2018 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, July 25 – Sunday, July 29, 2018
- William Woollett Aquatics Center, Irvine, CA
- Prelims 9 AM / Finals 6 PM (U.S. Pacific Time)
- Meet website
- Meet information
- Event Order
- Full selection procedures
- Psych Sheet
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- Thursday Prelims Heat Sheet
Swimmers are gearing up for the 2nd day of action at the 2018 U.S. Nationals in Irvine, California. This morning we’ll see prelims of the 200 free, 200 breast, 200 back, and 50 fly. Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt will look for a Pan Pacs team bid in the 200 free today. Also looking for his first qualifying event is Caeleb Dressel, who will swim both the 200 free and 100 fly.
After winning the 100 free last night, Indiana’s Blake Pieroni looks dangerous in the 200 free, but Texas’ Townley Haas is the man to beat. 16-year-old Regan Smith had a very strong showing on day 1, dropping 3 seconds in the 200 fly. If that improvement translates over to her backstroke, she’s got a great shot at winning the 200 back today. The men’s version of that event will feature Olympic champion Ryan Murphy and Olympic teammate Jacob Pebley.
Olympic breaststrokers Kevin Cordes and Josh Prenot will take on a deep field of 200 breaststrokers that includes Worlds 200 breaststroker Nic Fink and short course American Record holder Will Licon. Olympic 100 breast champ Lilly King headlines the women’s 200 breast alongside Worlds breaststroker Bethany Galat. The 50 fly to end the session will have American Record holders Kelsi Dahlia and Dressel in the mix, as well as sprint standout Michael Andrew.
WOMEN’S 200 FREE:
- World Record: Federica Pellegrini, 1:52.98, 2009
- American Record: Allison Schmitt, 1:53.61, 2012
- Championship Record: Allison Schmitt, 1:54.40, 2012
- U.S. Open Record: Allison Schmitt, 1:54.40, 2012
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Gabby Deloof (Michigan)- 1:56.76
- Leah Smith (Arizona)- 1:56.78
- Katie Ledecky (Stanford)- 1:56.83
- Melanie Margalis (Georgia)- 1:56.84
- Allison Schmitt (ASU)- 1:57.12
- Simone Manuel (Stanford)- 1:57.20
- Mallory Comerford (Louisville)- 1:57.92
- Paige Madden (Cavalier Swimming)- 1:58.50
Michigan’s Gabby Deloof stole the show this morning, running down Katie Ledecky (1:56.83) on the back half to lead the way through prelims in 1:56.83. That was a big drop for Deloof, who came into the meet with a 1:58.43 from a few weeks ago. She’s the top qualifier by 2 hundredths over Olympic medalist Leah Smith (1:56.78) and just 3 hundredths shy of cracking the all-time top 10 Americans list.
In heat 10, Olympic champions Allison Schmitt (1:57.12) and Melanie Margalis battled in the middle of the pool. Schmitt had the edge going into the last 50, but Margalis hammered home to win it in 1:56.84. That was just 3 tenths shy of Margalis’ best. Behind them, 14-year-old Claire Tuggle popped a lifetime best 1:58.59. She’s now just 5 hundredths shy of the NAG Record set by Sippy Brennan in 1978 and moves ahead of Missy Franklin as the 2nd fastest ever in the 13-14 age group. Franklin swam this event today, placing 18th in 1:59.56.
Stanford’s Simone Manuel, who swam the 2nd fastest 100 free ever done by an American last night, was less than a tenth shy of her best in 1:57.20. NCAA champion Mallory Comerford, the only female swimmer besides Franklin to break 1:40 in the 200 yard free, was safely into the final at 7th in 1:57.92.
Texas’ Evie Pfeifer made big drops during her first NCAA season and her improvement has been showing in the long course pool. Lia Neal (2:00.66) was out in 57.7, leading the way through the halfway mark, but Pfeifer shifted gears as she brought it home to win in 1:58.54. Before today, she had never been under 2:01. Cavalier Swimming’s Paige Madden also had a fast swim in the early heats, breaking 2:00 to sneak into the final at 1:50.50.
MEN’S 200 FREE:
- World Record: Paul Biedermann, 1:42.00, 2009
- American Record: Michael Phelps, 1:42.96, 2009
- Championship Record: Michael Phelps, 1:44.10, 2008
- U.S. Open Record: Michael Phelps, 1:44.10, 2008
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Andrew Seliskar (Cal)- 1:45.77
- Blake Pieroni (Indiana)- 1:46.26
- Conor Dwyer (Unattached)- 1:46.34
- Jack LeVant (North Texas Nadadores)- 1:46.39
- Townley Haas (Texas)- 1:47.55
- Jay Litherland (Georgia)- 1:47.58
- Jack Conger (Texas)- 1:47.63
- Trey Freeman (Baylor Swim Club)- 1:47.70
Cal’s Andrew Seliskar had never broken 1:50 before 2018. In fact, he hadn’t gone a best time in the event in 4 years. Now, he’s the top seed for finals at nationals and the 9th fastest American of all time, knocking 100 free champ Blake Pieroni out of the all-time top 10 for now. Seliskar put up a blistering 1:45.77 in heat 11 of prelims and looks like he’s in the mix to win it tonight, with Pieroni swimming a lifetime best 1:46.26 for 2nd in the heat. That shaved a few hundredths off Pieroni’s best, but after becoming the first man to break 1:30 in the short course 200 free, he looks like he has a 1:45 in him.
Olympic medalist Conor Dwyer battled with junior star Jack LeVant in heat 10. LeVant flipped about half a second ahead, but Dwyer came back on him to just out-touch him at the finish, 1:46.34 to 1:46.39. This was another fantastic swim for LeVant, coming after a great 200 fly yesterday. It was a 2-second drop from his former best 1:48.43. He’s now the 2nd fastest ever in the 17-18 age group, behind only Michael Phelps’ 1:45.99 NAG Record.
In terms of best times, Dwyer is the 2nd fastest in this field with his 1:45.23 from 2016. Last summer, he only qualified to swim the relay at Worlds, but he’ll get a chance to compete in the individual 200 free internationally again if he can nab a spot in the top 4 tonight. Townley Haas is the only other man who had broken 1:46 before today. He’s the fastest active American swimmer with his 1:45.03 from 2017 nationals. Haas won the final heat in 1:47.55 this morning. Both Dwyer and Haas have competed individually in this race at the Olympics. We’ve also got fellow Olympians Jack Conger (1:47.63) and Jay Litherland (1:47.58) in the top 8. Litherland put up a best time in 1:47.58, while Conger, who is now tied with Seliskar as the 9th fastest American ever, snuck into the final at 7th in 1:47.63. Conger doesn’t have a sure bid for Pan Pacs yet as he tied for 3rd in the 200 fly last night.
Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine had a huge swim in heat 7. Before the 2018 season, his fastest in this event was a 1:55.74. By June, he had lowered it to a 1:50.77. Today, he busted out a 1:47.88. In heat 9, several guys made big drops. Harvard’s Dean Farris broke 1:50 for the first time, touching 3rd in his heat with a 1:48.27, but it was junior standouts Kieran Smith (1:47.72) and Drew Kibler (1:47.74) leading the way as Smith ran down Kibler on the back half to out-touch him at the finish. Another junior, Trey Freeman, snuck into the final at 8th in 1:47.70 as he was slightly faster from heat 10.
Caeleb Dressel was a no show in heat 11, while Zach Apple was disqualified for a false start. Apple can still swim the event at Pan Pacs, however, as he’s likely going to the meet for his 100 free performance. Worlds relay member Zane Grothe (1:48.32) is out of the final, but he already placed 3rd in the mile last night and will likely qualify in the other distance free events. Another surprise miss was Maxime Rooney, who had a great 100 free yesterday, but landed 14th in prelims with a 1:48.17.
WOMEN’S 200 BREAST:
- World Record: Rikke Pedersen, 2:19.11, 2013
- American Record: Rebecca Soni, 2:19.59, 2012
- Championship Record: Rebecca Soni, 2:20.38, 2009
- U.S. Open Record: Rebecca Soni, 2:20.38, 2009
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Micah Sumrall (GOLD)- 2:23.27
- Annie Lazor (Indiana)- 2:25.01
- Bethany Galat (Texas A&M)- 2:25.23
- Lilly King (Indiana)- 2:25.33
- Emily Escobedo (COND)- 2:25.73
- Ella Nelson (NAC)- 2:26.47
- Riley Scott (USC)- 2:26.55
- Zoe Bartel (FAST)- 2:26.66
We have 3 women with best times in the 2:21-range in the final. Leading the way was Olympian Micah Sumrall in 2:23.27. Sumrall, who returned to competition this year after a post-2016 break, swam her fastest time since 2015. Her best ever is a 2:21.74 from 2013 Worlds. Similarly, Annie Lazor is back in the mix after making some changes to her training since 2016. Lazor, who know trains as a postgrad at Indiana, qualified 2nd for the final in 2:25.01. That was just 6 hundredths off her lifetime best 2:24.96 done in 2016.
Lilly King (2:25.33) and Bethany Galat (2:25.23) were both in the 2:21-range at last summer’s nationals. They were separated by just a tenth this morning. King has typically had more success in the 100 breast internationally, but she’s clearly a threat to win nationals and is turning into an international medal threat after the improvements she made last summer. Galat has a tendency to perform very well at big meets.
We have a couple of juniors in the final with Zoe Bartel (2:26.66) and Ella Nelson (2:26.66). Both swimmers represented the U.S. at the World Junior Championships last summer. Nelson put up a best, breaking 2:27 for the first time, while Bartel has been as fast as 2:25.46 from 2016 Junior Pan Pacs.
Kentucky’s Bailey Bonnett made a huge drop to just miss out on the final at 9th. Her best time coming into the meet was a 2:31.04, but she brought it down to a 2:27.25 in the final. Bonnett is coming off a good NCAA season that saw her break the Kentucky school record. A pair of other NCAA notables, UMBC’s Emily Escobedo (2:25.73) and USC’s Riley Scott (2:26.55) will swim in the final.
Olympic breaststrokers Breeja Larson (2:27.92) and Katie Meili (2:28.02) landed in the B-final range. Both of them are more likely to qualify for Pan Pacs in the 100 breast.
MEN’S 200 BREAST:
- World Record: Ippei Watanabe, 2:06.67, 2016
- American Record: Josh Prenot, 2:07.17, 2016
- Championship Record: Josh Prenot, 2:07.17, 2016
- U.S. Open Record: Josh Prenot, 2:07.17, 2016
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Josh Prenot (Cal)- 2:07.69
- Will Licon (Texas)- 2:08.92
- Kevin Cordes (Unattached)- 2:09.68
- Nic Fink (Georgia)- 2:09.61
- Andrew Wilson (Texas)- 2:10.14
- Daniel Roy (Stanford)- 2:10.18
- Jonathan Tybur (Texas A&M)- 2:10.55
- Cody Miller (Indiana)- 2:10.59
Josh Prenot is back. After the missing the Worlds team last summer, he’s now the definite favorite to win. Prenot’s 2:07.69 was the 5th fastest American performance in history and his 3rd fastest swim ever. The Olympic silver medalist was over a second ahead of the field, but Texas’ Will Licon is one to watch tonight as he’s the short course American Record holder and out up a sub-2:09 for the first time since 2016 in 2:08.92. Licon’s teammate Andrew Wilson, who swam a 2:08.52 earlier this season, was ahead of Licon on the front end of their heat, but faded down the stretch to qualify 5th in 2:10.14.
Olympian Kevin Cordes, the 2nd fastest American 200 breaststroker ever, and Worlds breaststroker Nic Fink, were the only other men under 2:10 this morning. Neither seemed to expend too much energy this morning’s swim, so expect them to be in the mix for a Pan Pacs spot in finals. Olympic 100 breast medalist Cody Miller snuck in at 8th in 2:10.59. Miller returns after scratching this event altogether at 2017 nationals.
World Junior Champion Daniel Roy, who broke 2:10 for the first time this season at the Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis, was just off his best in 2:10.18 to qualify 6th. Fellow World Juniors medalist Reece Whitley is out of the final, taking 10th in 2:11.32. He was about half a second shy of his best.
Texas A&M’s Jonathan Tybur will once again represent the Aggies in the top 8. Last summer, Tybur finaled in the 200 breast and became the A&M men’s first A finalist at a summer nationals in 19 years.
Chase Kalisz, who placed 6th in the 200 fly last night and is still looking for a Pan Pacs bid, opted out of this race. Earlier this season, he broke 2:10 for the first time and looked like he might be able to crack the top 6 with some rest. Indiana’s Ian Finnerty, who made history as he broke 50 seconds in the 100 yard breast this season and later won the 200 breast, made a big drop in prelims, but hasn’t quite hit his stride in the long course breast as well as he did in the yards pool. Still, he made a 10 second drop from his best time in prelims, going from a 2:26.65 to a 2:16.70, so he’s definitely moving in the right direction.
WOMEN’S 200 BACK:
- World Record: Missy Franklin, 2:04.06, 2012
- American Record: Missy Franklin, 2:04.06, 2012
- Championship Record: Missy Franklin, 2:05.68, 2013
- U.S. Open Record: Missy Franklin, 2:05.68, 2013
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Regan Smith (Riptide)- 2:07.03
- Kathleen Baker (Cal)- 2:08.14
- Isabelle Stadden (Aquajets)- 2:08.48
- Lisa Bratton (Texas A&M)- 2:09.03
- Asia Seidt (Kentucky)- 2:09.29
- Ali Galyer (Kentucky)- 2:09.77
- Olivia Smoliga (Georgia)- 2:09.81
- Katharine Berkoff (MAC)- 2:09.84
After a strong showing in the 200 fly yesterday, the crowd turned their heads to 16-year-old Regan Smith in the 200 back prelims. Smith, a World Junior Champion backstroker, clipped her best time by a little over a tenth this morning to win heat 9 in 2:07.03. She remains the 3rd fastest swimmer ever in her age group, behind only Olympic medalists Missy Franklin, the World Record holder, and Elizabeth Beisel. Another junior standout, 16-year-old Isabelle Stadden, joins her in the final after qualifying 3rd in 2:08.48. That was just a tenth shy of her best. Both Smith and Stadden are from Minnesota. 17-year-old Katharine Berkoff broke 2:10 for the first time to qualify 8th.
Defending national champ Kathleen Baker, the American Record holder in he yards 200 back, swam a smooth 2:08.14 to qualify 2nd. She’s already been 2:07.02 this year, however, at the Mare Nostrum in Monaco. Olivia Smoliga, who swam the 100 back with Baker in Rio, broke 2:10 for the first time in 2:09.81. Before 2018, she had never been under 2:15.
Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson made a big drop, but just missed out on the final with a 2:09.92 for 9th. Her former best was a 2:12.35 from 3 weeks ago. Nelson really stepped up this year, breaking 50 in the 100 yard back and earning All-American status in both backstrokes at NCAAs. She can’t qualify for Pan Pacs from the B final, but she still has a shot in the 100 back.
MEN’S 200 BACK:
- World Record: Aaron Peirsol, 1:51.92, 2009
- American Record: Aaron Peirsol, 1:51.92, 2009
- Championship Record: Aaron Peirsol, 1:53.08, 2009
- U.S. Open Record: Aaron Peirsol, 1:53.08, 2009
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Ryan Murphy (Cal)- 1:56.39
- Jacob Pebley (Cal)- 1:56.88
- Austin Katz (Texas)- 1:56.97
- Clark Beach (Florida)- 1:57.06
- Nick Alexander (Missouri)- 1:57.18
- Bryce Mefford (Cal)- 1:57.66
- Daniel Carr (Cal)- 1:57.69
- Carson Foster (Mason Manta Rays)- 1:57.70
Olympic champion Ryan Murphy led the way for a Cal backstroke contingent that makes up half of tonight’s final. Murphy (1:56.39) and Olympic teammate Jacob Pebley (1:56.88) cruised their way to a pair of 1:56s this morning, and should put on a good race tonight. Bryce Mefford (1:57.66) and Daniel Carr (1:57.69) just finished their freshman year at Cal. Mefford made a huge 4-second drop in the 200 back during the yards season to get into the 1:38-range and dropped a second from his lifetime best in prelims today. Carr, who also made big drops to break 1:40 during the yards season, broke 2 minutes for the first time today, dropping over 2 seconds.
Texas’ NCAA champion Austin Katz, who dropped almost 4 seconds during the NCAA season to take the title as a freshman, was just a couple of tenths shy of his best this morning in 1:56.97. We have some more NCAA talent in the final, with Florida’s Clark Beach, who just finished his freshman season, knocked over a second off his best in 1:57.06. Missouri’s Nick Alexander dropped almost 2 seconds for a 1:57.18. Before this season, Alexander had never broken 2:01.
16-year-old Carson Foster clipped his best time to nab a finals spot at 8th in 1:57.70. He remains the 3rd fastest swimmer ever among Americans in his age group behind Olympic champions Aaron Peirsol and Murphy.
WOMEN’S 50 FLY:
- World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, 24.43, 2014
- American Record: Kelsi Worrell, 25.48, 2017
- Championship Record: Dara Torres, 25.50, 2009
- U.S. Open Record: Sarah Sjostrom, 24.96, 2015
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Kelsi Dahlia (Louisville)- 25.97
- Kendyl Stewart (Team Elite)- 26.16
- Hellen Moffitt (UNC)- 26.71
- Sarah Gibson (Team Elite)- 26.73
- Veronica Burchill (Georgia)- 26.77
- Torri Huske (AAC)- 26.81
- Amanda Kendall (Indiana)- 26.84
- Christie Jensen (Indiana)- 26.90
American Record holder Kelsi Dahlia put up a sub-26 to lead the heats. Her 26.97 was under 2 tenths shy of the 10 fastest performances of all time. Fellow Worlds butterflier Sarah Gibson, who swam the 50 and 100 fly for the U.S. in Budapest, touched 4th. Tonight’s race will also feature Kendyl Stewart (26.16), who represented the U.S. at Worlds in 2015 in the 50 and 100 fly. She’s also been sub-26 in her career with a best of 25.93 from 2015 Worlds.
Indiana got 2 in with Amanda Kendall (26.84) and Christie Jensen (26.90). Kendall has already been her lifetime best 26.07 this season, which she swam to win the Austin shootouts.
MEN’S 50 FLY:
- World Record: Andrii Govorov, 22.27, 2018
- American Record: Caeleb Dressel, 22.76, 2017
- Championship Record: Caeleb Dressel, 23.05, 2017
- U.S. Open Record: Bryan Lundquist, 22.91, 2009
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- (T-1) Michael Andrew (RPC)- 23.33
- (T-1) Caeleb Dressel (Florida)- 23.33
- Chatham Dobbs (Arizona)- 23.73
- John Shebat (Texas)- 23.86
- Giles Smith (Phoenix Swim Club)- 23.88
- Jack Saunderson (TUS)- 23.89
- Matt Josa (Cal)- 23.90
- Tate Jackson (Texas)- 23.95
We have a tie heading into finals between the 2 favorites in this race: American Record holder Caeleb Dressel and World Junior Record holder Michael Andrew. Both his the wall in 23.33 to win their respective heats this morning. Dressel, who placed 6th in the 100 free last night, is the only man in this field to have broken 23. If he wins it tonight, he’ll secure a spot at 2019 Worlds, but won’t yet be on the Pan Pacs roster. Andrew is looking to make his first major international meet with a shot at 2019 Worlds.
NCAA standout Chatham Dobbs of Arizona tied his best to qualify 3rd, while Texas’ John Shebat made a big drop to take 4th in 23.86. The Longhorns have another man in with Tate Jackson at 8th. Jackson swam the 3rd fastest 100 free of the meet last night, but did so from the B final, so he’s not yet on the Pan Pacs roster or in contention for Worlds.