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




  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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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2 years ago


Reply to  Jcinho
2 years ago

Kevin Cordes will be under the World Record at the 150 as sure as Dean Farris is upvoted and Bobo Gigi is downvoted.

2 years ago

Yay, old comment format is back!

Reply to  BSD
2 years ago

With some formatting improvements that I hope makes it a little easier to read!

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

excellent job guys 😊

bobo gigi
2 years ago

Daniel Roy is the next dominant US guy in that event. He will be the man to beat at olympic trials in 2020. He reminds me a little bit of Kitajima. At least in terms of height. 🙂
For this year probably a battle between the veterans Cordes, Prenot, Wilson, Fink and Licon. I’m not sure that Kalisz is interested. He has enough to do with the 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM.

Reply to  bobo gigi
2 years ago

The Bobo down vote algorithm took a lot longer to register this time–does that have something to do with the new format?

Reply to  bobo gigi
2 years ago

Braden, I guess they couldn’t fix all Bobo’s down votes!

Ernie and Bert
Reply to  bobo gigi
2 years ago

Daniel Roy swims like he is 6’5.

Reply to  Ernie and Bert
2 years ago

So does Reece Whitley. Come on man, time to break 2:10.

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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