Not only are the US Nationals the fastest nationals in the world, they are also the best covered. I could do a standard play-by-play recap of all events but that has already been done here, here, and here. As usual you also have the pleasure of reading all about the effects the evil suits had on swimming here.
In terms of the 'swimming' done during the race Sutton was clearly faster than both Hoff and Schmitt. If that race was held in a 400m pool or even a 100m pool she would have won by a distance. Sutton gave Hoff half a meter at every single turn. Despite this Sutton finished in 4:06.33, 0.83 down on Hoff and good for 8th in the world this year.
This is what makes Sutton such an exciting swimmer. There is so much improvement that can be made on her races technically. Turns are amongst the easiest improvements that can be made. Even if she never gets them to the level of Hoff, if she can lessen the damage done on each turn she could dominate the women's freestyle from 400m-10k for many years.
...but the A final didn't showcase a 15 year old boy racing to a 3:53.04. Evan Pinion, who last year broke two of Michael Phelps' 13-14 yr old age group records, is now ranked 54th in the world this year. Just incase you were skim reading, Pinion is 15! He wouldn't have been eligible (too young and too non-European) for the recent European Junior Championships 400m Final and still would have finished second.
Caitlin Leverenz (6th in the world) and Morgan Scroggy (8th in the world) really stepped up taking second and third respectively. For the rest of the field we were able to get some clues about where they are at:-
Watch out for Missy Franklin. Franklin had the fastest freestyle split of the entire race and looks on top form in Irvine.
Elizabeth Beizel and Pelton had solid if not spectacular swims. Worringly for Pelton her backstroke split of 33.32 ranked only sixth in the final last night, a strange fact given her strong showings on 100m and 200m Back so far this year.
What happened to Julia Smit? She went from setting NCAA and American records back in February over 200yd and 400yd IM to finishing eigth in the final with 2:14.01. Last year she missed the final at LC World's but broke the SC World Record. Until she proves otherwise, I'm seeing Smit as a short course specialist.
I wonder whether Lochte will get close to Phelps' textile mark of 4:06.22 at Pan Pacs. He was 3.76 secs off that in the final, with the majority of that time lost on the freestyle leg.
Phelps - 25.56/55.05/1:26.70/1:58.18/2:33.30/3:09.33/3:38.43/4:06.22
Lochte - 26.02/55.95/1:27.02/1:58.06/2:34.54/3:10.75/3:41.35/4:09.98