Indianapolis has this sports backup thing perfected. Cody Miller did his Matt Hasselbeck impression Friday night, helping Team USA swimmers to a 74-48 lead over Europe in the Duel in the Pool at the Natatorium at IUPUI.
Miller, 23, an Indiana University graduate, set an American record of 2 minutes, 2.33 seconds in the 200-meter breaststroke. He beat world record-holder Daniel Gyurta of Hungary and clipped five-hundredths off the American mark set by Kevin Cordes two years ago at Glasgow, Scotland.
Who needs Andrew Luck when you have, well, Cody Miller?
U.S. coach Jack Bauerle of Georgia said not until Friday morning was Cordes taken out of the lineup. Team USA wanted Cordes fresh for the breaststroke leg of the 400 medley relay because relays are so important in this format: seven points for first place, zero for second.
So in went Miller as No. 3 breaststroker … and down went the American record.
“Good coaching there, huh?” Bauerle joked. “We had him as No. 4.”
Miller won his first national title at 100 meters last year but said he has always considered himself a 200-meter breaststroker. In fact, he broke down the race beforehand and “had that 2:02 in my head.”
He had his own contingent of fans, including his mother, fiancé, and Hoosiers who train with him.
“It’s like my hometown pool,” Miller said. “I live in Bloomington and come up to Indy all the time. I’ve been coming up here for years. Some of my best races have been in this pool. It means a lot.”
The two-day meet resumes at 2 p.m. today with 16 more events.
Americans don’t often race in a 25-meter pool and have few chances to break such short course records. Still, for them to break six American records and one world record — in the women’s 400 medley relay — was a windfall.
“I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t think that was going to happen,” Bauerle said.
Miller wasn’t the only late lineup switch. Ryan Lochte volunteered to swim the opening 400 individual medley, and Bauerle said he cemented the entry before Lochte could change his mind. The coach didn’t want the Americans to fall behind early in scoring, and Lochte came through with victory after swimming on world-record pace through 200 meters.
“Momentum, it’s no different than any other sport,” Bauerle said. “You get momentum, and it’s really important.”
Another turning point came in the women’s 100 freestyle, in which 19-year-old Simone Manuel won in an American record of 51.69. She and Lia Neal were 1-2 over the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Manuel also swam a 51.23 anchor, overtaking Kromowidjojo, for the foursome that set a medley world record of 3:45.20. Europe, in 3:45.46, was also under the former world record of 3:45.56 set by a U.S. team in 2011.
“The time itself is a great indicator of where I am right now,” Manuel said. “I wasn’t really trying to break the record. It just kind of happened.”
Adrian comes ‘home’ for meet
If Duel in the Pool had been anywhere else, Nathan Adrian said he probably would not have participated. But he has family in Indianapolis.
Adrian, the 2012 Olympic champion in the 100 freestyle, won that event in 46.57 and swam a 45.56 anchor leg for a medley relay team that set an American record.
He wanted to be here to celebrate the birthday of his grandfather, John Adrian, who turned 93 on Dec. 1.
“He’s going so strong,” Nathan said. “He is sharp as a tack. He still goes, and he walks. He probably takes more steps on the pedometer than I do a day. I certainly swim farther than he does.”
Carmel High School senior Claire Adams received one of the loudest cheers when Team USA was introduced. She finished fourth in the 200 backstroke in 2:02.47, less than a second behind Missy Franklin, the 2012 Olympic champion. Adams’ time puts her No. 5 on the all-time U.S. list for short course meters.
Call Star reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.