2019 Atlanta Classic: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap


Caeleb Dressel and Hali Flickinger have been the most impressive swimmers at this meet so far this weekend, and they’ll have some final racing to do today at the Atlanta Classic. Dressel is entered in both the 100 free and the 200 IM, and based off of the range we’ve seen from his 200 free and, most recently, his 200 fly, we may get to see another big swim for him in the IM. Flickinger, meanwhile, has been stellar, and she’s entered in the 200 back and 200 IM.


TOP 10

  1. Melanie Margalis (SPA) – 2:10.86
  2. Kate Douglass (CPAC) – 2:15.32
  3. Vanessa Pearl (MTRO) – 2:16.69
  4. Emma Barksdale (GAME) – 2:16.88
  5. Meaghan Raab (NAC) – 2:17.58
  6. Kelly Fertel (GSC) – 2:17.93
  7. Bailey Nero (AU) – 2:18.54
  8. Erin Gemmell (NCAP) – 2:20.11
  9. Rye Ulett (DYNA) – 2:20.12
  10. Leah Gingrich (HURR) – 2:20.31

Melanie Margalis was far-and-away the top swimmer here in prelims, clocking a 2:10.86 and falling just shy of the 2:10 barrier. That’s almost a season best for Margalis– she was 2:10.43 at the PSS stop in Knoxville back in January, and it looks like she can beat that tonight.

17-year-old Kate Douglass of Chelsea Piers was 2nd in 2:15.32, a second and change off of her lifetime best of 2:14.08. Douglass has already swum several lifetime bests this meet. She was followed by a slew of current or former SEC swimmers, while 14-year-olds Erin Gemmell of NCAP and Rye Ulett of Dynamo were 2:20.11 and 2:20.12, respectively, to make the A final. 29-year-old Leah Gingrich will race them in this A final, too, after getting into the A final in 10th (2:20.31).

Hali Flickinger was entered in this race but did not swim, opting to focus on the 200 back.


TOP 10

  1. Alex Lebed (Unattached) – 2:02.32
  2. Andrew Abruzzo (PWAC) – 2:03.84
  3. Tomas Peribonio (GSC) – 2:03.89
  4. Gunnar Bentz (DYNA) – 2:04.07
  5. Khader Baqlah (Unattached) – 2:06.11
  6. Kieran Smith (RAC) – 2:06.66
  7. Clayton Forde (ABSC) – 2:07.11
  8. Christian Ferraro (BUZZ) – 2:07.22
  9. Lionel Khoo (Unattached) – 2:08.39
  10. Nico Perner (Alabama) – 2:08.58

This was all-SEC top 10 this morning save for Georgia Tech’s Christian Ferraro in 8th (2:07.22). Alex Lebed of Florida was 2:02.32, over a second faster than anyone else. He was just three tenths off of his lifetime best of 2:02.01 from 2017 Summer Nationals. Rising Georgia sophomore Andrew Abruzzo destroyed his lifetime best of 2:05.79, going 2:03.84 to qualify second into this A final.

Notably, after his 1:56.29 in the 200 fly last night, Caeleb Dressel did not race this event. He has the 100 free prelims later.


TOP 10 

  1. Hali Flickinger (ABSC) – 2:10.44
  2. Olivia Smoliga (ABSC) – 2:10.64
  3. Phoebe Bacon (NCAP) – 2:11.89
  4. Maddie Homovich (MOR) – 2:13.91
  5. Rye Ulett (DYNA) – 2:14.70
  6. Natalie Mannion (CS) – 2:15.18
  7. Rosie Zavaros (Unattached) – 2:15.76
  8. Abi Wilder (AU) – 2:16.91
  9. Ellie Waldrep (BAY) – 2:16.97
  10. Georgia Darwent (GSC) – 2:18.69

Hali Flickinger and Olivia Smoliga will duel tonight in this race after both went 2:10 this morning. They swim this race very differently; Flickinger, an endurance swimmer, made her move on the back-half to ultimately move past Smoliga over the last length, while Smoliga, a sprinter, was out hard and tried to hold things together on the back half. 16-year-old Phoebe Bacon of NCAP was third in 2:11.89.

A few more youngsters made it into this A final, including Ulett after the 200 IM (2:14.70), 15-year-old Natalie Mannion of Commonwealth (2:15.18), and 16-year-old Ellie Waldrep of Baylor (2:16.97).


  1. Clark Beach (Quest) – 2:00.44
  2. Ethan Beach (Quest) – 2:02.58
  3. Javier Acevedo (AAC) – 2:03.44
  4. Noah Rutberg (NCAP ) – 2:03.90
  5. Harry Homans (ABF) – 2:04.34
  6. Robert Finke (SPA) – 2:04.49
  7. Keegan Walsh (SA) – 2:04.69
  8. Joonas Koski (BUZZ) – 2:04.82
  9. Jack Aikins (SA) – 2:05.25
  10. Trey Freeman (BAY) – 2:05.49

Clark and Ethan Beach, twins, were the top two swimmers this morning in the men’s 200 back. Clark was first at 2:00.44, and then a bit back was Ethan (2:02.58), with Javier Acevedo in third (2:03.44).

16-year-olds Noah Rutberg and Jack Aikins both went lifetime bests to make the A final. Rutberg, of NCAP, took more than two seconds from his old best of 2:06.36 from the 2018 PV LC Championships last summer, while Aikins sliced a bit from his 2:05.65 old best from 2018 Speedo Jr Nationals.


  1. Natalie Hinds (ABSC) – 54.80
  2. Olivia Smoliga (ABSC) – 55.04
  3. Erika Brown (TNAQ) – 55.28
  4. Melanie Margalis (SPA) – 55.48
  5. Veronica Burchill (ABSC) – 55.77
  6. Erin Gemmell (NCAP) – 56.45
  7. Jordan Stout (ABSC) – 56.75
  8. Leah Gingrich (HURR) – 56.76
  9. Kate Douglass (CPAC) – 56.79
  10. Maxine Parker (CPAC) – 56.84

Natalie Hinds had the best swim of her life, going 54.80 for her first time under 55 seconds. Her old best was a 55.14 from the Knoxville PSS stop. Hinds was 55.47 at the 2015 US Summer Nationals, but she took time off from the sport following 2016 Olympic Trials. She returned to racing in December of 2018, and January’s Knoxville meet was actually her first LCM racing. All in 2019, she has been better than that 55.47 seven times including this morning.

Olivia Smoliga and Erika Brown were behind Hinds at 55.04 and 55.28. We don’t see Melanie Margalis swim this event very often, and she was three hundredths off of her best with a 55.48. 14-year-old Erin Gemmell made her second A final of the morning with a 56.45, just .13 from her best.

Leah Gingrich, who in 2018 returned to racing after not having a registered time since the 2012 NCAA Champs, went a lifetime best 56.76 here, taking over a tenth from her old best of 56.91 from the Richmond PSS stop.


  1. Caeleb Dressel (GSC) – 48.45
  2. Dean Farris (HARV) – 49.93
  3. Jake Magahey (SA) – 50.54
  4. Corey Main (GSC) – 50.64
  5. Khader Baqlah (Unattached) – 50.82
  6. Gerry Quinn (Unattached) – 50.89
  7. Will Pisani (CS) – 50.93
  8. Nathan Lile (GAME) / Alberto Mestre (GSC) / Jonathan Berneburg (Alabama) – 51.27

Caeleb Dressel was all business this morning, launching himself to a 48.35. His splitting was quite ridiculous, going out in 24.10 and coming home in 24.35, nearly negative splitting it. Nobody else in the field came back under 26, and Dressel checks in at #17 in the world this year and the top American.

Dressel is looking incredibly good for an in-season meet, where he’s typically well off of his taper times. This morning, he was nearly as good as he was at the 2018 Pan Pac Champs (48.13), while this is the fastest he’s ever been in-season. He’s only been under 49 three other times in-season: 48.71 at the Des Moines PSS stop in March, 48.74 in June of 2016 at the SE Invite, and 48.96 in June of 2018 at the Santa Clara PSS stop last season.

Dean Farris hasn’t been very fast at this meet, but he was still able to break 50 seconds with a 49.93 this morning. That’s his ninth time under 50 seconds, ever, while his best of 48.52 from last summer still stands as his only time under 49.

Jake Magahey of Swim Atlanta popped a huge new best here, going 50.54 to qualify third into the A final. His seed was a 51.89, though his best time according to USA Swimming was 53.18. Either way, this is now his fastest swim in the event by a long shot.

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Nick Bradford
4 years ago

Can anyone get a video of his finals race this time?!?!?!

4 years ago

Wouldn’t even be surprised if he go 46.99

Reply to  Sqimgod
4 years ago

I would

Reply to  Sqimgod
4 years ago

Anything is possible, let’s vote:
A) scratch final
B) add time
C) 48-48.44
D) under 48

Reply to  Tm71
4 years ago

My money is on 47,97, so D… Caeleb just made me even more hyped for the worlds this weekend. The sprint events will be insane. This year’s Kyle Chalmers vs. an in-form Dressel. Yes, please.

Ol’ Gator
4 years ago

47 tonight

Reply to  Ol’ Gator
4 years ago

Troy has the gators doing a workout this afternoon. Just an FYI if he’s tired tonight, that’s why.

Reply to  Swack
4 years ago

Wonder what the rationale is for that—maybe to simulate the exhaustion of a gruelling worlds or Olympic meet?

Reply to  Ol’ Gator
4 years ago


4 years ago

Now taking recommendations on A.) what my newly wed and I should do if B.) CD throws down a specific time

Reply to  Papa
4 years ago

Pre-emptive “let’s keep it PG,” please.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

comment image

Reply to  Papa
4 years ago

2tablespoons of ghost pepper mayo if he goes 47.74

Reply to  Papa
4 years ago

Adopt a rescue dog and name it CJ(Caeleb Junior) if he goes a 47.5(split 23.1/24.4).

Reply to  Ragnar
4 years ago


4 years ago

Got to be top three fastest backend split ever

Reply to  Skoorbnagol
4 years ago

Maybe he is playing around or maybe he knows how Kyle Chalmers swims his races and thinks that is his biggest challenger? Now is the time to experiment with all kinds of race strategies and to keep his competitors guessing!

4 years ago

Lol he really just split 24.1/24.3

4 years ago

Dressel 48.45 100 free

William Wallace
4 years ago

Caeleb with the near even split 100 in prelims?

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About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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