2015 U.S. Nationals: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap

If he hadn’t already done it with his 200 fly, Michael Phelps fired the shot heard around the world last night when he bested Chad Le Clos’ time to become the fastest man of 2015. Phelps smashed his season best to clock a 50.45 in the 100 fly. His journey back to the top continues today with the 200 I.M. He’ll have names like Gunnar Bentz, Will Licon, and David Nolan to keep him company.

Also for the men this morning is the 100 free, which will see 50 free National Champion Caeleb Dressel back in action after a stellar 21.53 in the 50 last night. The event will also feature Jack Conger, Maxime Rooney, and top seed Michael Chadwick.

The women will get things started with the 200 fly, which is led by Hali Flickinger. Also look out for Cassidy Bayer and Kelsi Worrell to move up in that event. Flickinger will be swimming back-to-back events, with the 200 back being the next women’s event. Australia’s Belinda Hocking is coming in as the top seed in that race. Look for Lisa Bratton, Clara Smiddy, and Megan Romano to vie for a spot in finals as well.

In the afternoon following prelims, the distance swimmers will race in the prelims of the women’s 800 and men’s 1500.

2015 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

MEN’S 100 FREE

Caeleb Dressel continues to show stellar form in the sprint freestyle this morning, with a 48.98 in prelims to qualify 1st. That’s just barely off his best, and the fastest he’s been since his 48.97 at the Junior World Championships in 2013. He’s now one of just four Americans who have flat started under 49 this year.

Another one of those men, Michael Chadwick, held the fastest seed time of 48.87 coming into the meet. He put up a solid 49.26 to qualify 2nd, and will look to challenge Dressel in the final tonight.

3rd through 5th were separated by just 0.02, led by William Copeland (49.47). Cullen Jones made his way to 4th with a 49.48, just in front of Joe Bonk (49.49).

The next swimmer into the final was Jack Conger (49.51). He’s already been 49.0 at the World University Games this summer, and put up some monster 47 relay splits as well at that meet. He may have it in him to win this event.

David Nolan was very close to his best time to qualify 7th. He hit the wall at 49.63 to out-swim BJ Hornikel, who grabbed the 8th spot in 49.64. Nolan has been looking for a long course breakthrough, and we definitely got a glimpse of it when he placed 3rd in the 100 fly last night. He’s shown some promise in the 100 yard free in relays, so it’s possible he’ll translate that into finals tonight.

PDF Results.

WOMEN’S 200 FLY

One of the most impressive swims of the morning came in the 200 fly. Continuing her trend of best times at this meet, Kelsi Worrell did it big this morning in the 200 fly. She dropped almost 4 seconds from her best time to qualify in 2:08.61. Worrell took the win in the 100 fly on day 1 easily, but she’ll have a lot more competition in the longer fly race.

Hali Flickinger was very close to Worrell’s time, qualifying in a 2:08.80. She’s has been having a great meet so far, swimming best times and placing in the top 8 in 4 different events. She’s shown some improvement in her fly already this week, dropping a half second in the 100.

Behind Flickinger, also a threat in the final tonight will be 15-year-old Cassidy Bayer. She cracked 2:09 for the first time to qualify 3rd in 2:08.92. Bayer is a member of the U.S. Junior National team and has been a rising butterfly star since setting the 11-12 NAG records in the 50, 100, and 200 fly.

Hannah Kukurugya nabbed the 4th spot for finals with a 2:10.19. She put a decent gap between herself and the 5th place qualifier, Victoria Edwards (2:11.32). Katherine Mills was just a tenth behind her in 2:11.42.

Kentucky’s Christina Bechtel will take lane 1 tonight after posting a 2:11.65. This past spring, she became Kentucky’s first SEC Champion since 2007 in the 200 yard fly. Alys Margaret Thomas rounded out the final in 2:11.75.

PDF Results.

MEN’S 200 I.M.

Despite missing the final in the 400 I.M. on Thursday, Will Licon stepped up to the blocks for the 200 I.M. as a man on a mission. He came into prelims with a best time of 2:01.44, but was ripe for a big swim after showing incredible progress at NCAAs. Licon smashed through the 2:00 barrier to take the top seed in 1:58.50, surpassing 2nd seed Austin Surhoff (1:58.80).

The 3rd seed went to Michael Phelps, who’s been on a roll since Thursday. He looked smooth the whole way through, but his 2nd 100 looked particularly easy. Phelps clocked the 3rd fastest time overall at 1:59.63, with splits of 25.45/30.24/34.35/29.59. He’s been making big drops from prelims to finals, so look for him to race for the world’s fastest time tonight. That currently belongs to Ryan Lochte at 1:55.81.

Gunnar Bentz, 400 I.M. National Champion, will take the 4th spot in finals after finishing behind Phelps in 2:00.93. He’s just ahead of Spain’s Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (2:01.14) and Australia’s Travis Mahoney (2:01.26).

Max Litchfield grabbed 7th in 2:01.47. Behind him, Ryan Harty dropped almost 3 seconds to earn the 8th spot in the final at 2:01.78.

Interestingly, David Nolan did not show up for this race. Nolan recently set the American Record in the yards version of this event.

PDF Results.

WOMEN’S 200 BACK

Kentucky’s SEC Champion Danielle Galyer clocked a new personal best to take the lead going into finals of the 200 back. Her 2:10.48 gave her a half second over 100 back National Champion Claire Adams (2:10.98). Adams set the World Junior record in the 100 back at this meet, and will need to swim under 2:0.8.02 if she wants to take Daria Ustinova’s record in the 200.

Lisa Bratton grabbed the 3rd spot in 2:11.40, just ahead of Megan Romano (2:11.55). Both have been under 2:10 before, and have a chance to take the win in finals. Bratton boasts a 2:09.31 from this summer’s World University Games. Romano holds a best of 2:09.08 from the 2012 U.S. Open. Her fastest since then is a 2:11.26 from Arena Pro Swim Austin, but she looked solid today to qualify for her first championship final.

Erin Earley (2:11.89) and Melanie Klaren (2:11.94) dipped under 2:12 to take 5th and 6th out of prelims. 7th went to USA National Teamer Clara Smiddy (2:12.09), who’s coming off bronze medals in the backstroke events at the 2015 Pan American Games. Hali Flickinger (2:12.32) slipped into the final as 8th seed, right after swimming the 200 fly this morning.

PDF Results.

WOMEN’S 800 FREE

Sarah Henry and Sierra Schmidt were locked in a tight battle in the final circle seeded heat of the 800 free prelims. Schmidt led through 400 meters, but Henry came up on the back half to hold on for the win and top seed at 8:35.64. Schmidt will take the 2nd seed, just a tenth behind at 8:35.74.

Stephanie Peacock qualified 3rd at 8:37.90. Peacock has been as fast as 8:24.36, but was set back after battling with some health issues towards the end of her NCAA career. She has the potential to be a factor in the race for gold in the final.

15-year-old Gabrielle Kopenski was also under 8:40, clocking an 8:39.87 for 4th. She was just ahead of Maddy Tegner (8:40.04) and Lindsay Vrooman (8:40.12). Vrooman was an 8:26.67 at the World University Games, so look for her to move up as well.

Heat 5 brought a very exciting race between Sarah Gibson and 16-year-old Joy Field. They touched a tenth apart to earn the 7th and 8th seeds respectively, 8:41.58 to 8:41.68.

MEN’S 1500 FREE

After winning gold in the 10km open water race at the FINA World Championships, Jordan Wilimovsky got right back in the pool. He came to San Antonio as the top seed in the men’s 1500. He swam the top time out of prelims with a 15:13.28.

True Sweetser swam to a best by 4.5 seconds to qualify 2nd in 15:14.14. Also with a best time, Zane Grothe dropped a massive 12.5 second to take the 3rd spot in the final at 15:19.28. Joining them under 15:20, PJ Ransford clocked a 15:19.83 for 4th.

16-year-old Chris Yeager clocked a 15:21.04 in a later heat to move into 5th place. That was a huge improvement on the 15:37.99 he entered the heats with.

Logan Houck (15:21.34), Taylor Abbott (15:21.91), and Jacob Ores (15:22.80) will round out the final, unless the swimmers outside of the top heats make big drops from their seed times. Evan Pinion, Chris Wieser, and Chris Swanson are a few names to look out for in this afternoon session.

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Hulk Swim

Mens 100 free… let’s go. Gonna find out how our relay stands after today. We need 3 guys under 48.5 tonight for me to breath easier.

Lane Four

Me too!

Friend

Hoping for 48.5 or lower for both dressel and conger. 1:54 for Phelps would be great. Expect a breakout for Nolan 1:57 or lower

Lane Four

David is long overdue, so I am really hoping you are right about the 1:57 (or faster).

Teamwiess

Looking forward to a lot of things today …

Women’s 200 Fly – Bayer took 0.7 off her 100 fly in the last year, what can she do in the 200? Could she go a 208? 207?

Men’s 100 Free – What will Caleb do? Can Jack win it?

Men’s 200 IM – Well duh. Interested to see how fast MP will go. His first two events have spoiled me. I shouldn’t even be thinking it but in the back of my mind, part of me thinks he could go 153 high. That is ridiculous to think that but just maybe … Any 154 would be a huge success.

Lane Four

No! Keep thinking 1:53! LOL LOL LOL After the last two days, nothing would surprise me. And yes, he HAS spolied us. Loving it!

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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