Lochte dominates field to win 200 IM at Arena Pro Series
May. 16, 2016
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Ryan Lochte might have found something more difficult than preparing for the U.S. Olympic swimming trials — like helping Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams learn how to swim.
"He says he can doggie paddle but doesn't really know how to swim, so that will be a lot of fun," Lochte said about Williams, who attended the Arena Pro Swim Series meet Sunday.
Lochte, who has the same Charlotte-based athletic trainer as Williams, showed the NFL star a thing or two about swimming when he closed the four-day meet in impressive fashion by winning the 200-meter individual medley in 1 minute, 58.97 seconds, nearly 2 seconds ahead of Olympic teammate Conor Dwyer.
The 11-time Olympic medalist also won the 400 IM on Friday.
Lochte started the 200 IM on the inside lane after qualifying seventh and bolted to a big lead on the second leg with a strong backstroke, making the turn in 55.07.
Despite the win, Lochte wasn't all that thrilled with effort because of his final leg of the race, the 50-meter freestyle.
"My legs feel like cinderblocks," Lochte said.
Coach Dave Marsh from SwimMAC Carolina said Lochte's didn't close well, but remains on pace for the U.S. Olympic trials in June in Omaha, Nebraska.
"He had a great 150 (meters), but all weekend he has had heavy legs and he hasn't had that spark that I've seen in practice," Marsh said. "The way he is swimming in practice was better than I saw this weekend. He's lethargic with his ability to get up on the water. For him not to be able to kick coming home on the final 50 says his legs are going to need a lot more rest."
But Marsh said Lochte won't begin to taper until two or three more weeks of heavy work.
"Hopefully with the right amount of rest, I will be there," Lochte said.
Lochte also placed sixth in the 100 freestyle on Sunday.
In other men's action, Arkady Vyatchanin nipped Tyler Clady by 0.16 seconds to win the 200 backstroke in 1:59.09. Cody Miller took the 50 breaststroke (27.53), Santo Condorelli won the 100 freestyle (48.41) and Connor Jaeger blew away the field to capture the 1500 free (14:59.13).
Mexican Ricardo Vargas punched his ticket to the Rio de Janeiro Games in August by virtue of his third place finish in the 1500 free.
In women's action, 15-year-old Penny Oleksiak from Canada won the 100 freestyle (53.41) beating Chantal Van Landeghem (54.13) and 28-year-old four-time Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer (54.19). Vollmer had qualified first for the finals when she broke a meet record by swimming a 53.59 in the preliminaries, but didn't have enough left for the finals.
Vollmer is looking for her first Olympic medal since the birth of her son 14 months ago. She said having a baby has actually helped relax her when she prepares for swimming events.
"Swimming used to be how I defined myself," Vollmer said. "But I know that my son is not even going to remember the swimming version of me. He'll just know Mommy. And that completely took the pressure off of my racing."
In other women's events, Leah Smith took the 800 freestyle (8:30.45) and Caitlin Leverenz captured the 200 individual medley (2:12.72). Dominique Bouchard won the 200 backstroke (2:09.14) and Lilly King took the 50 breaststroke (30.35).