Tom Shields Tops Strong 100 Fly Field in Charlotte On 52.1 Ahead Of Lochte & Phelps

Tom Shields cruised to victory in the 200 butterfly at the USA College Challenge. [Photo: Peter Bick]

Tom Shields defeated Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the 100 butterfly at the Charlotte stop of the Arena Pro Series while Katinka Hosszu doubled in the 200 freestyle and 400 medley.

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Tom Shields defeated Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the 100 butterfly at the Charlotte stop of the Arena Pro Series while Katinka Hosszu doubled in the 200 freestyle and 400 medley.



Phelps goes 52.59 this as oppose to last year where he went 52.13 , not the best but he already swam the 200 free in 1:49.12 so overall it’s decent , I’m really hoping he can go 50.9 this summer and then get down to 50.5 or faster for next year .


@Cranman: I’ve heard Phelps/Bowman state in interviews that, since Phelps was not doing a heavy load of training he felt “rested” most of the last season. These times are comparable to what he was doing back in 2007 when he was working hard, so I agree that they are decent overall. By the way, I share your hope that we’ll see a 50.9 from him at US Nationals!


It’s hard to be impressed by Hosszu demolition these days, but wow color me impressed with her 1:55 exploit.


@Roy: Katie Meili may end up helping the US in Rio, but this year she’ll be at the Pan Am Games.

Currently, the US woman ranked highest in the 100 breast (Meili), 100 fly (Worrel), 200 IM (Leverenz), and 100 free (Coughlin – she also just swam the World #9 ranked 100 back today) are going to Pan Ams! Of course, these rankings will change by the end of the season (eg: after Franklin and Manuel swim rested LC races), but the US may not end up with our fastest 4×100 Women’s Medley Relay in Kazan!

Viva la Bang

Looks like MP is just going through the motions at this point because he is not swimming at worlds this year, next year will be very different!


The young MP used to swim fast all the time, tapered or not. His relatively slower times at this point in his career are just due to heavy training this year. Last year at only 5x a week he could swim faster in season. The most important thing we learned was from a recent interview where Phelps stated his practice times are matching 2007-8 levels. That bodes very well for rested meets. Nationals should be exciting!

Bad Anon

Great things happening at SwimMac. Katie Meilis time shows how early trials are just a bad idea. Then on Natalie Coughlin, wonder how much faster she can go with rest, in 2011 she wound up winning bronze at worlds in 59.1, she’ll reliable on medley relay. And Coventry looking good, 28.23 on 50back is a good sign for her 100. David Marsh is doing a great job with team elite!

Outside Smoker

US swimming policy in selecting this summer’s big meets (Worlds, Pan Ams, World Unis) based on last summer is entirely sound. While it may not give the strongest team on the day at these meets, it ensures a full year training block in the year prior to the Olympic season. It means ALL the proven stars get their work in. It also means potential stars yet to break through don’t chase short term places on a Worlds team – as an aside, I would say this helps swimmers like Ledecky who burst through in Olympic year.

USA will do well in Kazan and better in Rio.
See the past few Olympic cycles for evidence.

As a British swimming fan, I’m surprised more nations have not taken this on board.
If you look at 2010 – we rested for Easter Trials then summer Euros then October Commonwealths. Then swimmers had a short break. Then in 2011 rested for Easter trials then summer worlds. All those breaks in training and resting up take their toll. In the same timeframe USA rested for summer trials in 2010 and bounced on to pan pacs. Then did a full year to 2011. No need to detail how 2012 went for both relative to expectations (not each other). While some will rightly say the reasons for 2012 results are long and complex but there is no doubt that physical preparation over years of a career is a major one.

Outside Smoker

As for Phelps, his times mean very little on their own. Context is everything. If rested or fresh they are a bit slow. If in hard work and broken down they may be anything from good to great. MP and BB know the context and hence the value of these swims – we won’t find out till summer. It’s fun speculating though!

Again as an aside, I’ve always admired many of the top US stars (Lochte is a prime example here, particularly under Coach Troy) who go to these in-season meets clearly broken and in heavy training. They swim pretty slowly by their standards and often miss the championship final. BUT they are able to set ego and reputation to the side and view the meet as part of a part of a process. They invariably come good when it counts. I’m sure I recall Lochte going 2.09 ish for 200 back in the heats somewhere – yes he who became 2008 Olympic champion.

Craig Lord

Outside smoker, while I understand your point and even agree with it to a fair extent, you don’t mention one of the fundamental sticking points to long-term prep, so I thought I’d raise it: the funding system that dictates (and incentivise) what happens to athletes on the way to an Olympic Games.
Those who don’t make an intl team this year in GB, for example, will have 1.5 years of preparation ahead of them with no financial support (funding is granted on the result at the big event but you have to get on the team to have a shot at that, of course, so a great deal of emphasis goes on qualification).
Lacking funding does not mean death but fair to say it that ‘Sometimes it works (hunger a good thing, relatively speaking…), sometimes it doesn’t’. In the US, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t but the numbers are wholly different and to some extent the US can afford to have some talent fall by the wayside in the knowledge that there is quite a lot of it to choose from coming through the swim program in numbers that far outweigh what does and even could happen in Denmark and even more populous nations such as Spain, France, etc. Of course, the work still has to be done, the excellence still has to be a part of it all, but the USA is far more able to bank on being left with one of the, if not the, strongest forces team-wide in world swimming coming the big one.
In Britain and other smaller nations with a much lower base of talent recruitment, you have to be a little more careful. That’s not to say I agree with the funding models in place (as you note, those can dictate a lot more stops and starts) but fair to note their impact on the decisions people and programs make.
Funding apart, one of the things that stands out in the USA example is that an ‘off-year’ is what for many others would be a soaring triumph. Olympic year is king – and it shows. And that is something Bill Sweetenham tried to get across and something that the current crop of coaches in Britain do indeed work at, Bill Furniss at the helm noting that 2014 must not be seen as a ‘result’ but a means to an end game in the way that things play out in the USA, precisely as you note.


Outside Smoker,

USA ALWAYS did well (drug-fuelled competitors aside) in the Olympics, regardless of when they conducted trials for prior world championships. That is not evidence if early trials (by one year) for worlds is good or not.

Also, USA only started regularly early worlds trials for 2007 Worlds when Australia held it in March due to winter and all.

In addition, you can also make argument that Worlds experience is also good for young swimmers before Olympics. katie Ledecky was going to win Olympics gold regardless if she had world championships experience. I can also equally make the claim that Missy Franklin won 4 olympics gold because she learned how to handle the pressure from her 2011 Shanghai experience.

Again, USA will always come up on top due to their deep deep and large size of talent to pick from and from wealth of structure, facilities and knowledge. USA can hold trials for world championships two years in advance and they will still perform very well at the Olympics.


Phelps won´tbe in Kazan..

Also I would add Czerniak Hadler on the mix..


I hope Czerniak regains his 2011 form, as I want some competition for Le Clos.


I am not a world-class coach, and therefore do not have the knowledge or credentials to effectively argue against the US having its Trials for 2015 Worlds in 2014; however, I agree with aswimfan that experience at the highest level is quite valuable to success on the Olympic stage, and I concur that Franklin may not have been able to handle the pressures of London as well if she had not competed in Shanghai.

My question is, why does it have to be all or nothing? Why couldn’t the US have Trials a year early but also have a process so that swimmers who are not able to be at their best, for whatever reason, at a Trials held so early, can still earn a spot on the World Team? Maybe the #1 person is assured their place, but a Challenge Trials could be held for the #2 spot. I think there are merits to an early Trials, but also merits to a later Trials, so why try to find an intermediate route to get the benefits of both?

I also think the US’s success in 2012 was caused by multiple factors, and it is MUCH too simplistic to draw a conclusion that holding a WC Trials in 2010 instead of 2011 played axmajor part in it! For one thing the “success” people point to amounts to


(cont’d)…the performance of a very small number of individuals, some of whom were unable to swim their medal winning events in Shanghai because they were casualties of the early Trials. Grevers, for example, did not make the squad for Shanghai but still managed to get to the gold in the long run; he might well have won in 2011 if he had been on the US Team. My point is that the number of individuals involved is too small to draw significant conclusions. The fact is that the US may leave its best women’s 100 fly and breast racers home to race at Pan Am’s, and may end up third or off the podium in Kazan. Also, there is a very good chance that Andrew Seliskar may have a break-through year in the 200 fly and swim faster than at least one of the US athletes in Kazan. I predict there will be a number of US swimmers in Toronto who will swim faster than their National Teammates at World Champ’s.


(Sorry, I hit “submit” by mistake before I was able to complete or proofread my comment!)

Outside Smoker

I guess the main point I was trying to make may have got lost in the specifics – simply longer training blocks with fewer taper breaks over the long term will be better for elite performance. It so happens that the U.S. model is in line with this. I am not necessarily supporting late (June ish) trials over early (March-April) trials.

Craig you have hit the nail on the head when it comes to funding and swimmers needing to prove themselves to retain it. This requires considered and strong leadership fom those who hold the purse strings, particularly in smaller nations – GB can’t afford to lose a year from a potential star because they missed a key time due illness or injury…..I’m fine with the ruthlessness shown to those towards the end of their careers that are not going to get an Olympic medal now. I’m watching with real interest the Tim Jones led youth programme (eg Japan trip) that has echoes of Bill Sweetenhams fastrack girls/ offshore boys of old. When one of them has a sluggish season I’m hoping to see a “keep the faith” funding and support approach….we shall see.

Craig Lord

Yes, Outside Smoker – that last kind of support you mention is really important, legion the examples of those who plateaued, worked through it and came good down the seasons.


Outside smoker,

March – April trials can never happen in the USA due to NCAA and all that.
NCAA champs are in March, and they cannot expect college swimmers to hold their taper for another month.
May or June is even impossible because then you expect college swimmer to taper 3 times ; for NCAA, trials, and worlds. All within 5 to 6 months.

Outside Smoker

You are dead right aswimfan about the scheduling……but will that not be an issue in 2016……or might the best college swimmers not fully taper and shave for NCAAs to save a bit for US Olympic trials?

As an aside… do you think David Nolan and Will Licon will do long course… you see either of them on the plane to Rio?

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