2017 Arena PSS – Santa Clara: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap


Four events are on tap for Saturday morning prelims in Santa Clara: the 200 free, 200 back, 50 free and 400 IM.

The women’s 200 free will be highlighted by Katie Ledecky, who had the day off yesterday after cranking out the 5th fastest 1500 in history on Thursday.

The men’s 200 free will feature four of the six swimmers who qualified for the Olympics last summer in the event, led by Conor Dwyer who is swimming his first full meet since Rio. Gunnar Bentz will swim alongside Dwyer in the 12th and final heat, while Clark Smith will race in heat 10 and Jack Conger in heat 11. Also entered in the event are Caeleb DresselMaxime Rooney and Grant Shoults, who could all vie for a relay spot this summer.

The Canadian duo of Hilary Caldwell and Kylie Masse will face off against Kathleen Baker and Amy Bilquist in the women’s 200 back, along with Elizabeth Beisel who is making her return to competition after an extended break post-Rio. Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley highlight the men’s event, their first event of the meet.

100 free winners from last night Simone Manuel and Nathan Adrian will look for the sprint double today in the 50 free, though they’ll have a lot of challengers with many of America’s best in the lineup. For women, Abbey WeitzeilLia Neal and Katrina Konopka are among the top contenders, while the men’s event features the top-4 from last year’s Olympic Trials: Adrian, Dressel, Anthony Ervin and Cullen Jones. Russian Vlad Morozov and Brazilian Marcelo Chierighini will also be in the mix.

Beisel will have a tough double with the 400 IM also on her schedule, where she’ll have to deal with last night’s 200 breast champ Madisyn Cox and rising Canadian Sarah DarcelJay Litherland and Gunnar Bentz highlight the men’s field, which surprisingly is missing Chase Kalisz. Kalisz has opted to take the event off at this meet, swimming the 200 free today instead.

Women’s 200 Free Prelims

  1. Katie Ledecky, UN-ST, 1:56.25
  2. Siobhan Haughey, HKG, 1:59.96
  3. Katie McLaughlin, CAL, 2:00.21
  4. Katie Drabot, UN-ST, 2:00.23
  5. Isabel Ivey, GSC, 2:00.80
  6. Ella Eastin, UN-ST, 2:01.13
  7. Cierra Runge, WA, 2:01.35
  8. Mackenzie Padington, ISC, 2:01.83
  9. Amy Bilquist, CAL, 2:01.96

Katie Ledecky had a dominant showing in the final heat of the women’s 200 free, touching in 1:56.25 for the top seed by over three and a half seconds. That improves her 5th ranked season best by 0.01, done at the Atlanta Pro Swim last month. Tonight she’ll have a real shot at Femke Heemskerk‘s rich meet record of 1:55.68 from 2015.

Siobhan Haughey won the second-to-last heat for the 2nd seed in 1:59.96, the only other woman under two minutes. Katie McLaughlin continued her string of strong performances recently with a 2:00.21 for 3rd, and last night’s 400 free winner Katie Drabot was right there at 4th in 2:00.23.

Mackenzie Padington, who actually beat Drabot in the 400 last night before being disqualified, made the A-final as well in 8th. Abbey Weitzeil was among those on the outside looking in, 12th in 2:02.75. She’ll contest the B-final tonight.

Men’s 200 Free Prelims

  • Meet Record: 1:44.82, Sun Yang, 2016
  1. Conor Dwyer, TROJ, 1:49.47
  2. Long Gutierrez, CAL, 1:49.62
  3. Dion Dreesens, UN, 1:49.67
  4. Jay Litherland, DYNA, 1:49.76
  5. Gunnar Bentz, ABSC, 1:49.96
  6. Michael Weiss, WA, 1:50.32
  7. Jorge Iga, MEX, 1:50.32
  8. Chase Kalisz, NBAC, 1:50.32
  9. Jack Conger, UN, 1:50.54

The men’s 200 free was incredibly tight this morning, with all nine A-finalists separated by just 1.07 seconds.

Four of the nine qualifiers came from the last heat, led by Conor Dwyer who put together a solid 1:49.47. Dwyer was out fast and struggled a bit coming home, splitting 28.78 on the last 50. It will be interesting to see how he fares tonight after adding over six tenths from the prelims last night in the 100 free final.

Also qualifying out of that heat was the Georgia squad of Jay LitherlandGunnar Bentz and Chase Kalisz, who all had strong performances. Long Gutierrez and Dion Dreesens cracked 1:50 out of the first circle-seeded heat to safely qualify 2nd and 3rd. Jack Conger went out and won his circle-seeded heat, but barely squeaked into finals at 9th in 1:50.54.

Tonight’s B-final will be stacked with Federico GrabichPace ClarkMaxime Rooney and Tom Shields all slated to compete. Kieran Smith and True Sweetser tied for 18th in 1:51.97, and will require a swim-off to see who swims the B-final tonight.

Caeleb Dressel was a no-show in his heat, and Clark Smith was disqualified after initially putting up a 1:49.89 which would’ve been good enough for the A-final.

Women’s 200 Back Prelims

  • Meet Record: 2:06.99, Kirsty Coventry, 2009
  1. Kylie Masse, WEST, 2:09.89
  2. Kathleen Baker, UN, 2:10.79
  3. Regan Smith, RIPT, 2:10.85
  4. Hilary Caldwell, ISC, 2:10.96
  5. Erin Voss, UN-ST, 2:12.18
  6. Allie Szekely, UN-ST, 2:12.4
  7. Ally Howe, UN-ST, 2:12.97
  8. Janet Hu, UN-ST, 2:13.32
  9. Claudia Lau, HKG, 2:13.65

Kylie Masse and Kathleen Baker, who won bronze and silver respectively in the 100 back at the Olympics last summer, duked it out in the second-to-last heat of the women’s 200 back, with Masse coming out on top in 2:09.89 for the top seed. Baker labored a bit the last 50, but still managed to post the 2nd best time of the morning in 2:10.79.

Regan Smith and Hilary Caldwell had a similar battle in the last heat, with Smith out-touching her, 2:10.85 to 2:10.96. They take the 3rd and 4th seeds into tonight’s finals.

Four of the five other A-final qualifiers were Stanford swimmers, as Erin VossAllie SzekelyAlly Howe and Janet Hu qualified 5th through 8th. Hong Kong’s Claudia Lau rounds out the A-finalists.

Two of the top seeds coming in, Elizabeth Beisel and Amy Bilquist, were both no-shows in heat 3.

Men’s 200 Back Prelims

  • Meet Record: 1:55.30, Arkady Vyatchanin, 2014
  1. Jacob Pebley, CAL, 2:00.72
  2. Ryan Murphy, CAL, 2:01.04
  3. Grigory Tarasevich, CARD, 2:01.05
  4. Alexander Gliese, RAC, 2:01.42
  5. Corey Main, GSC, 2:02.02
  6. Abrahm DeVine, UN-ST, 2:02.74
  7. Andy Song, CAL, 2:03.49
  8. Richard Bohus, UN-AS, 2:03.52
  9. Maxime Rooney, PLS, 2:03.54

Jacob Pebley and Ryan Murphy cruised through their heats to take the top two seeds heading into tonight’s finals, posting 2:00.72 and 2:01.04 respectively. Russian Grigory Tarasevich heads into finals 3rd after being out-touched by Murphy by 0.01 in the last heat.

Corey Main won the first circle-seeded heat in 2:02.02, and takes the 5th seed into the final. Maxime Rooney qualified for the A-final in 9th out of one of the early heats.

Among those contesting the B-final tonight will be Patrick Conaton (2:04.00), Bob Glover (2:04.58) and Javier Acevedo (2:04.86).

Women’s 50 Free Prelims

  • Meet Record: 24.13, Cate Campbell, 2008
  1. Lia Neal, UN-ST, 25.43
  2. Abbey Weitzeil, CAL, 25.47
  3. Farida Osman, CAL, 25.63
  4. Kelsi Worrell, CARD, 25.70
  5. Amy Bilquist, CAL, 25.77
  6. Caroline Baldwin, NCAC, 25.81
  7. Rebecca Millard, UN, 25.92
  8. Katrina Konopka, FORD, 25.94
  9. Marta Cielsa, PCS, 26.05

Lia NealAbbey Weitzeil and Kelsi Worrell each won a circle-seeded heat to cruise into finals 1st, 2nd and 4th overall. Weitzeil’s teammates from Cal Farida Osman and Amy Bilquist had solid showings to qualify 3rd and 5th.

Top seed coming in Simone Manuel didn’t show up for her heat.

Men’s 50 Free Prelims

  1. Ali Khalafalla, UN, 22.36
  2. Vladimir Morozov, TROJ, 22.37
  3. Marcelo Chierighini, UN, 22.52
  4. Dillon Virva, KING 22.66
  5. Michael Andrew, RPC, 22.68
  6. Nathan Adrian, CAL, 22.71
  7. Kyle Decoursey, UN, 22.90
  8. Michael Jensen, CAL, 22.93
  9. Paul Powers, UN, 22.95

Ali Khalafalla leads the way in the men’s 50 free after clocking 22.36 this morning, out-touching Vlad Morozov by 0.01. Marcelo Chierighini topped the last heat for 3rd overall in 22.52, and Dillon Virva and Michael Andrew both had solid 22.6s for 4th and 5th.

Nathan Adrian moves onto the A-final in 6th this morning, as does his Cal teammate Michael Jensen who has been on good form this weekend.

Paul Powers was the cut-off this morning at 22.95, edging Justin Lynch (22.99) and Cullen Jones (23.00) into the B-final. Anthony Ervin had a very poor start, sneaking into the B-final in 18th at 23.38.

We saw all four strokes in the men’s 50, with Matthew Josa (24.21) and Tom Shields (25.14) doing fly, Matt Grevers (24.90) doing back (though with a dive), and Nicolas Fink (28.04) and Connor Hoppe (28.67) among many doing breaststroke.

For the second straight event, Caeleb Dressel was a no-show in his heat, where he was slated to swim alongside Adrian.

Women’s 400 IM Prelims

  • Meet Record: 4:31.07, Katinka Hosszu, 2015
  1. Allie Szekely, UN-ST, 4:43.72
  2. Elizabeth Beisel, ABF, 4:44.77
  3. Emma Barksdale, GAME, 4:45.21
  4. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 4:46.00
  5. Brooke Zeiger, UOFM, 4:46.25
  6. Savanna Faulconer, UN, 4:48.79
  7. Sarah Darcel, ISC, 4:49.50
  8. Leah Stevens, UN-ST, 4:49.80
  9. Kelly Fertel, GRSC, 4:50.20

Stanford’s Allie Szekely qualified for her second A-final of the day, this time as the top seed after posting a time of 4:43.72 in heat 2. That knocks three seconds off her previous best of 4:46.73 from 2012. Emma Barksdale, Madisyn CoxBrooke Zeiger and Savanna Faulconer qualified 3rd through 6th, all out of heat 2 as well.

After scratching the 200 back, Elizabeth Beisel made her return to action with a solid 4:44.77 to win her heat and head into finals 2nd.

Kelly Fertel‘s 4:50.20 edged out Monika Gonzalez-Hermosillo (4:50.43) for the last spot in the A-final.

Men’s 400 IM Prelims

  • Meet Record: 4:11.36, Ryan Lochte, 2013
  1. Gunnar Bentz, ABSC, 4:22.74
  2. Kieran Smith, RAC, 4:22.90
  3. Hector Ruvalcaba Cruz, UN, 4:24.59
  4. Jay Litherland, DYNA, 4:25.69
  5. Abrahm DeVine, UN-ST, 4:25.72
  6. Carlos Claverie, CARD, 4:27.21
  7. Kevin Litherland, DYNA, 4:27.70
  8. Mikey Calvillo, AAAA, 4:28.28
  9. Mick Litherland, DYNA, 4:28.90

Gunnar Bentz and Kieran Smith battled to the wall in the second heat of the 400 IM, with Bentz closing in 28.70 to get the touch in 4:22.74 to Smith’s 4:22.90. They take the top two spots heading into tonight’s finals.

Jay Litherland and Abrahm DeVine had a similar dual in heat 1, with Litherland getting the touch by 0.03 for the 4th best time of the morning in 4:25.69. DeVine sits 5th. Kevin Litherland and Mick Litherland will join their triplet in the final, qualifying 7th and 9th.

Hector Ruvalcaba Cruz took nearly four seconds off his seed time to take the 3rd seed into tonight at 4:24.59.

Michael Andrew led heat 2 through the 300m mark and was looking good, but ran out of gas on the freestyle leg. He touched in 4:30.68, good enough for 15th overall. Look for him to scratch this event tonight in order to focus on the 50 free, as the 400 IM is moved to the top of the order for finals.


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7 years ago

Abbey Weitzeil’s persistence with 200 let me think that there’s something deeper than just issues of adjusting to new coaching style an racing environment. When leading swimmers are skipping some of their usual races having trials at close proximity Abbey adds discipline that she won’t compete at for sure. It is like stress therapy. Therapy of what? She definitely has difficulties with the second half of 100 race. At her last most recent races she had 28.79; 28.87, 28.88. It is very slow by standards of world class swimmer. At this meet final she tried to take it easier by 0.4 sec at the start and still it had no effect on her slow finish. At the same time her… Read more »

Reply to  Prickle
7 years ago

Lots of people are swimming off events this close to trials. Kalisz and Licon swam the 200 free today. Maybe it gives her confidence in her second 50 of the 100 to do these 200’s. Maybe she just likes to race, win or not.

Reply to  Prickle
7 years ago

Her 50 time of 25.4 was the slowest abbey has been in several years. No Simone? I just dont see anyone coming close to sjostrom.

Ex Quaker
Reply to  Prickle
7 years ago

I remember the look on her face on the podium at NCAA’s. The poor girl was clearly suffering through her results. If swimming 200’s helps her branch out, or helps build 100 endurance, more power to her. She’s phenomenally talented and it would be wonderful to see her compete at last year’s level again.

Coach mary
7 years ago

I am always amused by the comments about Michael Andrew. He just turned 18! Give him a break!!! He just missed the 2016 Olympic team despite all the naysayers. He is certainly in the mix for the 2020 Games.

Reply to  Coach mary
7 years ago

an 18 year old just won the banner event at the olympics

Captain Awesome
Reply to  pvdh
7 years ago

You can’t say that the is the usual thing. Only unbelievable swimmers win Olympic gold in their teens, especially on the men’s side.

Reply to  Captain Awesome
7 years ago

But Michael Andrew has been the most hyped male teenage swimmer in the past few years.

7 years ago

Men with the last name Litherland make up 1/3 of the 400 IM A final!

Reply to  Thezwimmer
7 years ago

I’m guessing the youngest Litherland wishes his older brothers had been sprinters.

Reply to  Bigly
7 years ago

Well, since his “older brothers” are only a few minutes older than him, I doubt he thinks of them as older brothers….

Reply to  Danjohnrob
7 years ago

You’d be surprised.

7 years ago

Addition to my previous comment – Szekely’s previous best was 4:46.74 from 2012 Junior Nat Champs

7 years ago

Szekely’s best time is a 4:46 when she was a few years younger….not 4:50

7 years ago

Michael Andrew. Got to give him credit for guts. Who goes a 50 free and a 400 IM? (And why the latter?) Not sure how dying on a 400 IM (and it was Shields-esque) is race-specific when the go-to events are 200 IM, 100’s and a 50.

Reply to  Bigly
7 years ago

His 100’s have been extremely lackluster for the past couple of years excluding 100 breast.

Reply to  Bigly
7 years ago

Let’s be honest, Michael just needs to mix it up a bit. And by that I don’t mean swimming 400 IMs occasionally. He needs to experiment in training on actual teams, with different workouts, coaches, and people to race. While I admire how far he’s come with basically just his family, by now we’re all thinking the same thing. He’s obviously a very gifted swimmer, and has outstanding character, but it’s hard to watch him start to plateau like this. I know he’s still improving in certain races, but not at the rate people expect. It worked for him in the past when he was younger, but he’s just gotta get more volume in now that doesn’t consist of a… Read more »

Reply to  Person
7 years ago

Him and his family seem determined for him to train for and win Olympic gold from his backyard swimming pool. I just don’t think its doable in todays swimming era. I am still a fan though

Reply to  Person
7 years ago

I guess one question is, where does the money come from to support that? I doubt his Arena deal gives his family the luxury of training wherever and living wherever. No college scholarship, since he’s a pro, so it’s tough. Anyone heard what his college plans are? He’s obviously very bright.

7 years ago

I’m surprised that Seliskar is not at this meet with the other Cal swimmers. Has he raced LC this year?

7 years ago

Pretty good swim for Beisel for swim back especially for prelims and she is a taper swimmer.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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