2018 Pan Pacs: Stacked Men’s 200 Breast Field Lined up for Day 4 Finals

2018 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Swimmers are getting ready for the last finals session of the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Japan. We’ll see the races for the championship titles in the 200 back, 50 free, 200 breast, women’s 1500 free, and men’s 800 free individually tonight. Swimmers will also race in the 400 medley relay finals at the end of the session. For a recap of how this morning’s prelims session went, click here.

There are a several good races to look out for, but also keep in mind that the Americans are racing for Worlds spots tonight. The fastest 2 men and women from finals between this meet and U.S. Nationals will advance to Worlds in the individual races. Read on for a preview of 3 of the top races to watch.

SPOTLIGHT ON RYAN MURPHY IN MEN’S 200 BACK

The USA’s Ryan Murphy has made his way back to the top, and he proved that with a sub-52 to win the 100 back earlier on in this meet. Tonight, Murphy is chasing the 200 back title. He’s already broken the Pan Pacs Record with his prelims swim, going a 1:54.07. If he can break the 1:54-mark, that’ll be his first 1:53 since Rio. One of the biggest challengers to Murphy’s potential backstroke sweep is Japanese backstroke star Ryosuke Irie, an Olympic silver medalist in this race. Australia’s Mitch Larkin, the 2015 World Champion, is also in the mix.

The battle for the 2nd American Worlds spot could get interesting between NCAA champ Austin Katz and Olympic finalist Jacob Pebley. This morning, Katz dropped half a second off his best to qualify for the final in 1:55.62, meaning Pebley was relegated to the B final and Katz is now a medal favorite. Katz will have to repeat that time in finals if he wants a shot at Worlds, since prelims times don’t count, but that swim was a few hundredths faster than Pebley’s Nationals time. Pebley will also have a chance to better that time from the B final.

AUSTRALIAN STAR CATE CAMPBELL GOING FOR SPRINT SWEEP

After putting up the fastest 100 free split in history and the 2nd fastest individual 100 free ever, Australia’s Cate Campbell is the woman to beat in the 50 free. Campbell is the defending champion and Pan Pacs Record holder with her 23.96 from back in 2014. The only other woman in this field to have broken 24 is American Record holder Simone Manuel, who qualified 3rd for the final behind Aussie Emma McKeon, who dropped a few tenths off her best this morning. Manuel hasn’t been at her best here, but did take silver in the 100 free behind Campbell and is one of the medal favorites in this event.

Japan’s Rikako Ikee was the 2017 World Junior Champion in the 50 free and has been having a great meet here, so she has a great shot at the podium. Canada’s Taylor Ruck is another young star who could make the medals. Ruck won the 200 free earlier in the meet and took bronze in the 100 free. She was also the silver medalist at the Commonwealth Games.

STAR-STUDDED MEN’S 200 BREAST WITH WATANABE, PRENOT, AND MORE

The men’s 200 breast field will be stacked with stars. Leading the way is Team USA’s Josh Prenot, who took down the Pan Pac Record formerly held by Japanese breaststroke legend Kosuke Kitajima in prelims. The Japanese will look to reclaim that record in the final, however, as World Record holder Ippei Watanabe and Worlds silver medalist Yasuhiro Koseki. Andrew Wilson of the U.S. would also have been in the mix as he qualified 2nd, but Wilson scratched this final to focus on the medley relay at the end of the session.

Watanabe set the World Record in early 2017 and is currently the 3rd fastest man in the world this year, just a few tenths behind Prenot’s swim from U.S. Nationals, which was the 2nd fastest swim ever done by an American. Prenot and Watanabe are in the 2:07-range this year, while Koseki has been in the 2:08s.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She got her M.S. in Criminology from Florida State and seems exceptionally confused about which team she should cheer for during the college football season. Lauren is currently a coach at Loggerhead Aquatics …

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