2018 U.S. Nationals Previews: Prenot’s Sights Set on 200 Breast Redemption

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2018 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

SIMPLIFIED SELECTION CRITERIA – MOST OLYMPIC EVENTS

  • Top 1-4 to 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
  • Top 2-6 juniors to 2018 Junior Pan Pacs
  • Top 1-2 (from Nationals + Pan Pacs) to 2019 World Championships
  • 1-2 more to 2019 World University Games
  • 1-2 more to 2019 Pan American Games

After narrowly failing to qualify for the 2017 World Championships team, Olympic silver medalist Josh Prenot looks to return to the top of the U.S. 200 breast field. Prenot, the American Record holder, was less than a tenth shy of making the team as he placed 3rd in this event behind Kevin Cordes and Nic Fink at 2017 nationals. So far this season, Prenot is the 5th fastest man in the nation, sitting one spot ahead of Fink. Cordes, who posted his lifetime best 2:07.41 at last summer’s nationals and is the 2nd fastest American ever, is 15th currently, but it’s not unusual for him to be significantly slower in season. Like Cordes, Fink went his lifetime best 2:08.56 last summer to qualify for Worlds, so both kept strong momentum coming out of the Olympic year. Prenot, however, will be fighting back after some disappointment that could motivate him to push himself back to the front of the pack this time around. Cordes may not make it easy, though, as he was a second ahead of the field at last summer’s nationals and closed within 3 tenths of Prenot’s American Record.

We could see those 3 battling closely, but we shouldn’t count out Texas postgrads Will Licon and Andrew Wilson. At 2016 Trials, Licon established himself as the 4th fastest American in history with a 2:08.14. He’s also the American Record holder in the 200 yard breast. At the Atlanto Pro Swim in March, Licon was just a couple of tenths shy of his time from 2017 nationals in 2:09.47. This is also his first year focusing completely on long course as a pro swimmer, so he may have a big swim in store. Wilson is the 5th fastest American ever at 2:08.37. One of the challenges Wilson will need to overcome is his tendency to swim a bit faster in prelims than finals. He’ll likely need to save his best swim for finals to grab a spot in the top 4 here. He’s currently the fastest man in the nation this year with his 2:08.52 from March. These two have the benefit of training together, so they could push each other to some great swims.

Junior standouts Daniel Roy and Reece Whitley will also be pushing each other again after going 1-2 respectively in the 200 breast at the 2017 World Junior Championships. Roy cracked 2:10 this year with a lifetime best 2:09.73 to win the Indianpolis Pro Swim, breaking the 17-18 NAG Record in the process. Whitley’s best is about a second back in 2:10.82. He also set a 200 breast NAG Record this season, taking down the yards mark as he went a 1:51.43 to place 2nd at Winter Nationals.

World Champion IMer Chase Kalisz may decide to throw his hat in the ring here. He’s been looking good in the 200 breast this season, breaking 2:10 for the first time ever with his 2:09.90 at the Indianapolis Pro Swim in May. The 200 breast comes on day 2, so it doesn’t conflict with any other event in his schedule. Having gone that fast in-season, he has the potential to compete for a spot in the top 3 if he goes for it on taper.

OTHERS IN THE MIX TO FINAL:

NCAA BREASTSTROKE CHAMPION IAN FINNERTY

  • After his eye-popping and historic 49.69 in the 100 yard breast, Indiana’s Finnerty went on to score a win in the 200 breast at NCAAs. Finnerty slashed over 4 seconds from his best in the yards pool, going from a 1:54.43 to a 1:50.17 200 breast. His long course 200 breast isn’t on par with his short course swims. His lifetime best is a 2:26.65 from 2016 and his season best is a 2:30.51 from May. Since he’s having such a strong breakout year, it isn’t unfathomable that he’d have a big swim, but he’d have to make a very significant drop to earn a spot in the top 8.

MINNESOTA ALL-AMERICAN CONNER MCHUGH

  • McHugh made big drops in the NCAA season, bringing his 200 breast down from a 1:53.61 to a 1:51.41 and placing 4th in the final. If his improvement translates over to long course, he should make the final. McHugh won the B final last season and set his lifetime best at a 2:12.47.

RETURNING FINALISTS JONATHAN TYBUR AND JACOB MONTAGUE

  • The Aggie men got their first A finalist at a summer nationals in 19 years as A&M’s Tybur finished 6th in a lifetime best 2:10.94. He’s been a little bit slower in season this summer but he’s coming off a successful NCAA season with a lifetime best 200 breast. Montague returns after placing 8th last season. His lifetime best is a 2:11.70 from prelims last year. Montague has been a bit faster in season this year than he was last year.

OLYMPIC BREASTSTROKE MEDALIST CODY MILLER

  • Miller, and Indiana postgrad, is the 9th fastest American man ever in this event with a 2:09.08 from 2015, but he’s had more success in the 100 breast lately. He did have a strong performance in the short course pool, winning Winter Nationals in 1:49.31 to become the 3rd fastest man ever and bump Prenot down a spot. He opted out of the 200 breast entirely at 2017 nationals, so we may not see him swim tapered it in long course if he decides to focus exclusively on the sprint breaststrokes.

TOP 8 PICKS:

Place Swimmer Lifetime Best Season Best
1 Kevin Cordes 2:07.41 2:13.12
2 Josh Prenot 2:07.17 2:10.15
3 Nic Fink 2:08.56 2:11.33
4 Will Licon 2:08.14 2:09.47
5 Chase Kalisz 2:09.90 2:09.90
6 Andrew Wilson 2:08.37 2:08.52
7 Daniel Roy 2:09.73 2:09.73
8 Reece Whitley 2:10.82 2:13.51

Darkhorse: Andrew Seliskar

  • This NCAA season, Seliskar shifted his focus from the 200 fly to 200 breast, and was the NCAA runner-up by just a few tenths. Should he decide to swim this race long course, he could be due for a big time drop. His best time is a 2:12.82 from 2015, and he’s now had a few years of training at Cal with the likes of American Record holder Prenot to improve his breaststroke. 

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tea rex
4 years ago

How is Ian Finnerty’s PR a 2:26.65??? That’s like way over 2:00 in yards.

I get that the 200 lcm breaststroke is a terrible race that should only be swam under duress, but still…

Pvdh
Reply to  tea rex
4 years ago

Finnertys never really focused on LCM. He’s a crapshoot on guesses. He could be slow to develop or could make an impact right away. Nobody knows.

marklewis
4 years ago

Daniel Roy is coming on strong. He is going to be challenging the older guys. He’s got an excellent sense of pace, which is important in the 200 breast.

The 200 LCM breaststroke is one of the more exciting races to watch. At the 2017 Nationals, the race for 2nd came down to the final stroke. Fink, Prenot and Wilson finished together, with Fink moving from 4th to 2nd down the stretch.

Yabo
4 years ago

You guys are sleeping on Licon and really sleeping on Roy…I’m guessing top four goes something like this:
Updated Nationals breaststroke predictions:
200
1) Cordes
2) Roy
3) Licon
4) Prenot

Alex MeBiller
4 years ago

Nic Fink making the US international team (WC, Olympics, Pan Pacs) all but one year since 2013 says something as to how consistent he is and how consistently underrated he is. The 50 breast shootout champion will turn some heads once again come Irvine.

Yabo
Reply to  Alex MeBiller
4 years ago

He didn’t make Olympics?

bear drinks beer
4 years ago

Whichever US breaststrokers are selected, they will face a fierce battle with the Japanese at Pan Pacs. 🗺

Ex Quaker
4 years ago

Brandon Fischer!

Klorn8d
4 years ago

I think this may be one of the deepest events in the US right now

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Klorn8d
4 years ago

its gonna be a great race indeed

DRESSEL IS GOD
Reply to  ERVINFORTHEWIN
4 years ago

The thing is, this is one of the WORLD’S deepest events. You could probably list 10 people off the top of your head who have a shot at breaking the world record.

Yabo
Reply to  DRESSEL IS GOD
4 years ago

Cordes, Chupkov, Koseki, balladin, Prenot, wattanabe, roy(looks good and teenagers drop time like a mother), Murdoch?, Willis?, Wilson?, Licon if he figure out what’s what?

Superfan
Reply to  Klorn8d
4 years ago

The 200 and the 100 breasts!

Gator chomp
4 years ago

How can you not love Prenot?

Yabo
Reply to  Gator chomp
4 years ago

He kinda flipped out at natties last year

Gator chomp
Reply to  Yabo
4 years ago

Haha, i wouldn’t use the word kinda

Scott Morgan
Reply to  Gator chomp
4 years ago

He’s a poor loser and has no respect for the sport, fans, families and team-mates.

Lee
Reply to  Scott Morgan
4 years ago

Prenot is one of the most outstanding and highly respected swimmers around. Always there for anyone in need of a boost or encouragement whether that be for the sport, fans, families, or team mates. Plus he has a physics degree to boot. Excellence and integrity inside and outside of the pool are just a few of his strong points.

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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