By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Saturday, April 14, 2018
Here are some odds and ends from the TYR Pro Swim Series at Mesa:
The Wind Has Been a Factor
During Thursday night’s finals, swimmers were racing down the pool into 40-mph gusts. Mini whitecaps were breaking over the touchpads at the finish end of the pool. The winds subsided a little on Friday, but were still gusting in the 20 mph range.
But U.S. National Team member Tim Phillips couldn’t complain. His win in the men’s 100m butterfly Thursday was one of the best in-season swims he’s had in the last few years. He edged fellow National Teamer Michael Andrew 52.88 to 52.93. It was
“It was really, really interesting,” Phillips said. “I don’t think I’ve ever swum in wind like that. Going out, I was trying so hard, and wasn’t moving at all. I was three- or four-tenths slower going out tonight than I did this morning. It was a struggle, but it was fun to race. Coming back was interesting. You could really feel the wind current kind of blowing you back. But it still made the race just as hard, because going out, you had to try even harder.”
It’s What Racing’s All About
Speaking of the wind, Olympians and Cal Aquatic teammates Ryan Murphy and Josh Prenot welcome the challenge. They just came back from an altitude training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where they threw down some quality swimming for a couple weeks before heading out to Mesa.
Murphy won the men’s 200m back Thursday and the 100m back on Friday.
“It’s honestly kind of nice coming here and having some wind, because it places the emphasis on race execution rather than time,” Murphy said. “That’s important for where we are at this point in the season. It ensures we’re doing things the right way. I’ve felt really good about what we’ve been doing in practice, and we’re excited just to keep that rolling.”
Prenot finished first in the 200m breast and second in the 400m IM on Thursday, and then finished fourth in the 100 breast on Friday.
Having to step up and race a lot in slightly adverse conditions – It’s good to have to work through that sometimes,” Prenot said. “It makes you a tougher athlete. If you can consistently perform under those conditions, you’ll be good.”
A New Perspective
Olympian and U.S. National Teamer Jacob Pebley got married last August, and ow that he’s no longer single, life – and swimming – have taken on a new meaning in some ways.
“I feel like I have to be a little more mature,” Pebley said. “I don’t think I am, but I carry that need to be a little more mature. I have to be a role model, I guess, around the team. Everyone’s like, ‘You’re married, why aren’t you acting like that?’
“I always try to separate swimming and earning money, but I have to earn money for my family now. It’s not really an issue with me (during the meet). It just kind of comes into the equation more after the meet’s over – did I do well for my family? I’m not thinking about it right now, but I’m sure in two days, I’ll be like, ‘Ok, did I make a good amount?’”
After finishing second behind Murphy in the 200 back Thursday, and fourth in the 100 back Friday, he should be OK.
Idaho: Not Just Potato Fields
Olympian and U.S. National Team member Leah Smith moved from Virginia out to Tucson last October to continue to train with coach Cory Chitwood, who took the job as assistant coach at the University of Arizona last fall. Smith, who will train with Arizona’s post-grad group, took the road less traveled on her trip across the country before finally settling in to her new home base.
“My boyfriend and I took a not really convenient route to Tucson,” Smith said. “We went to Badlands National Park – so awesome. Then we went to Grand Teton National Park, and then we stopped in Idaho to visit some friends, and hiked in Sawtooth National Forest. Then we went like straight down through Vegas – we didn’t stop in Vegas – and got to Tucson, and it was really, really cool.
“I got to see some parts of the country that I never got to see before. I definitely thought Idaho was all potato fields, but it’s not. It’s actually a really cool state, and there’s beautiful views and everything. I’m really glad I got the opportunity to do that, and I’m glad I made a trip out of it instead of driving 24 hours straight each day.”
Smith’s training in Tucson is paying off – she won the women’s 200m free Thursday and the 800m free Friday.
Familiar Face, Not-So-Familiar Name
Olympian and U.S. National Team member Kelsi Dahlia won the women’s 100m fly on Thursday and finished second in the 200m fly on Friday. She’s been one of the United States’ top butterflyers for a couple years now, but if her name’s not familiar with you, that’s because you might know her better as Kelsi Worrell.
“I’ve decided to change my name,” Worrell – er, Dahlia – said. “I got married back in October. It’s been so fun, so awesome. My husband’s name is Thomas Dahlia, so I’m taking his last name. We both came to the University of Louisville at the same time, so we’ve been together over five years now, and it’s been great ever since.”
Now She Knows
Olympian Molly Hannis has turned in two of the top 10 times in the world this year in the women’s 100m breast – once back in March at the TYR Pro Swim Series at Atlanta (1:06.05), and again finishing first in that event here in Mesa (1:06.65).
She’s obviously been putting in some serious training at Tennessee Aquatics, but she’s also worked with the University of Tennessee’s team as a coach here and there.
“I’ve been trying to do both – it’s challenging,” Hannis said. “I didn’t quite realize how much it takes to be a coach. I have a huge appreciation for all the coaches out there. I walked always from SECs feeling like, ‘holy crap.’ Coaching is a sport in itself. I wanted to treat SECs like a training trip – go, and train and coach and help out, but it was really, really exhausting. It was cool to see it from both sides.”
She Might Be Small, but She’s Mighty
Standing at 5 feet, six inches, Olympian Hali Flickinger is on the smaller side. It’s for that reason she doesn’t feel like a veteran, especially among her taller teammates on the U.S. National Team.
“Probably because of my size,” Flickinger said. “I still feel like I’m one of those little kids.”
But her size didn’t stop her from winning the women’s 200m butterfly Friday night – though she did have some trouble in those 40-mph gusts on Thursday.
“I honestly almost started laughing during my race because it was so bad” Flickinger said. “I literally think I went backwards during it. I really don’t think I’m built to work with 20-some mph winds. It was so fun, though.”
The Keys to Success
Nathan Adrian won the men’s 100m free Friday, and at his press conference, someone asked him what he thought of Caeleb Dressel’s recent performance at the NCAA Championships.
“What is so amazing about USA Swimming – what it’s done year after year – is someone’s going to step up,” Adrian said. “Because through and through – whether it be the junior levels, or coming up through college or coming up to the national level – you’re just never safe with your spot. I think that hunger and drive to succeed produces some amazing athletes.”
Then There’s This
Words can’t describe it, so just watch. Don’t worry, they’re joking. We think.