The swimming elite were out in full force when the Arena Pro Swim Series concluded in Santa Clara this weekend.
The four-day swim meet June 18-21 saw some of the best and most decorated current athletes swim for the chance to win a $10,000 series championship bonus from USA Swimming and the opportunity to receive a one-year lease on a BMW ActiveHybrid 3.
Surprisingly, only one record was broken at the meet. Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin set an American and US Open record in the 50-meter backstroke on June 19. Coughlin, 32, set a personal best by more than half a second.
“I think it’s a good indicator that I’m headed in the right direction,” she said. “I’ve been really consistent and strong all season, and I never really swim the 50 back so it’s hard to say what’s good for me, but I’m happy with that.”
Olympian Michael Phelps, who had a slow series start, ended the Santa Clara meet on a high note, winning the 200-meter fly on June 20 and the 200-meter individual medley on June 21.
“I’m just happy to end the meet and have the  free,  IM and  fly be faster than I’ve been all year,” he said. “That’s kind of what we wanted to do – to be able to progress throughout the year. I’m happy where I am now.”
Although Caughlin and Phelps, 29, had strong outings, their totals weren’t enough to win the $10,000 grand prize, which went to Olympian Conor Dwyer with 61 points and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu with 93 points. This was Hosszu and Dwyer’s second straight year winning the series; however, only the top finishing U.S. athletes were eligible for the BMW lease. That title went to Olympian Caitlin Leverenz with 43 points, who secured the title for the second straight year.
Dwyer, 26, won five events and had 11 runner-up finishes, while Hosszu, 26, won 15 races over the course of the six-city series. Leverenz, 24, finished first in three events and second in eight for a total of 42 points.
Locally, Santa Clara Swim Club had a bit of a rough outing, with the team of Cathy Teng, Sandra Soe, Cat Ladd and Nicole Oliva placing sixth in the Women’s 400 Free Relay, team of Kyler VanSwol, Aiden Burns, Cooper Burrill and Michael Nunan placing fifth in the Men’s 400 Free Relay, team of Soe, Teng, Stefanie Ting and Sarah Shimomura placing fifth in the Women’s 400 Medley Relay and team of VanSwol, Nunan, Burns and Eric Ress placing fifth in the Men’s 400 Medley Relay. No individual swimmers placed in the top nine of any race.
Many of the swimmers participating in Santa Clara’s meet will go on to compete in the World Championships, Pan-American Games, World University Games and the junior World Championships before the best of the best meet in Brazil next year for the Summer Olympics.
Full meet results are available at http://www.fastlanetek.com/swmeets/2015_06_18_SCSC_APSS/.