2018 Pro Swim Series – Austin: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


The opening day of the new-look Pro Swim Series, with a different format and a different schedule, kicks off on Thursday. Other than having a few extra events (10 in total in prelims), the more noticeable changes won’t kick in until Saturday with the mystery IM and shootouts.

The 1st day’s prelims session will include the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 back, 200 breast, and 200 free. In the finals session, there will also be a mixed medley relay for the new “SwimSquads” competition.

Among the highlights of the first day of competition will be the first big long course competitions for Leah Smith and Chase Kalisz since the World Championships, along with an appearance by Wales’ top butterflier Alys Thomas. 15-year old U.S. World Championship finalist Regan Smith will also kick off her meet in her best event, the 200 back, while American fans will get their first up-close view of China’s Li Bingjie, the world’s best junior distance swimmer, as she swims the 200 free.

Women’s 400 IM

Top 8:

  1. Sydney Pickrem, TAMU, 4:44.74
  2. Melanie Margalis, SPA, 4:45.49
  3. Evie Pfeifer, UT, 4:48.60
  4. Monika Gonzalez-Hermosillo, TAMU, 4:48.61
  5. (tie) Hannah Moore, NCS/Bethany Galat, 4:49.21
  6. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 4:49.44
  7. Sophie Cattermole, UOFL, 4:51.42

Not much in the way of surprises here, as other than Leah Smith, who did not swim, all five of the top seeds will swim in tonight’s A-final.  Six of those eight swimmers came from the final heat, where Sydney Pickrem took control by the halfway mark and remained in the lead for the rest of the race to earn tonight’s top seed.  Joining Pickrem will be her Texas A&M teammates, Monika Gonzalez-Hermosillo and Bethany Galat, as the Aggies took three of the top eight spots.  Two more college swimmers, Hannah Moore and Evie Pfeifer, also make the top eight out of that final heat.

US National Team members Melanie Margalis and Madisyn Cox both also advanced to tonight’s final, which could earn some big points for Team Coughlin, although we’re still waiting to hear on the exact lineups for each SwimSquad.  Florida swimmer Sophie Cottermole was entered with a yards time, so was swimming in the very first heat, but threw down a 4:51.42 to also earn a spot in the top eight.

Men’s 400 IM

Top 8:

  1. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs, 4:19.07
  2. Anton Ipsen, NC State, 4:21.87
  3. Daniel Sos, Louisville, 4:22.97
  4. Tristan Cote, Canada, 4:24.40
  5. Jake Foster, Mason Manta Rays, 4:25.00
  6. Eric Knowles, NC State, 4:29.55
  7. Jarrett Jones, Louisville, 4:29.94
  8. Etay Gurevich, Louisville, 4:30.94

Defending series champion Chase Kalisz nabbed the top spot in the men’s 400 IM comfortably, going 4:19.07 to win the final heat. His closest competition was right beside him, with Anton Ipsen swimming one lane up for the second qualifying spot in 4:21.87

NC State had a pair of swimmers in the final, and Louisville put three into the top 8. Daniel Sos (3rd), Jarrett Jones (7th) and Etay Gurevich (8th) all made the championship heat for the Cardinals, and Eric Knowles (6th) was also in the mix for the Wolfpack.

Canada’s Tristan Cote, representing the University of Calgary, is fourth in 4:24.40, just ahead of 17-year-old Jake Foster (4:25.00).

Women’s 100 fly

Top 8 (with B flight still remaining):

  1. Amanda Kendall, Un-MVN, 58.42
  2. Zhang Yufei, CHN, 58.80
  3. Sarah Gibson, UN-TE, 58.92
  4. Regan Smith, Riptide, 59.06
  5. Rebecca Smith, CAN, 59.13
  6. Hellen Moffitt, UN-TE/Lauren Case, Texas, 59.54
  7. Alys Thomas, Swim Wales, 59.60

Veteran Amanda Kendall took the top spot in the women’s 100 fly, blasting a 58.42 to beat out a tough international field. China’s Zhang Yufeia World Champs bronze medalist in the 200 fly, was second in 58.80.

U.S. National Teamer Sarah Gibson, an alum of Texas A&M, was third, with World Junior Champs standout Regan Smith swimming her way to fourth. Tonight will offer a great showdown between two young Smiths, as Canadian 17-year-old Rebecca Smith was just .07 behind Regan Smith this morning.

Also into the final are Hellen Moffitt (UNC alum) and current Texas Longhorn Lauren Case, who tied for sixth. Welsh flyer Alys Thomas sits 8th with the B flight heats still to come.

Men’s 100 fly

Top 8 (with B flight still remaining):

  1. Jack Conger, NCAP, 52.58
  2. Masayuki Umemoto, JPN, 53.22
  3. Bryce Bohman, Longhorn, 53.61
  4. Tripp Cooper, Longhorn, 53.64
  5. Michael Andrew, Race Pace, 54.09
  6. Paul Le, Missouri State, 54.15
  7. Ryan Held, NC State, 54.20
  8. Jacob Peters, GBR, 54.35

Former Texas Longhorn standout Jack Conger blew out the 100 fly field with a 52.58 to take the top spot out of prelims. That bested Japan’s Masayuki Umemoto (53.22) by more than half a second heading into tonight’s final.

Arguably Conger’s top competition should have been Olympian Tom Shields, who fell way off to a 1:00.62 in the final heat, giving Conger even more of a favorite status for tonight.

Former West Virginia Mountaineer Bryce Bohman has resurfaced with Longhorn Aquatics after some years at Arizona State. He took third in 53.61, ahead of Texas postgrad teammate Tripp Cooper.

Race Pace 18-year-old Michael Andrew made the final just over 54 seconds, followed by college stars Paul Le (Missouri State) and Ryan Held (NC State). Great Britain’s Jacob Peters rounds out the top 8.

Women’s 200 back

Top 8:

  1. Peng Xuwei, CHN – 2:09.36
  2. Regan Smith, Riptide – 2:10.18
  3. Taylor Ruck, CAN – 2:10.46
  4. Quinn Carrozza, Texas – 2:12.49
  5. Isabelle Stadden, Aquajets – 2:12.69
  6. Lisa Bratton, A&M – 2:12.87
  7. Hali Flickinger, Athens Bulldogs – 2:12.98
  8. Lucie Nordmann, Magnolia – 2:13.15

The women’s 200 back will be an international youth showdown tonight. 14-year-old Chinese swimmer Peng Xuwei went 2:09.36 to take the top spot, ahead of American 15-year-old Regan Smith (2:10.18) and Canadian 17-year-old Taylor Ruck (2:10.46). Further back in the field is 15-year-old Isabelle Stadden (2:12.69) and 17-year-old Lucie Nordmann (2:13.15).

Notably, Regan Smith and Stadden both come out of Minnesota, though they compete for different clubs (Smith for Riptide, Stadden for the Aquajets).

Texas Longhorn Quinn Carrozza is the first senior-level swimmer to qualify, sitting fourth at 2:12.49. The field is very bunched up in the 2:12, which also include Texas A&M’s Lisa Bratton and Georgia alum Hali Flickinger.

Men’s 200 back

Top 8:

  1. Ryan Murphy, Cal – 1:59.75
  2. Jacob Pebley, Cal – 2:00.05
  3. Luke Greenbank, GBR – 2:00.51
  4. Carson Foster, Mason – 2:01.61
  5. Hennessey Stuart, NC State/ Xavier Castelli, Wales – 2:01.66
  6. Robert Hill, Canada – 2:01.91
  7. Nicholas Pyle, GBR – 2:02.17

The American Olympic duo (who happen to be Cal postgrad teammates) Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley went 1-2 in the 200 back, a pretty familiar sight for swim fans. Murphy dipped under two minutes at 1:59.75 and Pebley was just a few hundredths off the barrier.

Great Britain’s Luke Greenbank made the top 8 in third place as the top three separated from the field by a good bit. His British teammate Nicholas Pyle is also in the top 8, as is Welsh swimmer Xavier Castelli. 

16-year-old Carson Foster will join Pyle (17) as the lone juniors in the field. Foster went 2:01.61 for fourth.

Women’s 200 breast

Top 8:

  1. Emily Escobedo, Condors – 2:28.20
  2. Sydney Pickrem, A&M – 2:28.37
  3. Chloe Tutton, Wales – 2:28.67
  4. Molly Hannis, TNAQ – 2:28.88
  5. Rachel Nicol, UCSC – 2:29.22
  6. Madisyn Cox, Longhorn – 2:29.23
  7. Bethany Galat, A&M – 2:30.32
  8. Breeja Larson, NYAC – 2:30.73

The 200 breast might be the race to watch tonight, with the top four qualifiers separated by just six tenths of a second. Emily Escobedo was the first to break 2:29 and held up as the fastest time of the morning at 2:28.20. Sydney Pickrem won the next heat just a tenth back with Chloe Tutton in tow, and Molly Hannis won the final heat in another 2:28.

Keep an eye on Rachel Nicol, who pushed Escobedo in her heat, plus Texas-based NCAA alums Madisyn Cox (Longhorns) and Bethany Galat and Breeja Larson (Aggies).

Men’s 200 breast

Top 8:

  1. Yan Zibei, CHN – 2:12.35
  2. Chase Kalisz, Athens – 2:12.77
  3. Will Licon, Longhorn – 2:14.29
  4. Nic Fink, Athens – 2:14.39
  5. Josh Prenot, Cal – 2:14.64
  6. Carlos Claverie, Louisville – 2:14.65
  7. Andrew Wilson, Longhorn – 2:15.11
  8. Reece Whitley, PCAC – 2:15.73

China’s Yan Zibei hit the top time for the men, besting Chase Kalisz by half a second. This is Kalisz’s fourth-best event of the meet, but he still has a shot to take home the win after going 2:12.77.

Postgrads Will Licon, Nic Fink and Josh Prenot finished next, all going 2:14s. Current Louisville Cardinal Carlos Claverie was also 2:14.

Former Division III star and current pro with the Longhorn crew, Andrew Wilson went 2:15.11 to make the A final along with high school senior and Cal commit Reece Whitley out of Penn Charter.

Women’s 200 free

Top 8 (with B flight still remaining):

  1. Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg – 1:59.06
  2. Li Bingjie, China – 1:59.45
  3. Taylor Ruck, Canada – 2:00.43
  4. Claire Rasmus, A&M – 2:00.65
  5. Kayla Sanchez, Canada – 2:00.85
  6. Rebecca Smith, Canada – 2:01.02
  7. Katie Portz, A&M – 2:01.32
  8. Shen Duo, China – 2:01.37

Coming off the 400 IM earlier in the night, Melanie Margalis was the top qualifier in the women’s 200 free, going 1:59.06. Top seed Leah Smith was a no-show; her second event today she hasn’t swum. That suggests Smith might not be competing in Austin at all this week.

China’s Li Bingjie was second in 1:59.45, the only other swim under two minutes. She’ll be followed by Canadian youngster Taylor Ruck, one of three 18-and-under Canadians to to make the final. (Kayla Sanchez is 16 and Rebecca Smith 17).

A&M Aggies Claire Rasmus and Katie Portz are both in, as is Chinese 20-year-old Shen Duo. Hali Flickinger just missed the A final by two tenths.

Men’s 200 free

Top 8 (with B flight still remaining):

  1. Clark Smith, Longhorn – 1:49.04
  2. Zane Grothe, UN-MVN – 1:49.11
  3. Jack Conger, NCAP – 1:49.30
  4. Trey Freeman, Baylor – 1:49.94
  5. Andreas Vazaios, NC State – 1:50.54
  6. Jeremy Bagshaw, Canada – 1:50.71
  7. Anton Ipsen, NC State – 1:51.07
  8. Matias Koski, Athens Bulldog – 1:51.47

No one broke 1:49, but four men cracked 1:50 to set up what could be a wild final tonight. Clark Smith leads the way, swimming in front of a home Longhorn crowd. The Texas alum was 1:49.04, sitting just ahead of Zane GrotheThe unattached Grothe is coming off of American record swims in the short course 500 and 1650 in December – swims in which he broke Smith’s own national records.

Texas alum Jack Conger is third in 1:49.30, with high schooler Trey Freeman sitting fourth.

NC State’s duo of Andreas Vazaios and Anton Ipsen are in, as well as Canadian swimmer and Cal alum Jeremy Bagshaw and Georgia alum Matias Koski.

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3 years ago

Did they announce the individuals who ended up actually being selected for the Swim Squads?

Bon Jovi
Reply to  HOYA13
3 years ago


tammy touchpad error
3 years ago

What a wonderful time to be a swim fan. 3 events in and still a huge, entertaining, stacked morning for the next couple hours!! Stoked!

bobo gigi
Reply to  tammy touchpad error
3 years ago

Wonderful time, yeah! I can’t watch the meet. What a great progress!

Reply to  bobo gigi
3 years ago

Why don’t you have a VPN?

Reply to  CraigH
3 years ago

lol every swim meet Bobo comments about how he can’t watch and then someone responds that he should get a VPN

Reply to  CheddaShredda
3 years ago

If one pays for the Love it is not a Real Love any more, you know 😀

Reply to  CheddaShredda
3 years ago


tammy touchpad error
Reply to  bobo gigi
3 years ago

V!!!! P!!!!!! N!!!!!!

That’d be progress for ya Bobo! Start a go fund me I’ll throw in a couple bucks! I’m sure you have enough SwimSwam fans that support you and want you to watch so that they can see your live commentary!

3 years ago

Shields 1:00.6 (28.3/32.2) for a DFL in the 100 fly…did he sdk the whole way?

Reply to  Daaaave
3 years ago

Piano found him off the start this time

Reply to  Swimmer
3 years ago

11 days into 2018 we already have the best comment

Reply to  Daaaave
3 years ago

He was swimming in a speedo and not trying at all…kind of strange. Even his underwaters were really slow.

Why would he even swim if he was going to do that?

Im gonna catch tomorrow now
Reply to  HOYA13
3 years ago

Agreed! That’s just lame. Maybe he is required to be there? It’s super passive aggressive if he tanks a swim just because he is required to be there. If he has a fever or something, just let him go home.

tammy touchpad error
Reply to  Im gonna catch tomorrow now
3 years ago

Isn’t he a TYR athlete? Wouldn’t surprise me if he was required. Maybe he’s trying to make a statement. I’m with it

Bon Jovi
Reply to  tammy touchpad error
3 years ago

great point

3 years ago

Sadly I think the SwimSquad thing is being poorly handled. They tweeted the selected rosters this morning but the information isn’t being intelligently communicated or marketed. Seems sloppy. I know it’s new but it’s not been well thought-out. Jared’s write-up yesterday was by far the best thing that’s been done to support it. And it’s obviously not his responsibility to make it successful.

Reply to  Paul
3 years ago

Ah yeah just saw the tweeted lineups. They must’ve read the SwimSwam article.

Biggest surprise I think is Sandeno benching Leah Smith.

Reply to  HOYA13
3 years ago

She probably knew Leah was going to be a no show

Reply to  Paul
3 years ago

Appreciate the kind words! I think it could be a very fun addition to the series, but is still clearly finding its footing. I wonder if they didn’t let their captains make some late lineup adjustments when some key swimmers (notably Comerford and Leah Smith) were late scratches, and that pushed back publicizing lineups until the last minute.

Reply to  Paul
3 years ago

I just don’t get it. I would rather discuss the swimmers who swim fast. Or slow like wtf happened to Shields.

3 years ago

Might be time to stick a fork in Tom shields. I don’t see him grabbing that second fly spot with guys like conger and other up and comers.

Reply to  Pvdh
3 years ago

We must be missing something. He couldn’t have gone a 1:00 with legit splits. Something must have happened.

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
3 years ago

He swam it in a speedo, split 28.3, 32.2. Honestly it looked like he hadn’t swam in months.

Reply to  BSD
3 years ago

Should have worn the yellow parachute instead of the blue

Reply to  BSD
3 years ago

Maybe he sprinted a 100 fly in warm up and tried to treat it as the second 100 of a 200.

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
Reply to  Pvdh
3 years ago

I hope Tom doesn’t see this comment

3 years ago
3 years ago

Peng xuwei is the women,s national 200 backstroke champion in China. Her idol is xu jiayu. She won the national championship in October last year in 2:09:55 which was her personal best before today.

bobo gigi
3 years ago

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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