Joyce, Adrian and Hoff are Golden at the Los Angeles Grand Prix
It was a big night for American Olympians Saturday at the Los Angeles Grand Prix. First, Kara Lynn Joyce (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash.) won their second events of the meet, taking the women’s and men’s 50m freestyle. A short time later, Katie Hoff (Towson, Md.) set the meet record in the women’s 400m free with a time of 4:06.21.
Joyce won her event in 25.14, just two-hundredths of a second ahead of Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.). Lara Jackson (Tucson, Ariz.) was third in 25.23. Adrian won the men’s 50 by a larger margin in 22.11, followed by Bruno Fratus of Brazil in 22.82 and William Copeland (Lexington, Va.) in 22.89.
“I’m pretty happy with that time right now for sure,” Joyce said. “I changed up my training a lot this year, and it’s good to see it’s working out. A lot of people who are racing here tonight I’ll see again in three weeks (at Nationals). It’s a nice marker to see where I’m at and feels good to come up with some season-best times right now.”
Hoff’s meet record in the women’s 400m free was nearly three seconds faster than the former meet record of 4:09.04, set by Costa Rica’s Claudia Poll in 2000. She finished more than three seconds ahead of 2008 Olympic teammate Kate Ziegler (Fairfax, Va.), who touched in 4:09.44. Canadian Alexa Komarnycky was third in 4:10.97.
“That’s the first time this year my stroke clicked and everything I’ve been working on in the last year has come together,” Hoff said.
In other races, National Teamer Ariana Kukors (Auburn, Wash.) held on to the lead from start to finish in the women’s 200m IM, turning in a time of 2:11.01. The world record-holder and defending world champion in this event, Kukors outdistanced her next closest competitor, Hungarian Kantinka Hosszu, by more than two seconds. Hosszu finished with a time of 2:12.25, while 2008 Olympian and U.S. National Teamer Julia Smit (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) was third in 2:13.00.
“The whole heat was stacked, so I was just excited to be in that race,” Kukors said. “I’ll be racing a lot of those same girls in three weeks (at Nationals). I just tried to stay calm and stay relaxed and do the best I could in that moment.”
U.S. National Teamer Michael Klueh (Evansville, Ind.) nipped Canadian Olympian Brian Johns by a tenth of a second in the men’s 200m free, touching in 1:49.68. Johns appeared to have control over the rest of the field down the home stretch, but Klueh made his move in the final 10 meters and managed to get his hand on the wall first. National Teamer Charlie Houchin (Raleigh, N.C.) was third in 1:50.45.
Olympian and U.S. National Teamer Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.) made light work of the rest of the field in the women’s 200m breaststroke, finishing about three body-lengths ahead of her next-closest competitors in 2:24.89. Soni, the Olympic gold medalist in this event, missed the 11-year-old meet record, set in 1999 by South African Penny Heyns, by 38-hundreths. National Teamer Elizabeth Smith (St. Louis, Mo.) was second in 2:28.75, followed by Caitlin Leverenz (Tucson, Ariz.) in 2:29.72.
National Teamer Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.) also won handily in the men’s 400m IM. His time of 4:16.37 was more than six seconds ahead of second-place finisher Robert Margalis (St. Petersburg, Fla.), who touched in 4:22.63. Robert Hommel was third in 4:27.64.
Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima set the meet record in the men’s 200m breaststroke in 2:11.14. Finishing behind the defending Olympic champion were Brazil’s Tales Cerdeira in 2:13.76 and U.S. National Teamer Michael Alexandrov (Champaign Ill.) in 2:13.88.
Canadian Olympian Ryan Cochrane easily won the men’s 1500m freestyle, turning in a time of 15:08.13. It was his second win of the meet after taking the men’s 400m free title on Friday. Mateusz Sawrynmowicz finished second behind Cochrane in 15:15.47, while Yun Hoa was third in 15:18.75.
The LA Grand Prix concludes Sunday, July 11. For a complete schedule of events and results, go to usaswimming.org/grandprix. Race footage from the meet will be broadcast LIVE throughout the weekend on www.swimnetwork.com.
For more on this story, please visit Swimming.TeamUSA.org