2018 Pan Pacific Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2018 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Swimmers are getting ready for the first finals session of the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Japan. We’ll see the races for the championship titles in the 100 breast, 200 free, 400 IM, women’s 800 free, men’s 1500 free, and mixed 400 medley relay tonight. For a recap of how the prelims session went, click here. On top of the good races to watch tonight, we’ll also see the Americans competing to see whose the fastest between the A-final, B-final, and finals at U.S. Nationals. The fastest 2 will qualify for 2019 Worlds in individual events.

World Record holder Lilly King headlines the women’s 100 breast, while Andrew Wilson and Michael Andrew will battle international stars Yasuhiro Koseki (JPN) and Wang Lizhuo (CHN) on the men’s side. Katie Ledecky leads the 200 free, with teammate Allison Schmitt and young stars Taylor Ruck (CAN) and Rikako Ikee (JPN) also in the mix. Andrew Seliskar, who had a breakthrough at U.S. Nationals and surprised many swim fans with his win in the 200 free, is the top seed in that race. Japan’s Yui Ohashi is the heavy favorite for the women’s 400 IM victory, while World Champion Chase Kalisz battles Japanese Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino in the men’s race.

**Tonight’s session will be streamed live on the Olympic channel.**

WOMEN’S 800 FREE:

  1. GOLD: Katie Ledecky, USA, 8:09.13
  2. SILVER: Ariarne Titmus, AUS, 8:17.07
  3. BRONZE: Leah Smith, USA, 8:17.21

Katie Ledecky took it out quick, swimming under World Record pace up until the 350. She fell back from the pace after halfway, but still crushed her own Pan Pacs Record in 8:09.13. That was the 5th fastest performance in history and her 5th time under 8:10.

As usual, Ledecky was well ahead of the field, but there was an intense race for 2nd between Australian teen star Ariarne Titmus and Olympic medalist Leah Smith. Titmus took it out faster, but Smith started to close in on the back half. It came down to the touch, with Smith running out of room into the finish. Titmus broke 8:20 for the first time in 8:17.07 breaking the Oceania Record. That makes her the 10th fastest performer ever in this event. Smith clipped a hundredth from her lifetime best in 8:17.21, less than 2 tenths shy of the silver.

MEN’S 1500 FREE:

  • Pan Pac Record: 14:41.65, Grant Hackett (AUS), 2002
  1. GOLD: Jordan Wilimovsky, USA, 14:46.93
  2. SILVER: Zane Grothe, USA, 14:48.40
  3. BRONZE: Jack McLoughlin, AUS, 14:55.92

Jack McLoughlin took it out with the lead as Robert Finke trailed closely. Jordan Wilimovsky started to reel them in after the 500, moving up to take over the lead while Finke also pulled ahead of McLoughlin (14:55.92). The Americans battled closely, with Finke just a few tenths behind until the end of the race. Wilimovsky extended his lead in the closing splits, winning in 14:46.93. Finke broke 14:50 for the first time, taking a nearly 7-second chunk off his best in 14:48.40.

Though Finke touched 2nd in the final, he was bumped out of the medals. Zane Grothe was the 2nd fastest American of the day with his 14:48.40 from prelims. That edges out Finke for a Worlds spot by 3 tenths and was a huge drop from his former best of 15:00 from Nationals. After today, Grothe is the 6th fastest American ever, while Finke is the 7th fastest American. Wilimovsky has been faster before. He’s the 2nd fastest American ever and his performance tonight was the 8th fastest ever done by an American.

WOMEN’S 100 BREAST:

  • Pan Pac Record: 1:04.93, Rebecca Soni (USA), 2010
  1. GOLD: Lilly King, USA, 1:05.44
  2. SILVER: Jessica Hansen, AUS, 1:06.20
  3. BRONZE: Reona Aoki, JPN, 1:06.34

Olympic champ Lilly King popped off to the early lead as expected and was the clear leader throughout as she won it in 1:05.44, just a tenth slower than her time from Nationals. Australia’s Jessica Hansen came in clutch down the stretch, chasing down Japan’s Reona Aoki (1:06.34) into the wall in 1:06.20 for the silver. That was another best for Hansen, this time by over 4 tenths. Aoki is still chasing the Japanese Record after coming within hundredths of it in 1:05.80 earlier this year. She’ll get another chance later on at the Asian Games.

Micah Sumrall (1:06.56) was a few tenths shy of her best to take 5th behind Japan’s Satomi Suzuki (1:06.51). In the B heat, Bethany Galat ran down Katie Meili (1:06.86) in the last 25, clipping her best to win the heat in 1:06.41. Galat is just a tenth out of the all-time top 10 Americans list. However, Meili’s 1:06.19 from the final at Nationals is the 2nd fastest American time between here and Irvine, so she’ll take the 2nd Worlds spot behind King.

MEN’S 100 BREAST:

  • Pan Pac Record: 59.04, Kosuke Kitajima (JPN), 2010
  1. GOLD: Yasuhiro Koseki, JPN, 59.08
  2. SILVER: Jake Packard, AUS, 59.20
  3. BRONZE: Joao Gomes, BRA, 59.60

Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki was quick off the blocks and took the lead early. It was a tight race through to the finish, but Koseki got the job done, out-touching Australia’s Jake Packard 59.08 to 59.20. That snapped the USA win streak tonight and gave the home crowd their first gold of Pan Pacs. Koseki was also just 4 hundredths shy of the Pan Pacs Record set by Japanese breaststroke legend Kosuke Kitajima back in 2010. Koseki has already been sub-59 this year with his 58.78 Japanese Record from the Mare Nostrum. Packard’s time was a best by a few hundredths and gives the Australians silver in both 100 breast championship races tonight.

Brazil’s Joao Gomes won the scrap for bronze, touching in 59.60 ahead of the USA’s Andrew Wilson (59.70). Wilson and U.S. Nationals winner Michael Andrew have locked down the 2 Worlds spots in this event. Andrew was back in 7th tonight with a 1:00.04.

WOMEN’S 200 FREE:

  1. GOLD: Taylor Ruck, CAN, 1:54.44
  2. SILVER: Rikako Ikee, JPN, 1:54.85
  3. BRONZE: Katie Ledecky, USA, 1:55.16

The young talent took the spotlight here as Canada’s Taylor Ruck shot off the blocks to the lead and never let up. Ruck smashed the Pan Pacs Record as she held off Japan’s Rikako Ikee with a 1:54.44 to Ikee’s 1:54.85. That was a new Canadian Record for Ruck and a Japanese Record for Ikee. Ruck is now the 5th fastest performer ever in this event, while Ikee is tied for 10th.

Katie Ledecky, the favorite in this race coming into the meet, was just over half a second shy of her nationals time to take bronze in 1:55.16, marking her 2nd medal of the night. Allison Schmitt, the 2012 Olympic champion in this event, was just off the podium in 1:56.71 for 4th. She was about a second faster than that in Irvine and has secured her individual Worlds spot.

Katie McLaughlin (1:57.34) used her back-end speed to win the B heat, but couldn’t match her lifetime best 1:56.88 from prelims. Her prelims time would have bumped Leah Smith out of the top 4 between Pan Pacs and Nationals, but her finals time has her out of the top 6. The top 6 Americans in order are Ledecky, Schmitt, Gabby Deloof, Leah Smith, Simone Manuel, and Melanie Margalis. Only the top 4 are guaranteed a relay spot for Worlds.

MEN’S 200 FREE:

  • Pan Pac Record: 1:44.75, Ian Thorpe (AUS), 2002
  1. GOLD: Townley Haas, USA, 1:45.56
  2. SILVER: Andrew Seliskar, USA, 1:45.74
  3. BRONZE: Katsuhiro Matsumoto, JPN, 1:45.92

Townley Haas, the 5th fastest American ever in this event, took the lead from the start. He was well ahead in 50.56 at the halfway point, but Andrew Seliskar made a big push to close the gap on the 3rd 50. Seliskar trailed Haas by a second at the 100, but started to run him down in the last 25. Haas was able to hold him off, winning in 1:45.56 to Seliskar’s 1:45.74. Seliskar did manage to run down Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto, who went a lifetime best 1:45.92 for bronze, clipping his former best by a hundredth.

Blake Pieroni and Zach Apple battled for the B final win, with Pieroni out-touching Apple by just a tenth, 1:46.68 to 1:46.78. With that, Apple bumps Olympian Jack Conger out of the top 6 Americans for Worlds qualifying. Pieroni was 2nd at Nationals behind Seliskar, but with Haas posting the fastest American time to win gold tonight, Pieroni won’t swim this event individually at 2019 Worlds. The American top 6 in order after tonight is Haas, Seliskar, Pieroni, Conor Dwyer, Jack LeVant, and Apple.

WOMEN’S 400 IM:

  • Pan Pac Record: 4:31.99, Elizabeth Beisel (USA), 2014
  1. GOLD: Yui Ohashi, JPN, 4:33.77
  2. SILVER:  Melanie Margalis, USA, 4:35.60
  3. BRONZE: Sakiko Shimizu, JPN, 4:36.27

It was all Yui Ohashi in this one. Ohashi and teammate Sakiko Shimizu broke out to the early lead, with Ohashi well in front. Ohashi dominated through the breast leg and held on to her huge lead to win by almost 2 seconds in 4:33.77. That makes her the fastest woman in the world this year. American Olympic medalist Melanie Margalis trailed by body lengths through the front half, but made up some ground on breaststroke and charged through the free leg to run down Shimizu (4:36.27) for silver in 4:35.60. Shimizu held on for bronze in 4:36.27.

Though Margalis took the silver tonight, she won’t be swimming this race individually at Worlds. Brooke Forde, who took 2nd at Nationals in 4:35.09, takes the 2nd spot by a few tenths. National champ Ally McHugh is safe with her 4:34.80 from Nationals, though she’ll be swimming in the B final later tonight. Forde was 4th in the final tonight in 4:39.22.

MEN’S 400 IM:

  • Pan Pac Record: 4:07.59, Ryan Lochte (USA), 2010
  1. GOLD: Chase Kalisz, USA, 4:07.95
  2. SILVER: Kosuke Hagino, JPN, 4:11.13
  3. BRONZE: Daiya Seto, JPN, 4:12.60

Daiya Seto was just a couple of tenths shy of the World Record split on the fly as he took off with the lead up front. Chase Kalisz trailed both Seto and Kosuke Hagino through the front half, but changed gears on the back half to dominate this race. Kalisz was over a body length behind after backstroke, but he was over a body length ahead of Seto by the end of the breast leg. He continued to extend his lead through the free leg, missing the Pan Pacs Record by just a few tenths to win in 4:07.95. Seto faded to 3rd in 4:12.60, while teammate and Olympic champ Hagino used his strong freestyle leg to pull ahead for silver in 4:11.13.

Jay Litherland was 4th tonight in 4:12.87, nearly running down Seto. Though he was a few second off his best, Litherland is still in a good position to take the 2nd Worlds spot. Sean Grieshop would have to make a significant drop in the B final to beat Litherland’s 4:10.21 from Nationals. Grieshop swam his lifetime best 4:12.72 at Nationals.

MIXED 400 MEDLEY RELAY:

  1. GOLD: AUS, 3:38.91
  2. SILVER: JPN, 3:40.98
  3. BRONZE: USA, 3:41.74

Japan and Australia battled it out with their 2 men up front and the women taking on the back half. Ryosuke Irie gave Japan the fastest back leg of  the field in 52.83, while Yasuhiro Koseki threw down a 58.57 for the fastest breast leg. After Rikako Ikee‘s 55.53 fly leg, Japan held a big lead, but Cate Campbell tore through the anchor leg in a blistering 50.93 for Australia to clinch the gold. The Aussies put together the 2nd fastest mixed medley relay ever in 3:38.91, while Campbell’s 50.9 was the fastest split in history and the first ever sub-51. Japan held on for a new Japanese Record and the silver.

The U.S. was never really in the race. They were behind off the start since they used a different strategy. They had the women bookend the relay, while the men took on the middle legs. World Record holder Kathleen Baker was out in 59.29, while Michael Andrew took on the breast leg in 59.21. There was too much ground for even Caeleb Dressel to make up as he put up 50.50 a fly split. Olympic champion Simone Manuel anchored in 52.71, but couldn’t run down the Japanese for silver as the USA took bronze.

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Billy
4 years ago

Who was the announcer on “The Olympic Channel”? He was so, so bad that it became entertaining. Mispronouncing at least 50% of the names just for starters. Don’t these folks have production meetings where they can at least go over the names etc. He thought Simone Manuel was a guy…..

I would have been better than that announcer.

Swimming4silver
Reply to  Billy
4 years ago

Pan Pacs… thats the best they can get…

Joe
Reply to  Billy
4 years ago

He knows almost nothing about swimming and can’t seem to see who is in first and second and third….he is terrible! I’ve turned down the volume.

Cayley
4 years ago

WOW. Did C1 just go 50.9? This is great!!!

Andy
4 years ago

Would really love to hold the USA coaches accountable and hear their side of the story with the mixed relay lineup. Braden, anyway we can get their take on the situation? In no mathematical way does that lineup make sense, never mind the idea of wanting to swim in clean water and race with the teams next to them. If it’s true that they just didn’t do the math, that is unacceptable.

25 free champ
Reply to  Andy
4 years ago

The only possible explanation I can think of is that either Murphy or King didn’t want to swim it.

ALEXANDER POP-OFF
Reply to  25 free champ
4 years ago

I hate to be the crotchety grandpa here but mixed relays are a waste of energy. Period. (Though I am still beside myself with Cate’s 50.9)

Murphy is my dad
4 years ago

I said this about the pre-Olympic Worlds qualification too, and know this isn’t the fastest meet out there, but does it hurt the US here since nationals were 2-3 weeks ago? Ledecky not winning the 200, Dressel possibly looking flat again because he never got a real taper in… some of the stars look to have shown up, but maybe not the the level that we have become accustomed to. Thoughts?

Reply to  Murphy is my dad
4 years ago

Well, that’s the idea they’re trying to avoid in 2018-2019 by picking the rosters a year early. Allows athletes a single taper. Of course, there’s downside to that, too, which are the athletes who break out next summer being stuck at home, or the athletes who fall off next year hogging Worlds spots.

My two cents is that it’s not at all impossible to swim fast twice in the same month. It can be tough to recapture the energy without too much time between meets, but I don’t think anyone at Pan Pacs is in significantly worse shape now for having another week and a half of rest. It’s more the mental/energy side of things that can be the issue.

Murphy is my dad
Reply to  Jared Anderson
4 years ago

Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for Nationals to be in late June/early July if the meet is going to be early August so some athletes could double taper as opposed to some trying to taper twice in 2-3 weeks?

MTK
Reply to  Murphy is my dad
4 years ago

I do find it strange that they gave the athletes a smaller window between Trials and Pan Pacs this year (less than 2 weeks) than they usually do between Trials and Worlds/Olympics (usually 4-5 weeks to my recollection). I don’t understand why Trials weren’t a few weeks or a month earlier, as you said.

MTK
Reply to  Jared Anderson
4 years ago

When they do the double taper in Olympic years and for the WCs in the post-olympic year it always seems to work just fine – so I can’t help but wonder why they do everything so differently for Pan Pacs + Pre-Olympic WCs, when there really hasn’t proven to be any problem with double taper (assuming that there is a month or so between the meets).

Blackflag82
Reply to  Murphy is my dad
4 years ago

It seems the double taper tends to work pretty well though. A lot of swimmers do it for NCAA’s and then Olympic and some World years do it…the American system has gotten that figured out pretty well. But nationals ended a week and a half before this meet. Normally there is a longer gap and it’s an off yea, so who knows what’s happening. The fact that many of the swimmers seem flatter than expected suggests to me this is more about where US swimming as a whole is within the quad.

Murphy is my dad
Reply to  Blackflag82
4 years ago

I think the system is perfect for Olympic years and the first Worlds after the Olympics, however Pan Pacs and the 2nd Worlds of the quad seem to lead to some weird swims and I’m not sure if it’s what’s best for USA Swimming. Most of the swimmers who seem flat are ones who were expected to be here and maybe ended up having to switch up what they wanted to do for Nats because while others tapered they didn’t and were in jeopardy of missing the team(Dressel with an ok split but compared to what he did last summer it seems “eh”, Kalisz was expected to be faster, King, Ledecky had a good 800 but not so great 200,… Read more »

Murphy is my dad
Reply to  Murphy is my dad
4 years ago

And the pre Olympic Worlds are a whole different anomaly lol

Anon
Reply to  Murphy is my dad
4 years ago

Nationals was not 3 weeks ago

Murphy is my dad
Reply to  Anon
4 years ago

Yeah i realized it was closer to 2 after I posted this… definitely feels like it was 3 weeks ago though lol

Walter
Reply to  Murphy is my dad
4 years ago

Also jet leg. The US team arrived on Sunday, swimming on Thursday not ideal.

MTK
Reply to  Walter
4 years ago

Honestly, they probably should have gotten over to Japan WAY sooner than they did.

Brian M
Reply to  MTK
4 years ago

As someone that lives in Japan while in the military, I concur with your comment 100%. That time adjustment is a monster.

25 free champ
Reply to  Walter
4 years ago

I always thought it was jet leg too when I was young. 😀 Plus my mom always got restless leg on the plain so I thought they were the same thing.

Jim C
4 years ago

After her fast relay split will Cate lose the individual 100 like she did at the Commonwealth Games?

IM FAN
4 years ago

Thoughts on today:
Ruck is looking like she’ll be the star of this meet, with a big 200 like that things are looking great for her to get medals in the 100 and 200, and honesty she is in a prime position to get golds in the backstrokes, as we have yet to see what form Seebohm and Masse are in, and Baker seems to have peaked for nationals. However, Regan Smith cannot be counted out in the backstroke.

Ledecky will probably sweep 400-1500, but she has become a victim of her own success, with a perfect track record of wins at every meet being the expectation. She had a great swim today, it’s hard to ask for… Read more »

MTK
Reply to  IM FAN
4 years ago

Women’s backstroke is a gauntlet at this meet. If Baker can’t find decent form, we may be looking at a WR holder in jeopardy of missing the podium.

25 free champ
Reply to  MTK
4 years ago

Maybe in jeopardy of missing the A final depending on how the other Americans do.

dmswim
4 years ago

Did I miss something or did Conor Dwyer not swim the 200 free? Any idea why he didn’t?

Reply to  dmswim
4 years ago

He did. 1:46.84 in prelims. He just didn’t finish in the top 4 Americans and thus couldn’t get a finals swim under the two-per-country rule.

dmswim
Reply to  Jared Anderson
4 years ago

Got it! Thanks!

John26
4 years ago

Seeing Cate Campbell split 50.9, with a PB of 52.0 is like seeing Hoogenband split 46.7, with a best of 47.8

I think it hints at much faster times on the horizon for the event. With the way 100free women are swimming, I can see that WR coming down to 51.2-51.3 relatively quickly.

Additionally, 3 data points 1) seeing Sjöström swim 23.74 in the 50free while being relatively off in her other events, 2) considering how bad her last stroke was last year in swimming 23.69 in the WC finals, 3) how much time Blume, and other women have dropped quickly suggests that the floodgates have opened in this event. Would not be surprised to see a winning time of… Read more »

GO SARAH SJÖSTRÖM
Reply to  John26
4 years ago

I don’t think it will be that fast but I think Cate could do a time around 51.6-51.7

John26
Reply to  GO SARAH SJÖSTRÖM
4 years ago

I’m not saying this year, but i think in the next 4 years, someone will go 51.low. Cate’s gotta be over the moon with that swim.

Jim C
Reply to  John26
4 years ago

Next year Cate and Sarah may each go all out as leadoff legs in the relay on day one when both are fresh. If that happens we might expect a 51.4 or 51.5.

Formerswimcoach
Reply to  Jim C
4 years ago

Maybe CC but Sarah will never be under 52 again.

Tim
Reply to  Formerswimcoach
4 years ago

This is an interesting comment. I wouldn’t be so certain but I think it is likely to work out that way.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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