with four medals and three victories. Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) won the 200m free, with the men’s 4x100m free relay and women’s 4x200m free relay also earned the top spot on the podium inside the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.
The evening began with Lochte’s 200m free win. He entered the night knowing he had a pretty grueling schedule but didn’t disappoint as he swam a 1:41.92. Fellow American Conor Dwyer (Winnitka, Ill.) joined Lochte on the podium and earned a bronze medal with his 1:43.78. World record-holder Paul Biedermann from Germany placed second going 1:42.07.
The next final of the night was the women’s 200m fly where Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu’s 2:02.20 was a Championship record. Her time was over a second faster than the previous record of 2:03.59 set by Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain in 2010. Kathleen Hersey (Atlanta, Ga.) finished the event fifth in a 2:05.90.
A second Championship record would fall as Great Britain’s Hannah Miley finished the 400m medley in 4:23.14. Ye Shiwen from China touched in 4:23.33 for second and Hosszu earned her second medal of the night with 4:25.95 for bronze. Maya DiRado (Santa Rosa, Calif.) took fifth in a personal-best time of 4:28.55.
In the relay finals of the night, the men’s 4x100m free team consisted of Anthony Ervin (Placenta, Calif.), Lochte, Jimmy Feigen (San Antonio, Texas) and Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.). Ervin led off for the American’s and was followed by Lochte who was swimming his third event of the night and posted an event-best split of 45.64. Feigen closed the gap on the Russian’s who led up until the final 100m when Grevers dove in and closed the door touching the wall at 3:06.40. Italy (3:07.07) and Australia (3:07.27) finished second and third, respectively.
The women’s 4x200m free relay was the final event of the evening. Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.) led off for the U.S. and handed off to Chelsea Chenault (Walnut Creek, Calif.) who took the lead for the American’s. Shannon Vreeland (Overland Park, Kans.) swam the third leg of the race and extended the lead. Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.) swam a 1:53.01 final 200 meters giving the U.S. their third win of the night. Russia took home the silver medal (7:42.77) and China earned the bronze (7:43.26).
In semifinal action on the night Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) finished the 50m breast in 29.82 for third and Ellyn Baumgardner (Fairfax, Va.) went 30.47 for 10th. Grevers won his 100m back heat in 50.24 which was good for second. Kevin Cordes (Naperville, Ill.) and Mike Alexandrov (Champaign, Ill.) both advanced in the 100m breast. Cordes swam the fourth fastest time in 57.92 and Alexandrov rounded out the eight finalists with a 58.35. Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill.) went 57.74 in the 100m back for the seventh spot while Romano finished 12th in 58.46. The men’s 100m fly final will have Tom Shields (Huntington Beach, Calif.) in the middle lane after swimming a 50.14 and will be joined by Lochte who finished fourth in 50.59.
The second day of World Championships will continue on Thursday with prelims starting at 10 a.m. local and finals will commence at 7 p.m. The morning session will have women’s 100m free, men’s 400m medley, women’s 50m fly, men’s 50m free, women’s 100m medley, men’s 4x200m free and the women’s 800m free (slow heats.).