2017 U.S. World Trials: Day 5 Finals Live Recap


Here we go. Tonight’s finals session marks the last of the 2017 U.S. World Trials. We’ve been treated to lots of fast and exciting swimming all week, and there will be a bit more tonight with four events on the schedule.

The 200 IM and 50 free finals will go off, along with the top seeded heats in the men’s 800 and the women’s 1500 free. Through the early heats, Grant Shoults (7:57.84) and Leah Smith (16:01.02) hold the top times. Check out a full recap of today’s distance heats here.

Check out a full preview of tonight’s finals here.


  1. Leah Smith, CAV, 16:01.02
  2. Hannah Moore, WOLF, 16:08.68
  3. Ashley Twichell, NCAC, 16:10.63

Entered with a yards time, Leah Smith swam in the early 1500 heats and posted a massive personal best time. Smith clocked 16:01.02, a time that stood up as the fastest of the day through finals, moving her into #2 in the world for the year behind Katie Ledecky. Ledecky will join Smith in this event in Budapest (the second spot is picked from top ranked 800 swimmer). Smith is now slated to swim five individual events in Budapest along with the 4×200 free relay.

Swimming in the top seeded heat with finals, Hannah Moore of the Wolfpack knocked 11 seconds off her seed to touch 1st in 16:08.68. The time gets her 2nd overall behind Smith. Open water swimmer Ashley Twichell swam one of the early heats as well, clocking 16:10.63 that holds up as 3rd best. Moore is now 5th in the world for the year, and Twichell is 7th.

Ally McHugh (16:16.20) and Summer Finke (16:22.94) also had top finishes from the early heats in 4th and 6th overall, while Sierra Schmidt touched 2nd in the last heat to take 5th overall in 16:19.59.


  • American Record: Ariana Kukors, 2:06.15, 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: Katinka Hosszu, 2:08.66, 2015
  • LC National Meet Record: Julia Smit, 2:09.34, 2009
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 2:13.41
  1. Melanie Margalis, SPA, 2:09.57
  2. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 2:09.69
  3. Ella Eastin, STAN, 2:10.87

After a pair of 2:10s this morning Melanie Margalis and Madisyn Cox had a very close battle in the middle lanes tonight. Margalis led early, and managed to fend off Cox coming home to take the win in 2:09.57 to Cox’s 2:09.69. Margalis qualifies for her first individual event at Worlds after making the 4×200 free relay, while Cox adds her name to the roster on the last night of racing. They move into #3 and 4 in the world for the year.

Stanford’s Ella Eastin had a great swim to get 3rd in 2:10.89, but just misses a position on the team after that crushing DQ on Thursday. She’ll still contest the World University Games this summer in both this event and the 200 fly.

Nashville Aquatics’ Alex Walsh had a great swim from lane 8 to take 4th in 2:12.36, just getting by Texas A&M’s Bethany Galat (2:12.66). Stanford’s Katie Drabot (2:12.82) and Zoe Bartel of Fort Collins (2:15.37) won the B and C-finals respectively.


  • American Record: Ryan Lochte, 1:54.00, 2011
  • U.S. Open Record: Ryan Lochte, 1:54.56, 2009
  • LC National Meet Record: Ryan Lochte, 1:54.56, 2009
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 2:00.22
  1. Chase Kalisz, NBAC, 1:56.51
  2. Abrahm DeVine, STAN, 1:56.79
  3. Josh Prenot, CAL, 1:57.14

The stacked men’s 200 IM field delivered a great race, with Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine pushing the gas on the backstroke leg to turn first at the 100 in 54.78. Chase Kalisz and Josh Prenot threw down 32-second splits on breaststroke to take over 1st and 2nd, and it all came down to the freestyle.

It looked like it was going to be Kalisz and Prenot, but DeVine charged home in a blazing 27.81 to out-split the entire field, including out-splitting Prenot by over a second, to move into 2nd in the closing metres. Kalisz touched 1st in 1:56.51, lowering his best time and adding a second event for Budapest.

DeVine touched 2nd in 1:56.79, knocking nearly two seconds off his best time for prelims and qualifying for his World Championship team. This has to be especially satisfying for DeVine after being DQed for the ‘Lochte rule’ in the 400 IM prelims, which coming in was considered his best event.

In the world rankings, Kalisz and DeVine now sit 4th and 5th.

Prenot was 3rd in 1:57.14, improving his best time but disappointingly missing the World Championship team after winning an Olympic silver last year. Gunnar Bentz closed strong for 4th in 1:58.31, and Will Licon of Texas was 5th in 1:58.90.

Licon’s college teammate at Texas John Shebat won the B-final in 1:59.70, and the C-final went to Matthew Willenbring (2:02.72).


  • American Record: Michael McBroom, 7:43.60, 2013
  • U.S. Open Record: Connor Jaeger, 7:46.78, 2013
  • LC National Meet Record: Connor Jaeger, 7:46.78, 2013
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 7:54.31
  1. Clark Smith, TXLA, 7:50.43
  2. Zane Grothe, BAD, 7:50.97
  3. True Sweetser, STAN, 7:55.29

Clark Smith and Zane Grothe renewed acquaintances in the men’s 800 free after their battle in the 400 free last night, with another close battle coming down to the wire.

Smith held a close lead throughout, really extending it with 150m to go before Grothe began to track him down. Grothe stormed home in 26.81, but it wasn’t enough as Smith held him off with a final 50 of 27.62 to touch in 7:50.43 for the win. He moves into 6th in the world, and Grothe, 2nd in 7:50.97, is now 7th. Both men will contest the 400, 800 and 4×200 free relay in Budapest.

1500m winner True Sweetser had a strong showing for 3rd in 7:55.29, and 17-year-old Andrew Abruzzo took 4th in 7:57.67. Swimming in the early heats, Grant Shoults of Stanford put up a time of 7:57.84 that held up as the 5th fastest overall.


  • American Record: Dara Torres, 24.07, 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: Cate Campbell, 24.13, 2008
  • LC National Meet Record: Dara Torres, 24.25, 2016
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 25.18
  1. Simone Manuel, STAN, 24.27
  2. Abbey Weitzeil, CAL, 24.74
  3. Lia Neal, STAN, 24.77

Simone Manuel executed a great 50 free tonight, winning by nearly half a second in 24.27 to move into #3 in the world. She adds a second individual event to her World Championship schedule after qualifying in the 100 on the first day.

In the tight battle for second, Abbey Weitzeil pulled through and got to the wall to get herself on the World Championship team. After a poor showing in the 100 by her standards, she came in at 24.74 to edge by Lia Neal (24.77), Kelsi Worrell (24.79) and Olivia Smoliga (24.84).

Seven of the eight finalists actually got under 25 seconds, with Mallory Comerford (24.93) and Madison Kennedy (24.95) doing it as well in 6th and 7th. Finishing 8th, Grace Ariola (25.03) becomes the 18 & under National Champion.

Katrina Konopka (25.16) and Anya Goeders (25.28) won the B and C-finals respectively.


  • American Record: Nathan Adrian, 21.37, 2015
  • U.S. Open Record: Cesar Cielo, 21.14, 2009
  • LC National Meet Record: Nathan Adrian/Garrett Weber-Gale, 21.47, 2013/2008
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 22.47
  1. Caeleb Dressel, BSS, 21.53
  2. Nathan Adrian, CAL, 21.87
  3. Cullen Jones, WOLF, 21.89

Caeleb Dressel had it from the start, exploding into his breakout with an advantage and never relinquishing it, winning the men’s 50 in a time of 21.53 to equal his best time done at the 2015 Nationals in San Antonio. This is his third win of the meet, and he now has four individual events qualified for Worlds plus a ton of potential relays. Dressel now sits 3rd in the world in this event, trailing Ben Proud (GBR) and Vladimir Morozov (RUS).

Nathan Adrian edged out Cullen Jones for the second spot, touching in 21.87 to Jones’ 21.89 to join Dressel as the U.S. representatives in the sprint free events this summer. Jones has a second consecutive 3rd place finish in this event, as he finished in the same position last year in Omaha.

Auburn’s Zach Apple finished off his breakout meet with another best time in the 50, clocking 22.00 for 4th, and Michael Andrew arguably had his best swim of the meet taking 5th in 22.03 shortly after swimming the 200 IM. 2016 Olympic champ Anthony Ervin took 6th in 22.09, and Michael Chadwick (22.10) and Ryan Held (22.42) rounded out the A-final.

2016 Trials finalist Dillon Virva (22.21) and Cal commit Ryan Hoffer (22.71) won the B and C-finals.

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5 years ago

I’ve always been a fan of prenot but I’ve lost some respect for him after this meet. I understand he’s extremely disappointed to not make the team- but he could have showed more class and maturity. He was clearly sulking on the podium in both Breaststrokes and he angrily punched the water when he didn’t make the 200 IM. Contrast his reactions to Ella Easton after she missed the team. Despite missing the 400 IM due to a rough DQ, when she finished 3rd in the 200 IM she still congratulated Margalis and Cox and wished them good luck.

5 years ago

MA almost broke world jr record with the 22.03. I think he is phenomenal. He probably will be going to college soon.

Reply to  Anon
5 years ago

He can’t swim in college because he’s a pro

Reply to  Klorn8d
5 years ago

I know he can’t swim NCAA, but usually after HS teenagers go off to college. There seems to be pro groups around the college programs.

5 years ago

So what next for Michael Andrew? Focus on the 50 free? Change club/coach, if so then where? Stay with dad and usrpt only? I am worried he may miss/has missed his window to become a great swimmer.

Reply to  Bob
5 years ago

It’s either that MA is not talented enough, or that USRPT has proven to be inadequate in preparing prime age swimmers to be competitive at worlds/olympics level.

So, which one is it?

Ice Age Swimmer
Reply to  SchoolingFTW
5 years ago

How about HE’S ONLY 18!!!!!!!!! He came in 4th in OT, and made 4 finals in this meet! Sprinters improve with age He is doing great .I agree that his technique needs to keep improving (like most young swimmers) to get to the top level. I do wish that they would explore strength training (I don’t know if they already are) because strength to weight ratio is crucial, and he has filled out with maturity. If they don’t get to where they want to be in a couple of years, then, I do wish they would try a hybrid form of training. But he’s got a lot to be proud of right now!

Reply to  Ice Age Swimmer
5 years ago

Problem with waiting a couple of years is that those years may be crucial to his long/longer term development. I think a problem with the usrpt approach is that it lacks the build/focus/periodisation to a single focal meet.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Ice Age Swimmer
5 years ago

He made 5 A finals; 100 breast as well as all the 50s. Went under 50 in the 100 free and almost won the B final of the 2 IM.

Honestly, the kid had a pretty good meet. He almost broke 22 in the 50 the same session as the 2 IM! Like, goddamn.

Reply to  Steve Nolan
5 years ago

I fear he may not live up to his amazing age group swimming. I think Dave Salo would be his best bet, he would keep the quality/usrpt but would also develop (if not too late) a training backbone that would give him more consistency on the 100 and 200s. He always goes out consistently fast which is probably ingrained from his usrpt training but cannot deal with the consequences of that speed in LCM. As I type this I think he is a little soft physiologically and mentally, maybe some nasty 10 x 100m max on 6, where you blow up and feel pain like you’ve never felt before. USRPT skirts around that zone but never fully enters the physiology/pain… Read more »

Reply to  SchoolingFTW
5 years ago

He needs a pure technique camp. Fix those issues first and foremost

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Final day.

WOMEN’S 1500 FREE. Without KL, it looks very slow. I doubt Leah Smith will swim it at worlds. It would be a big error. She has no medal chance in that event. And it would be a bad idea before the 4X200 free relay. USA needs 4 swimmers at their best if they want to win the gold.

WOMEN’S 200 IM. Zero surprise with Margalis and Cox qualified. Both girls are in their best shape ever and were very consistent all season. A medal will be tough to win but they should make at least the final in Budapest. Ella Eastin again not at the level expected in long course. I think Alex Walsh has found her best… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Always appreciate the lengthy write ups post session BoBo, especially this session, which I was writing off as perhaps a weak line-up. The 200 IM was definitely not what people were expecting, and I had to rewind the live stream to make sure I heard Prenot correctly. Heart breaking for him, but much like with Conger, he now has a reason to swim a little mad for the next big meet, and showed great improvement in his IM, just someone else wanted it more.
I feel like we’ve almost begun taking 2:07’s for granted in the 200 breast; 2:08 is still an elite swim by any measure and medals at almost every major international competition with the exception of… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Realistically USA should be untroubled in most relays; the only possible exceptions being M4X200 & W4X100 where I would still have them as narrow favourites. Still uncertain how seriously most countries will take the mixed relays given the Olympic announcement wasn’t made until after most teams have been selected but US should be untroubled.

Mens: Sprint freestyle = very much in the medal mix and could possibly 1-2 the 100 but not a sure bet. Ditto for 200 & 400 with the former being the more likely gold chance. In the longer events, they probably need to drop some seconds to be in play however apart from the Italians, the standards in these events this year have been tres ordinary.… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

I agree with most of what you say but I think Margalis and/or Cox could medal in the 2IM. Margalis was 4th last summer and Maya has moved on with her life. Who do you think on the world level have moved up?

Reply to  korn
5 years ago

Are you replying to Bobo or myself ? W200IM – I would see as potential minor medal chances/not necessarily sure bets but certainly could be around the medal picture. The minor medal picture in both IMs behind Hosszu (but esp 400) looks rather fluid.

Reply to  commonwombat
5 years ago

i was replying to Bobo.

5 years ago

McHugh had a phenomenal meet!

5 years ago

BTW SO very sad for Eastin. Lochte Rule SUCKS! Sad for Cullen too. And Lia– really wanted her to get that individual spot. But I have to say I am thrilled for Abbey. Important for her mentally. Very important.

5 years ago

I told you all– don’t poke the dragon. Don’t ever dismiss Simone Manuel. 24.2 is very nice and the thing is she was disappointed. She was very disappointed in the 100 free of course (I think she wanted the US Open record), despite the fact that 53.0 was her second best time ever. Budapest gonna be mighty interesting!

5 years ago

Heart broken for Cullen Jones..another close 3rd place finish after last year. Absolute great race just unfortunately out-touched. I hope he’s not done yet!

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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