Things that caught my eye on the first day of finals...
Chloe Sutton continued her great start to 2010 by winning the 400 Free in 4:07.41. The time puts her 2nd in the world this year behind only Jazmin Carlin (4:06.41 from GBR vs GER Duel). Sutton is clearly improving. Last year her best time was a suited 4:07.20. Once again she was the fastest swimmer in the water tonight but Katie Hoff showed how much Sutton can improve on her turns. A rough estimate would put her losing 0.4-0.5 seconds per turn in the early stages of the race, if Sutton can improve her turns (she comes up too early and loses all momentum from the wall) she could challenge anyone in the world.
Very impressed with Ariana Kukors in the 200 IM. Kukors doesn't have any obvious weaknesses. Her turns/underwaters are great. Stroke technique looks solid. A rematch with Steph Rice will be fascinating. If I had to choose between the two I'd be siding with Kukors at this stage. Julia Smit has yet to make her LC debut in 2010, but is tearing it up at the college meets and will be a threat to both Kukors and Rice this year.
I'd also love to see what Jessica Hardy could do on a 200 IM these days. Hardy clearly has an incredible breaststroke, but add to that her world class freestyle speed (winner of the 50m Free tonight in 25.09) and an impressive butterfly (sub 60 seconds tonight) she nearly has the whole set.
Cesar Cielo looked sharp and very, very fast tonight. As did Garrett Weber-Gale. From the video I was watching Cielo had a clear lead, it then cut out so I missed the finish. I caught the times though with Cielo winning in a world leading 22.13 and Weber-Gale posting the third quickest time this year with a 22.24. Either Weber-Gale had a great finish or Cielo didn't have the best of finishes because there looked like there was more than a tenth between them with 15m to go.