INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WOOD) — The next wave of American swimmers delivered a command performance Friday night.
Now those more familiar names such as Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte can finish the job.
After the U.S. took a big, early lead and watched it steadily get trimmed, 19-year-old Simone Manuel delivered a clutch touch in the all-or-nothing 400-meter medley relay to break the world record with teammates Courtney Bartholomew of Holland, Michigan, Katie Meili and Kelsi Worrell — and help the Americans take a 74-48 lead at the Duel in the Pool.
The final 16 events will be held Saturday.
“We had four American records and one world record and, to be honest, we didn’t think that was going to happen,” coach Jack Bauerle said. “I told them not to race times, race people.”
It worked perfectly in this festive atmosphere
With music blaring, the lights dimmed and temporary bleachers moved closer to one end of the 25-meter pool, spotlights glared as the competitors lined the long sides of Indiana University’s short-course pool during introductions — a scene seemed better suited for the NBA game across town.
Of course, Franklin and Lochte drew the biggest shrieks even though the two Olympic gold medalists played smaller roles Friday.
Franklin was third in her only event of the night, the 200 backstroke. She finished behind Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu and teammate Courtney Bartholomew of Holland, Michigan.
Lochte got the first U.S. win of the night taking the men’s 400 individual medley in 4 minutes, 2.78 seconds, the fifth-fastest time in the world this season. But he faded in the 200 back and wound up third.
“It was my first time doing the 400 in a very long time,” he said. “In the backstroke, I felt I was kind of in survival mode. I felt good for the first 100 and then felt like someone jumped on my back for the second 100.”
But it was the lesser-known Americans — Bartholomew, Katie Meili, Kelsi Worrell and Manuel — who kept the Americans’ chances of going 7-0 in the duel afloat with a gritty, performance that went almost stroke for stroke for the entire medley relay.
When it ended, both teams were under world record time. But Manuel touched in 3:45.20. And even though Ranomi Kromowidjojo finished in 3:45.46, the U.S. got seven points and the Europeans none.
The men’s medley had a slightly easier time winning the night’s final race, pushing a 12-point lead to 26.
“We came in thinking this would be a very even meet,” Bauerle said. “And they have a chance to come in tomorrow and make it very, very interesting.”
It was an incredibly fast first night by any measure.
Hosszu swam three times and set U.S. Open records in all three — the 400 IM (4:21.21), the 200 back (1:59.75) and her 100 backstroke leg on the medley relay (55.71).
“I was able to go out really fast and hit my turns well,” Hosszu said. “And I always like to race against Missy.”
Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen set another open record in the 100 butterfly (55.10) and Britain’s Jazmin Carlin tied an open record in the 400 free (3:58.07).
In the men’s 400 free, the top four finishers all came in under the previous U.S. Open record time, but Britain’s James Guy won the race in 3:37.78. Americans Conor Dwyer and Connor Jaeger were next in 3:38.10 and 3:38.36.
Four American records fell, too.
Manuel recorded a 51.69 in the 100 free, almost two-tenths of a second faster than Natalie Coughlin’s five-year-old mark.
Cody Miller, a late sub for Kevin Cordes in the 200 breaststroke, finished in 2:02.33, five-hundreths of a second faster than Cordes’ previous mark. Tom Shields broke his own record in the 100 fly, winning in 48.63, and Worrell broke Dana Vollmer’s American record in the 100 fly despite finishing second in 55.42.
Now it’s up to the more familiar names to complete the mission the budding stars set up.
“I think we realized that breaking records is all fun,” Manuel said. “But winning is more important to us.”