2017 U.S. World Trials: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The first night of action from Indianapolis is upon us, with many exciting races in store. The 200 fly and 100 free finals will go off tonight, along with the fastest seeded heats in the women’s 800 and men’s 1500.

The 800 free figures to be the Katie Ledecky show, as the two-time defending Olympic champion will push to dip beneath the 8:10 barrier tonight, and maybe even lower. She’ll double tonight also having the 100 free on her schedule, where she’ll hunt down a relay spot. Simone Manuel and Mallory Comerford are the favorites for the individual spots.

The men’s 100 free had a surprise when Auburn’s Zach Apple took the top seed in 48.14 this morning. Nathan Adrian and Caeleb Dressel will try and hold him off to repeat as the American representatives in this event on the international stage, while the rest of the field will jockey for relay positions.

The 200 fly on both the men’s and women’s side was dominated by Georgia swimmers this morning. Hali Flickinger and Chase Kalisz head into tonight as the favorites to win after taking the top spots in the prelims.

After the early heats in the distance events, Summer Finke (8:34.63) and Kevin Litherland (15:10.93) lead the way. Check out a full preview of finals here.

Women’s 200 Fly Finals

  • American Record: 2:04.14, Mary DeScenza, 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:05.96, Mary T. Meagher, 1981
  • LC National Meet Record: 2:05.96, Mary T. Meagher, 1981
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 2:09.77
  1. Hali Flickinger, ABSC, 2:07.60
  2. Dakota Luther, ASC, 2:08.71
  3. Sarah Gibson, TAMU, 2:08.75

Hali Flickinger led from the gun and never looked back, coming in at 2:07.60 to become the first American to qualify for the World Championships this year. She really extended her lead on the third 50, and held it together well to win by over a second.

After Katie McLaughlin was in 2nd for the first half of the race, 17-year-old Dakota Luther stormed down the third length to take over 2nd into the last 50, and held off a hard charging Sarah Gibson to hang on for the second World Championship spot in 2:08.71. Luther, still in high school, makes the team after no high schoolers made the Olympic team last year.

Gibson rounded out the podium in 2:08.75, while Ella Eastin had a great swim out of lane 8 to take 4th in 2:09.24.

Vanessa Krause and Jen Marrkand got under 2:10 as well to take 5th and 6th, while McLaughlin faded a bit coming home, ending up in 6th in a time of 2:10.21.

Cassidy Bayer led the B-final early but ran into trouble on the final 50, as Ruby Martin took over to win the heat in 2:10.42. Bayer finished back in 6th in 2:11.92, while 17-year-old Madison Homovich triumphed in the C-final in 2:11.71.

Men’s 200 Fly Finals

  • American Record: 1:51.51, Michael Phelps, 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:52.20, Michael Phelps, 2008
  • LC National Meet Record: 1:52.20, Michael Phelps, 2008
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 1:57.28
  1. Jack Conger, NCAP, 1:54.47
  2. Pace Clark, ABSC, 1:54.58
  3. Chase Kalisz, NBAC, 1:54.79

In a closely contested final, Jack Conger got out ahead at the start and was able to maintain it throughout, holding off hard charges from Pace Clark and Chase Kalisz for the win in 1:54.47. After being the only swimmer in the A-final to not register a PB in this morning’s prelims, Conger lowers his 1:54.54 that he did back at 2015 Nationals. His swim moves him into 4th in the world for the year.

Clark blazed home in 29.47, the fastest in the field, to run down Kalisz and take the second spot in 1:54.58, knocking another second and a half off his best time. Kalisz also got a best in 1:54.79, but it is a bit of surprise to see him off the team as many pegged hima as a shoo-in after the season he’s had.

Gunnar Bentz had another personal best for 4th in 1:55.51, as did Justin Wright (1:56.11) and Zach Harting (1:56.65) who took 5th and 6th.

Brendan Meyer and Sam Pomajevich had a great battle in the B-final, with Meyer getting the touch in 1:57.54 to Pomajevich’s 1:57.62. In the 18 & under C-final Jack LeVant took the win in 1:59.11 over Alex Liang (1:59.48).

Women’s 100 Free Finals

  • American Record: 52.70, Simone Manuel, 2016
  • U.S. Open Record: 53.12, Sarah Sjostrom, 2016
  • LC National Meet Record: 53.26, Mallory Comerford, 2017
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 54.90
  1. Mallory Comerford, UOFL, 52.81
  2. Simone Manuel, STAN, 53.05
  3. Lia Neal, STAN, 53.59
  4. Kelsi Worrell, CARD, 53.99
  5. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC, 54.31
  6. Katie Ledecky, STAN, 54.35

After setting a new meet record this morning, Louisville’s Mallory Comerford went over four tenths better tonight to clock a new meet and U.S. Open Record in a time of 52.81, her first time under 53 seconds. Comerford moves to #3 in the world with that swim, and qualifies for her first major international competition.

2016 Olympic champ Simone Manuel sat 2nd the entire race, touching in 53.05 to take the second individual spot heading to Budapest. Her Stanford teammates Lia Neal and Katie Ledecky made the relay in 3rd and 6th, as did Comerford’s teammate from Louisville Kelsi WorrellOlivia Smoliga took the other relay spot, 5th in 54.35.

Courtney Caldwell of the Wolfpack ran down Abbey Weitzeil for the win in the B-final in 54.80, and Grace Ariola of Waves Bloomington dropped nearly a second from prelims to win the C-final in 55.05.

Men’s 100 Free Finals

  • American Record: 47.33, David Walters, 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: 47.58, Jason Lezak, 2008
  • LC National Meet Record: 47.58, Jason Lezak, 2008
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 48.93
  1. Nathan Adrian, CAL, 47.96
  2. Caeleb Dressel, BSS, 47.97
  3. Townley Haas, NOVA, 48.20
  4. Zach Apple, AU, 48.23
  5. Michael Chadwick, UMIZ, 48.48
  6. Blake Pieroni, IU, 48.49

When the chips are done, the best find a way. Ever so consistent, Nathan Adrian continued his streak of wins at U.S. Trials meets with his showing of 47.96, taking the top spot over Caeleb Dressel by 0.01. Adrian was out conservative, 6th at the 50 in 23.27, but came blazing home in 24.69 to run down everyone for the win. He moves into 3rd in the world for the year.

Dressel was out first in 22.81, and held it together coming home to dip below 48 seconds for the third time and make his second consecutive major international Championship in this event.

Townley Haas had the second fastest back half in 25.02 to pull up into 3rd in 48.20, and Zach Apple showed this morning was no fluke coming within a tenth of his 48.14 for 4th in 48.23. In 5th and 6th Michael Chadwick and Blake Pieroni will likely earn relay berths along with Haas and Apple. Ryan Held just missed a potential relay spot, 7th in 48.53 to Pieroni’s 48.49.

Dressel is now 4th in the world behind Adrian, while Apple’s prelim time has him 6th. The American 400 free relay is in good shape heading into Worlds.

Maxime Rooney had a strong showing in the B-final to take the heat in 49.00, just ahead of Justin Ress (49.15) who equalled his time from the morning. In the C-final, both Matthew Willenbring (49.57) and Michael Andrew (49.97) improved from the morning to take the top two spots.

Women’s 800 Free (Timed Final)

  1. Katie Ledecky, STAN, 8:11.50
  2. Leah Smith, CAV, 8:20.46
  3. Hannah Moore, WOLF, 8:27.58

Shortly after taking 6th in the 100 free final, Katie Ledecky was back in the pool for the women’s 800 free, winning easily in a time of 8:11.50. The two-time defending Olympic champion was well ahead of the field the entire race, and was just shy of her national meet record of 8:10.32 done at the Olympic Trials last year.

Leah Smith finished 2nd to Ledecky, just as she did in Omaha, with a very strong showing in 8:20.46, just missing her best time from last year of 8:20.18. Ledecky and Smith take over the top two times in the world this year.

Hannah Moore of the NC State Wolfpack takes 3rd, while Cierra Runge is 4th (8:32.16). Swimming out of the early heats, Summer Finke (8:34.63) and Leah Stevens (8:34.78) took 7th and 8th overall.

Men’s 1500 Free (Timed Final)

  • American Record: 14:39.48, Connor Jaeger, 2016
  • U.S. Open Record: 14:45.54, Peter Vanderkaay, 2008
  • LC National Meet Record: 14:45.54, Peter Vanderkaay, 2008
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 15:12.79
  1. True Sweetser, STAN, 14:59.73
  2. Robert Finke, SPA, 15:01.31
  3. PJ Ransford, MICH, 15:01.82

Wow, what a race in the men’s 1500. Early on, Robert Finke of Saint Petersburg took off, and looked like he was going to run away with the event. After the halfway mark, slowly but surely PJ Ransford of Michigan began crawling back into the race. And then all of a sudden Stanford’s True Sweetser started crawling back into it after looking like he was done early on, sitting over five seconds behind Finke just 400m in.

On his fifth straight 50 under 30 seconds, Sweetser caught Finke and Ransford with 150m to go and ran away for the win, touching in 14:59.73 to break 15 minutes for the first time in his career. Finke managed to hold off Ransford on the final 50, taking 2nd in 15:01.31 to Ransford’s 15:01.82. Both men also earned big personal bests.

Sweetser negative split the race big time, closing the back 750 (7:26.41) nearly seven seconds faster than he was out (7:33.32). Ransford also had a negative split of over four seconds.

Andrew Abruzzo (15:07.97) and Michael Brinegar (15:10.66) posted PBs in the heat as well for 4th and 5th, and Kevin LitherlandChris Yeager and Ben Lawless all snuck into the top-8 out of earlier heats.

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5 years ago

Did anyone talk to Bayer after her swims? Just want to hear her thoughts on them….

5 years ago

Anybody knows where Missy Franklin is?

Reply to  DCer
5 years ago

She will not be competing at Worlds. Recovering from a surgery.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

WOW! I have missed a great night of swimming. I could watch live before but now you have to pay. Goodbye. Hopefully they post at least the finals on youtube.
Quick comments

WOMEN’S 200 FLY. Probably the weakest event of the moment in American swimming. We’ll see the state of the 200 breast and the 400 IM later. I’m sad to see Cassidy Bayer and Katie McLaughlin struggle like that. Maybe Hali Flickinger can make the final in Budapest but a medal is out of reach. It will be a great first experience at the best level for Dakota Luther. The race for the second spot was crazy open and she took her chance. Hopefully she can continue to… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Thanks for the great recap Bobo! I always enjoy your insights!

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Bobo, you can use VPN. It worked for me, and I got to enjoy an amazing night of swimming!

5 years ago

W200fly: In an intl context, nothing really to write home to Mom about. Has been a relatively quite year times-wise in this event so an opportunity is there for an American to step up but first they’ll probably need to step up another second in order to make the final

M200fly: Unlike the women, most definitely looking somewhere in the medal picture. Exactly where ….

W100free: Comerford certainly made the big leap forward some have been touting. SS is no C1, so barring illness/injury I doubt we are seeing another Rio scenario but both Americans clearly in the likely rugby scrum scrapping for the minor coin. 4X100 prospects ? If AUS was to be knocked off their perch then… Read more »

5 years ago

Some thoughts about tomorrow:
Men’s 200m free: Conger and Hass are looking very good. I really want see some Zach Apple’s performances in this event 🙂
Women’s 200m free: Comerford is in her best shape
I have a 1:56 low in her. Ledecky will go 1:54 high and I’m pretty confident the line-up: Ledecky-Comerford-Smith-Margalis

Reply to  MichaelTran
5 years ago

why don’t you think MC can win? She is 1.5 faster than LEdecky in the 100. I think she just needs to figure out her optimal splitting race strategy and she is 1:55 low.and she is a racer so I think into the wall she can surprise KL

5 years ago

Men’s 4x100m free: US team is huge favorite!!!
Especially when Kyle Chalmers and Manaudou are out this year!!
I only see The Russians can give US Guys some troubles
Women’s 4x100m free: USA vs AUS. This will be very tough race. It reminds me Barcelona 2013.
Men’s 200m fly: Conger rises. A huge swim from Clark. Kalisz can focus on the IMs now. The 200/400IM in WC is very good for him especially Seto will have 200m fly and Hagino will have 200m free.
Women’s 200m fly. Flickinger will be faster next 3 weeks.

5 years ago

Congrats to Dakota Luther! Daughter of Whitney Hedgepeth!

He Gets It Done Again
5 years ago

Albiero might be most underrated coach in the US right now. 1/3 of the women’s 4×100 relay team. Yeah Stanford put up 1/2 of the team, but those girls were national teamers in high school. Worrell and Comerford have had huge time drops at Louisville.

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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