SWIMMING: Sensational 1:56.01 win for Allison Schmitt in Tyr Pro Swim 200 m Free

Back in the mix: Triple Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt

/Updated to include Sunday’s results/Early-season meets are hardly predictors of summer success, but Allison Schmitt served notice that she is going to be a factor once again in the 200 m Freestyle.

Now 29, Schmitt won the 200 m Free at the second Tyr Pro Swim Series meet in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1:56.01, defeating sprint superstar Simone Manuel (1:57.25) and an all-star field including Melanie Margalis, Regan Smith, Canada’s Penny Oleksiak, Madisyn Cox and Hali Flickinger!

The time was special: her third fastest since 2012, when she was a triple Olympic gold medalist in this event and two relays! She later finished second in the 400 m Free.

The home crowd was thrilled with an upset victory by Tennessee’s Erika Brown, who recorded a rare win over World Champion Manuel in the 50 m Free, 24.57-24.63.

Backstroke world-record holder Smith also impressed with a 58.26 win in the 100 m Back, the no. 12 performance of all time and the fastest time ever recorded in January (or February or March, according to Swimming World Magazine!). Smith also set a national age-group record for 17-18 year-olds in the 100 m Fly, finishing second in 57.86, behind Amanda Kendall. Smith also won the 200 m Back in 2:05.94.

Freestyler Erica Sullivan won three events, the 400-800-1,500 m Freestyles. Double-event winners during the meet included Breaststroke star Annie Lazor in the 100 and 200 m, Zane Grothe in the 400 and 1,500 m Frees (and second in the 800 m Free), Carson Foster in the 200 m Free and 200 m Medley, plus Cox in the 200 m and 400 m Medley. Full results here.

The second FINA Champions Swim Series has come and gone for 2019, with both events held in China. This is a meet series with a big payday: just four swimmers per event, paid $10,000-8,000-6,000-5,000, plus a $3,000 appearance fee for every athlete.

At Shenzhen on 14-15 January, China’s Jaiyu Xu won the men’s 50 and 100 Backstroke and teammate Xiang Liu won the women’s 50 m Back and the 50 m Free. Freestyle star Yang Sun, awaiting a ruling on his eligibility from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, won the 400 m Free over Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys, 3:44.07-3:46.62, but finished second to Rapsys in the 200 m Free (1:46.50-1:45.53).

The workhorse – a role she is well acquainted with – was Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who was in six events, winning the 200 m Fly and 200 m Medley, runner-up in the 200 m Back and fourth in the 100 m Fly, 100 m Back and 200 m Free. That was worth $43,000, plus the appearance for a $46,000 take over two days.

In Beijing on Saturday and Sunday, Hosszu won the 200 m Back again and had seconds in the 200 m Fly, 200 m Medley and 200 m Free, plus a fourth in the 100 m Fly and 100 m Back. That was worth another $44,000 and the appearance fee. However, her second in the 200 m Medley to Canada’s Sydney Pickrem by 2:09.26-2:09.93, was her first loss in international competition across 56 meets since April of 2017!

The best swim of the meet came from Japanese star Daiya Seto, who won the 200 m Fly in 1:52.53, the no. 3 performance ever. He also finished second in the 200 m Medley.

Double winners include Russia’s Vladimir Morozov in the 50-100 m Free and Yang Sun, who took the 200 and 400 m Freestyles.

China’s Liu won the 50 m Free in an Asian Record 24.03, a 1/100th improvement on her prior best; she stays at no. 11 all-time. American Michael Andrew scored his first win in the two meets with a 24.92 victory in the 50 m Back.

The overall medals leader in the two meets was Dutch sprinter Ramomi Kromowidjojo, who won nine overall (4-3-2), including wins in both meets in the 50 m Fly and the Mixed 4×100 m Freestyle. Full results from Shenzhen are here; from Beijing are here.