2018 U.S. Winter Nationals: Day 1 Distance Live Recap


The opening session of the 2018 U.S. Winter National Championships is set to get underway from Greensboro, with only the women’s and men’s 800 freestyle on tap for tonight. The heats will alternate between women’s and men’s, with the fastest seeded heats swimming first.

This event marks the first competition where swimmers are eligible to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials, and is the first time since 2015 the meet has been contested long course metres.

World record holder Katie Ledecky highlights the women’s 800 field, and reigning 5k open water world champ Ashley Twichell and rising distance/open water star Erica Sullivan join her with seeds under 8:30.

On the men’s side, Jordan Wilimovsky is the top seed by over nine seconds in 7:45.19, coming off winning silver in the event at the Pan Pacific Championships (in addition to gold in the 1500 and 10k open water).

Women’s 800 Freestyle Timed Final

  • 2020 Olympic Trial Cut: 8:48.09
  1. Katie Ledecky, NCAP, 8:14.40
  2. Ashley Twichell, TAC, 8:28.16
  3. Erica Sullivan, SAND, 8:29.02

To no surprise Katie Ledecky led the first heat of the women’s 800 free wire-to-wire to win by almost 14 seconds in 8:14.40, negative-splitting the race 4:07.27/4:07.13. This is her 20th fastest swim ever, and makes her the first swimmer to hit a 2020 Olympic Trials cut.

Ashley Twichell had the 2nd fastest swim of her career to take 2nd, clocking 8:28.16, and Erica Sullivan had her 3rd fastest performance ever for 3rd in 8:29.02.

Along with those three, Kaersten Meitz (8:37.11), Chase Travis (8:38.84) and Emma Weyant (8:41.30) also made the Trials cut (8:48.09) from heat 1.

15-year-old Paige McKenna (8:46.76) put herself into 8th overall and under the Trials standard from the second fastest heat.

Men’s 800 Freestyle Timed Final

  • 2020 Olympic Trial Cut: 8:12.99
  1. Jordan Wilimovsky, TSM, 7:56.88
  2. Brennan Gravley, SAND, 8:09.95
  3. Ross Dant, YSST, 8:10.99

Jordan Wilimovsky of Team Santa Monica was the lone man to break eight minutes as he won easily in 7:56.88, his 3rd fastest swim ever only trailing his performances this summer at Pan Pacs and US Nationals.

18-year-old Brennan Gravley chopped four-tenths off his best time to take 2nd in 8:09.95, while 17-year-old Ross Dant (8:10.99) and 16-year-old Lleyton Plattel (8:12.02) also got under the Trials cut of 8:12.99.

In the second fastest heat, Dare Rose (8:12.36), Calvin David (8:12.56) and Gordon Mason (8:12.87) also got under the cut.

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3 years ago

Something unusual was with Ledecky’s splits. For the last at least three seasons the emphasis was on making the beginning of the race faster, sometimes at the expense of the second half. At Nationals this summer she swam for the first time the first 300 under 3 min finishing at 8:11. Similar tactics was used in world championships and Pan Pac meets: setting sufficient advantage at the beginning of the race and then keeping it to the end sometimes losing the second half (Li Bingjie – 800, Titmus – 400). But today it was completely different: she had a negative splits of the second half of the race. It is either she had difficulties to get into rhythm at the… Read more »

3 years ago

I know it’s just one session, but they really should’ve just left this meet as SCY.

Coach John
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
3 years ago


Reply to  Coach John
3 years ago

So? There’s still 578 days for that to matter. Look at the Women’s Top 8 in the 800: +7.13, -1.19, +2.75, + 2.38, +0.98, +3.55, +12.02, +1.25 (avg of +3.61). On the men’s side, we’re looking at the #2 time being an 8:09.9.

What exactly are we accomplishing here, besides USA Swimming pumping some fake hype that could’ve been used better with stellar SCY (aka the current USA season) swims?

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
3 years ago

2 season window allows for a bigger block of training before the big show.

And SCY will be gone in 10-20 years…. relegated to high school swimming.

Reply to  John
3 years ago

You really think any person making a trials cut here this week will then go 18 months of straight training?

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
3 years ago

I say let’s split the difference, make the meet SCM, and have the whole Worlds roster come as a prep meet while they’re coming down for Worlds. everyone wins

3 years ago

Looks like she didn’t try to go out in 402 or 403 which would have been too fast at this point of the season

Daddy Dant Admirer
3 years ago


3 years ago

If to believe Usaswimming database that was Ledecky’s 21st fastest race in 800 event. 21th fastest time in history of this event belongs to Rebecca Adlington. Still impressive. Other swimmers in the world can kill to swim that fast.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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