Katie Ledecky and Ryan Lochte won their second events in as many days at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz., prevailing in the 200m freestyle on Friday night.
Ledecky, 17, clocked a personal best 1 minute, 56.27 seconds to edge 2012 Olympic champion Allison Schmitt by .63 of a second. It’s a key result for Ledecky, who is the reigning world champion in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and Olympic champion in the 800m freestyle.
Ledecky actually qualified to swim the 200m free at last year’s World Championships, but dropped it from her program. Missy Franklin was the only American faster than Ledecky in the 200m free last year. The 200m free appears to be the only event in which they could go head to head moving forward. Franklin is not competing in Mesa.
“I’m just getting stronger and doing a little better in the shorter races,” Ledecky said on Universal Sports. “I’m really happy with how my training’s paying off with those.”
Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist, took his 200m free in 1:49.48, coming from behind after 150m to clip South African Darian Townsend by .46. Lochte, coming off aggravating a knee injury in February, scratched out of the 200m backstroke final.
Olympic 100m free champion Nathan Adrian won the 50m free in 21.73. Michael Phelps swam butterfly in the 50m free in afternoon prelims, not advancing to the night finals session.
Natalie Coughlin, who owns 12 Olympic medals over three Games, was third in the women’s 50m free, .38 behind winner Cheyenne Coffman.
2012 Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Beisel won the 400m individual medley in 4:39.68, more than three seconds ahead of second-place Becca Mann, a rising star at 16. Caitlin Leverenz, who was sixth at the London Games, took fourth. Beisel also took third in the 200m backstroke behind winner Clara Smiddy.
Two-time world silver medalist Tyler Clary similarly dominated the men’s 400m IM by more than three seconds over Conor Dwyer. Clary also finished second in the 200m back behind Russian Arkady Vyatchanin.
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