2018 U.S. National Day 5 Finals: Andrew Aims for the 4-Peat


The fifth and final night of the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships will feature finals for the women’s 1500 free, men’s 800 free, and women’s and men’s 200 IM and 50 free.

Women’s 1500

With Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith out of the final, it’s more-than-likely that two new bodies will swim their way onto the Pan Pacs roster. In this fast heat, only Ally McHugh is already qualified from the pool, and she’s the No. 5-seed (that’s not to say she won’t be top 2 based on how she’s swimming). The top seed is 17-year-old Erica Sullivan, who took fifth in the 800 on the first day of the meet with an over 3-second time drop. Seeded behind her is NC State’s Hannah Moore, who added almost 10 seconds in her 800 free. Just behind her is open water star Ashley Twichell, who gained almost seven seconds in her 800. The other open water swimmer in the race, Haley Anderson, has had both a more prolific meet than either Moore or Anderson. She took bronze in the 400 free and 800 free, going best times in both. She’s definitely a threat to drop and make the podium in the 1500.

Men’s 800

After his solid 400 and 1500 swims earlier in the meet, top seed Zane Grothe is a good bet to take gold in the 800. But his 400 win wasn’t without a fight from Grant Shoults who drops a couple sends and hung with Grothe for until the very end. Watch for the two to push each other tonight. Seeded behind them is 18-year-old Andrew Abruzzo, who took 6th in both the 1500 and 400, and dropped significant time in the 400 IM – he appears poised for a strong swim. Others in the mix should be True Sweetser and young 1500 silver medalist Robert Finke.

Women’s 200 IM

After scratching out of two of her four races at this meet entirely to rest as she recovers from mono, No. 2-seed Ella Eastin made the A-final in this event. If she makes the top two, she will make the Pan Pacs team, and if she remains in the top five or so, she should make the 2019 World University Games team. However, that’s no easy task. Ahead of her in prelims were Melanie Margalis (2:10.13), Evie Pfeifer (2:11.66), Alex Walsh (2:11.83), and Kathleen Baker (2:11.87). If Eastin made the top two, it would be one of the greatest feats of at least this meet, if not of the summer.

Men’s 200 IM

Chase Kalisz cruised to the top qualifying spot this morning, over a second-and-a-half faster than anyone else. He’s the clear favorite tonight, with Georgia teammate Jay Litherland and Abrahm DeVine set for a fun battle for second place. Everyone else in the A-final was within three tenths of each other this morning. In the B-final, watch for a duel between newly-minted 15-16 NAG record holder Carson Foster, and No.3 all-time 15-16 American  Gianluca Urlando, who’s had a stellar meet so far.

Women’s 50 free

Simone Manuel was her usual dominant self this morning (24.61), but the other three spots on the Pac Pacs roster are up for grabs. Margo Geer was second in prelims with a 24.77, Abbey Weitzeil third in 24.87, Lia Neal fourth in 25.09, with Kelsi Dahlia and Grace Ariola tied for fifth in 25.10. It seems like the resurgent Geer and Weitzeil should have two spots locked down, but really, the 50 free is anyone’s game.

Men’s 50 free

Michael Andrew dreams of one day being the fastest swimmer in the world in all four 50s. Already this meet, he’s come out on top as the fastest American in the 50 fly and 50 breast, and another 50 win would be pretty darn impressive. He went a best time this morning in 21.64, and Caeleb Dressel, the first man to break 18 seconds short course, was behind him in 21.89. The race for first is likely going to one of the aforementioned two. But after them this morning was Michael Jensen in 22.03 (a best time), then Zach Apple and Nathan Adrian ties in 22.10. Adrian, of course, has been 21.37, while Apple’s best is 22.00. Apple is certainly a threat to break 22, but Adrian has a strong shot at the podium.


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25 free champ
3 years ago

Dang. Looking at this picture I’m amazed by how jacked MA is without weight lifting. Is he the fastest 50 freestyler in history who didn’t lift weights? Imagine if he lifted. Would he be faster? 20.5?

Reply to  25 free champ
3 years ago

He doesn’t have that much muscle mass he’s just shredded. Yes he would be pretty fast if he lifted tho

3 years ago

A 4-peat would be in play if he’s won 3 straight national titles in the 50 free. A 4th event win is in play. But not a 4-peat. #pedanticpoint

3 years ago

You can see Caeleb and his tattoo lurking in the background.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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