Now that we have all witnessed the glory that is the Michael Phelps comeback trail, we can safely get psyched for his prelims swim in the 100 fly. Are we in for another world top 10 ranking out of prelims? Possibly. Will Phelps be eyeing the times from the finals of the FINA World Championships this morning? Definitely. If he wants to win though, he’ll have to get past Jack Conger, who was the fastest American of 2015 before Kazan.
The excitement doesn’t stop with Phelps. 2012 Olympic silver medalist Cullen Jones will take on the men’s 50 free field. Some other exciting swimmers to watch in this event include Caeleb Dressel, Michael Andrew, and Josh Schneider.
On the women’s side, there’s been a lot of buzz around Katie Meili, who set the Pan American Games Record at 1:05.64 this year, a time that would’ve won gold in Kazan. The 50 is headlined by Madison Kennedy, but look for Kelsi Worrell to improve her time through prelims. Finally, 2012 U.S. Olympian and 2015 Pan Ams champion Caitlin Leverenz will lead the heats in the 400 I.M., but she’ll be challenged by NCAA Champion Sarah Henry.
2015 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, August 6 – Monday, August 10
- Northside Swim Center – San Antonio, Texas
- Prelims 9AM/Finals 6PM (Central Daylight Time)
- Full Coverage
- Psych Sheet
- Live Stream Link
- Live Results
WOMEN’S 100 BREAST
The women’s 100 breast prelims were a runaway from USA National Teamer Katie Meili. She put up a very strong 1:06.56 in prelims to qualify 1st for the final. Meili will look to make a statement tonight after putting up the 3rd fastest time in the world for 2015 last month.
Behind her, the next 7 qualifiers for the championship final were in the 1:08 low-mid range. Australia’s Jessica Hansen (1:08.04) and the youngest swimmer in the field, Lilly King (1:08.16), will swim to Meili’s sides tonight.
Laura Sogar, former NCAA Champion in the 200 breast, took the 4th spot for finals. She swam to a 1:08.21 just ahead of Alabama’s Bridget Blood. Blood dropped over a second off her best time to finish 5th overall at 1:08.26.
Stanford All-American Sarah Haase (1:08.32) and Louisville’s Andee Cottrell (1:08.48) were 6th and 7th respectively. Emma Reaney, American Record holder in the 200 yard breast, snuck in for 8th behind them to round out the final at 1:08.54.
MEN’S 100 FLY
A very smooth looking Michael Phelps came from behind to win the final circle seeded heat this morning. Phelps split 24.86/27.26 on his way to a 52.12. That’s his fastest time of 2015, beating his 52.38 from Arena Pro Swim Mesa.
But he won’t lead the field heading into finals. That position went to Jack Conger, the only man to swim sub-52 this morning. Conger’s 51.97 bodes well for his swim tonight. He dropped over 1.5 seconds from prelims to finals yesterday in the 200 fly, and looks to be in great form.
Swim MAC’s Matthew Josa was the 3rd fastest qualifier, clipping his best time by .02 to finish in 52.21. He was just ahead of David Nolan (52.46). Nolan swam a best time this morning in this event for the first time since 2013. After an incredible breakout in the NCAA season with an American Record in the 200 I.M., he’s still looking for that big long course breakthrough.
Giles Smith earned the 5th seed. He was leading Phelps at the 50, and finished in a respectable 52.66. Tripp Cooper also dipped under 53 seconds this morning, with a 52.88 for 6th. Behind them, Connor Black (53.03) and Braxston Timm (53.06) closed out the top 8.
Some notable young swimmers will compete in the B and C finals tonight. Pro swimmer Michael Andrew qualified 16th with a 53.36. Maxime Rooney, rising star and national champion in the 200 free, qualified for the 18 & under heat with a 54.45. Andrew Seliskar (53.78) and Ryan Hoffer (53.58) will challenge him in that heat.
WOMEN’S 50 FREE
There was only one sub-25 for the women in prelims. That was Madison Kennedy, who came into the wall at 24.93. She wasn’t far off her best this season, a 24.75 from Pan Ams. Hot on her trail tonight though will be Amanda Kendall (25.23) and USA veteran Amanda Weir (25.25).
Kelsi Worrell showed off her sprint talent this morning, narrowly missing her best time. She clocked a 25.28 for 4th. She’s been a 25.12 back in June of this year, but look for her to make a move into the top 3. She’s already had a very impressive showing in the 100 fly and 100 back this week.
Auburn-based sprinter Allyx Purcell from Australia will take the 5th seed headed into finals. She dropped her time by half a second to post a 25.38. She was just ahead of 17-year-old Amy Bilquist, who clocked a 25.41.
Faith Johnson (25.42) and Olivia Smoliga (25.49) took the 7th and 8th positions headed into the final. That’s Smoliga’s best time since her 25.39 at 2012 Junior Pan Pacs.
MEN’S 50 FREE
The questions were raised when Caeleb Dressel struggled in the 200 free yesterday. He was slower than he’d been in season. So what did that mean for his key events, the 50 and 100 freestyles?
He’ll tell you what it meant. Absolutely nothing. Dressel scorched the 50 free prelims with a 21.85, the only qualifier under 22 seconds. That makes him the 6th fastest man in the world this year, even after the finals at the FINA World Championships. He’s now the 2nd fastest American in the world this year.
As usual, Josh Schneider and former American Record holder Cullen Jones were very close in their times. They swam in different heats, but Schneider bested Jones by just .01 in prelims. They recorded times of 22.10 and 22.11 to take the 2nd and 3rd seeds.
Michael Chadwick swam a best time to take the 4th seed in 22.25. He was narrowly ahead of Wyatt Ubellacker, who dropped half a second to hit the wall in 22.27.
William Copeland (22.46) grabbed the 6th spot in finals. There was a tie between Michael Trice and Kyle Darmody (22.52) for 7th place to close the lanes for the championship final.
WOMEN’S 400 I.M.
Caitlin Leverenz looked very good this morning in the final heat of the 400 I.M. She took an easy win to top the prelims in 4:41.76. Leverenz’s best time is leagues ahead of anyone else entered at this meet, and she’ll have to swim close to that if she wants to assure herself the win over Sarah Henry and Madisyn Cox.
Henry cruised through the front half of this race, making up ground through the breast and freestyle legs to qualify for the final in 4:42.84. She ran out of room, however, to catch Cox. Cox stormed to the finish of their heat in 4:42.43, dropping nearly 3 seconds off her best time.
Emily Cameron (4:43.81) and Katherine Mills (4:45.61) came to the wall behind them in that heat, taking 4th and 5th place overall. Just a fingernail slower, Spain’s Catalina Corro Lorente earned the 6th spot in 4:45.74.
Bethany Galat won the first of the circle seeded heats, and was the only swimmer from that heat to advance to the final. She was 7th in 4:45.76. Mia Nonnenberg took the 8th spot in 4:46.25.
WOMEN’S 50 FREE SWIM-OFF
There was a 3-way tie for 16th in the women’s 50 free between Felicia Lee, Riki Bonnema, and Shuyu Sun. All 3 women touched at 25.78 in the heats.
Bonnema took the win in the head-to-head race, clocking a 25.08. That time, if she’d swum it in prelims, would’ve easily made the top 8. She’ll still get a chance to swim again tonight in the B final.
Lee (25.32) and Sun (25.53) also had significantly faster swims than their prelims times.