2019 FINA Champions Swim Series – Indianapolis: Day 1 Live Recap


The first of two days at the Indianapolis stop of the FINA Champions Series is set to get underway, with a full slate of 15 events on the docket this evening.

As expected, given the meet is taking place in the U.S., there is a lot more American content competing here in Indianapolis than what we saw at the first two stops in Guangzhou and Budapest. Among the notable names competing who are making their Champions Series debuts include Lilly KingTownley HaasJack CongerCody Miller, and Ryan Murphy.

Day one features two head-to-head showdowns between King and rival Yuliya Efimova in the women’s breaststroke events, and then the two will swim as teammates as they were both chosen to compete for Team 1.

Another notable matchup on the women’s side comes in the backstroke events, as Kylie Masse and Margherita Panziera will clash. They are currently ranked 1-2 in the world this year in the 200 (with Panziera leading the way), and in the 100 Masse is first and Panziera is fifth.

Day one will feature the two of them racing in the 200, and Masse will also race the 50.

Full relay lineups can be seen here:

Women’s 200 Back

  1. Margherita Panziera, ITA, 2:06.64
  2. Katinka Hosszu, HUN, 2:06.94
  3. Kylie Masse, CAN, 2:07.59
  4. Anastasiia Fesikova, RUS, 2:12.41

With three of the world’s best in the event competing, it was a very tight race all the way to the wall as anticipated. Margherita PanzieraKatinka Hosszu and Kylie Masse had virtually nothing between them through the 150, but it was Panziera who used a 31.36 last 50 to edge out the win in a time of 2:06.64. Panziera is currently ranked #1 in the world with her 2:05.72 from April.

Hosszu was just three-tenths back in 2:06.94, moving her up one spot in the world rankings to fifth (crushing her old season-best of 2:08.16), and this was also her fastest swim since the 2017 World Championships.

Masse, who sits second in the world rankings this year in 2:05.94, didn’t have that extra gear at the end and settled for third in 2:07.59.

Men’s 200 Fly

  1. Chase Kalisz, USA, 1:56.91
  2. Justin Wright, USA, 1:57.93
  3. Zach Harting, USA, 1:58.83
  4. Jack Conger, USA, 1:58.96

Chase Kalisz was out aggressively in the men’s 200 fly, facing off against three other Americans, and maintained his lead throughout to win comfortably in a time of 1:56.91. Kalisz has been as fast as 1:56.55 this season, done at the Pro Series in Bloomington earlier this month.

Jack Conger held second through the 150, but was overtaken by Justin Wright and Zach Harting down the stretch as Wright snagged second in 1:57.93. Harting (1:58.83) got Conger (1:58.96) at the touch for third.

Women’s 100 Fly

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, SWE, 56.42
  2. Kelsi Dahlia, USA, 57.55
  3. Penny Oleksiak, CAN, 58.44
  4. Farida Osman, EGY, 58.67

Swedish superstar Sarah Sjostrom finished off the series sweep in the women’s 100 fly, dominating an elite field by over a second in a time of 56.42. That is now the fastest swim in the world this year, surpassing her 56.69 from the Stockholm Open in April.

American Kelsi Dahlia had a strong showing to claim second in 57.55, improving on her season-best of 57.86, and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Penny Oleksiak out-touched Farida Osman, 58.44 to 58.67, for third.

Men’s 50 Free

  1. Vladimir Morozov, RUS, 21.65
  2. Michael Andrew, USA, 21.86
  3. Bruno Fratus, BRA, 22.02
  4. Anthony Ervin, USA, 22.68

After placing second and third in the event at the first two stops, Russian Vladimir Morozov picks up the win in the men’s 50 free in a time of 21.65, edging out Michael Andrew (21.86) by just over two-tenths. Morozov’s season-best of 21.55 ranks him fourth in the world this year.

Bruno Fratus, who sits atop the rankings in 2019 with a 21.47 in April, placed third in 22.02.

Women’s 200 Breast

  1. Lilly King, USA, 2:21.39
  2. Yuliya Efimova, RUS, 2:21.59
  3. Micah Sumrall, USA, 2:23.88
  4. Bethany Galat, USA, 2:24.33

One of the most intriguing rivalries in the sport lived up to the billing tonight as Lilly King had a phenomenal performance to take down Yuliya Efimova in the women’s 200 breaststroke.

King went out like a rocket, leading by well over a second at the 50 in 31.66, and then was pursued by Efimova over the next 100 metres and was passed by her at the 150. King pushed back on the last length, increasing her stroke rate down the stretch to ultimately out-touch the Russian in a time of 2:21.39.

That swim gives King a new personal best, improving on her 2:21.83 from the 2017 World Championships, and it moves her into second in the world behind training mate Annie Lazor (2:20.77).

Efimova, who previously sat second in 2:22.52, improves her time by almost a second but dips one spot to third in 2:21.59.

Micah Sumrall (2:23.88) and Bethany Galat (2:24.33) both earned season-bests in third and fourth.

Men’s 100 Back

  1. Ryan Murphy, USA, 52.99
  2. Matt Grevers, USA, 53.37
  3. Jacob Pebley, USA, 53.40
  4. Robert Glinta, ROU, 54.33

After Matt Grevers went out fast with a 25.57 opening 50, Ryan Murphy took over with a scintillating final 50 (27.15) to win the men’s 100 back in a time of 52.99. Murphy’s time puts him third in the world, joining Xu Jiayu (52.27) and Evgeny Rylov (52.81) under 53 seconds.

Grevers, who has been 53.09 this season, touched in 53.37 for second, narrowly holding off Jacob Pebley who set a season-best in 53.40.

Women’s 400 Free

  1. Leah Smith, USA, 4:03.86
  2. Melanie Margalis, USA, 4:06.35
  3. Hali Flickinger, USA, 4:09.72
  4. Katinka Hosszu, HUN, 4:12.30

Leah Smith put together a very strong swim in the women’s 400 free, keeping all of her 50s sub-31 as she put up an in-season best time of 4:03.86. That bumps her up from seventh (4:05.17) to fifth in the world this year.

Melanie Margalis dropped over two seconds from her best time to place second in 4:06.35, catapulting her into 12th in the world this year.

Men’s 50 Fly

  1. Nicholas Santos, BRA, 22.94
  2. Michael Andrew, USA, 23.11
  3. Andrii Govorov, UKR, 23.14
  4. Oleg Kostin, RUS, 23.29

In a race featuring the three fastest men in the world this year, it was Brazilian Nicholas Santos who came away with the victory in a time of 22.94, earning him his third straight win in this event at the Champions Series. Santos set the #1 time for 2019 in Budapest in a South American Record 22.60.

In his second race of the night, Michael Andrew produced the second-fastest swim of his career for the runner-up spot in 23.11, out-touching world record holder Andrii Govorov (23.14) and Russian Oleg Kostin (23.29).

Women’s 100 Free

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, SWE, 52.97
  2. Pernille Blume, DEN, 53.68
  3. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, NED, 53.72
  4. Penny Oleksiak, CAN, 54.22

Just like she did in the 100 fly, Sarah Sjostrom completes the series sweep in the women’s 100 free in a time of 52.97, just off her season-best of 52.76 from last month. All three of her series wins in this event have been within 0.21 of each other (52.82, 53.03, 52.97).

Pernille Blume of Denmark took second to the Swede just like she did in Budapest, clocking 53.68, while Ranomi Kromowidjojo was just a few one-hundredths back for third (53.72).

Men’s 200 IM

  1. Chase Kalisz, USA, 1:58.41
  2. Michael Andrew, USA, 2:00.08
  3. Josh Prenot, USA, 2:01.13
  4. Zach Harting, USA, 2:08.33

After a fast start from Michael Andrew on the fly, turning in 24.97, Chase Kalisz took over for his second victory of the night. Kalisz’s 30.05 backstroke and 28.67 freestyle splits proved to be the difference as he won in 1:58.41, less than a second off his season-best of 1:57.68 from January.

After his quick fly leg Andrew also had the top breast split in the field at 33.76, ultimately taking second in 2:00.08. Josh Prenot took third in 2:01.13.

Women’s 50 Breast

  1. Lilly King, USA, 29.63
  2. Yuliya Efimova, RUS, 29.93
  3. Molly Hannis, USA, 30.40
  4. Bethany Galat, USA, 31.72

Lilly King followed up her PB swim in the 200 breast with a second win on the night in the 50, producing the ninth-fastest swim in history in 29.63. She becomes the first swimmer sub-30 this year, previously holding the top time in the world at 30.03, and Yuliya Efimova joined her under 30 a few tenths later in 29.93.

Molly Hannis maintains her world rank of third behind King and Efimova, improving her season-best by .02 in 30.40 for third.

Men’s 100 Breast

  1. Cody Miller, USA, 59.26
  2. Arno Kamminga, NED, 59.72
  3. Anton Chupkov, RUS, 59.90
  4. Kevin Cordes, USA, 1:01.27

Crowd favorite Cody Miller had a big performance in Champions Series debut, splitting faster than the rest of the field opening up (27.90) and closing (31.36) to win the men’s 100 breast in 59.26. Miller was just a tick faster, 59.24, a few weeks ago in Bloomington which ranks him t-8th in the world this year.

Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands held off 200 breast World Champion Anton Chupkov (59.90) to claim second in a season-best 59.72.

Women’s 50 Back

  1. Kylie Masse, CAN / Anastasiia Fesikova, RUS, 28.20
  2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, NED, 28.71
  3. Etiene Medeiros, BRA, 28.85

Kylie Masse and Anastasiia Fesikova raced to a tie in the women’s 50 back, posting identical times of 28.20. Fesikova was the victor in this event at the Budapest stop in 27.58, a time that ranks her second in the world this year. Masse’s season-best came back in February where she was a 27.94.

Men’s 200 Free

  1. Danas Rapsys, LTU, 1:45.56
  2. Townley Haas, USA, 1:47.09
  3. Gabriele Detti, ITA, 1:47.29
  4. Pieter Timmers, BEL, 1:48.74

Lithuanian Danas Rapsys completely took over the men’s 200 free race on the back half, picking up his second straight win in the event for the series after losing a close battle at the first stop against Sun Yang.

Leading at every wall with splits of 24.57, 51.45 and 1:18.63, he stormed home in 26.93 for a time of 1:45.57, putting him second in the world for 2019 behind only Russian Martin Malyutin (1:45.46). He was also only four-tenths off his National Record of 1:45.12 set last year.

Townley Haas, making his series debut, held off a late charge from Italian Gabriele Detti (1:47.29) to hang on for second in 1:47.09. Not only was the swim a new season-best for Haas, it was also his fastest time ever outside of a major international or U.S. Nationals/Trials competition.

Mixed 4×100 Free Relay

  1. Team 4 (Andrew, Pebley, Dahlia, Kromowidjojo), 3:28.27
  2. Team 2 (Murphy, Santos, Medeiros, Masse), 3:30.94
  3. Team 3 (Conger, Miller, Pickrem, Flickinger), 3:33.85
  4. Team 1 (Harting, Prenot, King, Efimova), 3:39.13

In the mixed 4×100 free relay, where teams were chosen at random, it was Team 4 consisting of Michael Andrew (49.87), Jacob Pebley (49.41), Kelsi Dahlia (54.18) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (54.81) who ran away with the win in a time of 3:28.27. Andrew’s lead-off time tied his best time from the 2018 Summer Nationals, while both Pebley and Dahlia had the top male and female legs in the field respectively.

Team 2 also had two men go sub-50 with Ryan Murphy (49.99) and Nicholas Santos (49.77) as they took second in 3:30.94, and Jack Conger (49.82) had the most notable leg on the lead-off for third place Team 3 (3:33.85).

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2 years ago

Nice tune up for Worlds!

2 years ago

Panziera will get the WR. If not her, Regan smith will.

Reply to  Hswimmer
2 years ago

204 is very fast, I think there could be 4 under 206 and maybe two under 205

Reply to  Hswimmer
2 years ago

maybe….has anyone else even been under 2;05?

Bear drinks beer
Reply to  pvdh
2 years ago

Coventry and Fesikova did…in supersuit.

Reply to  Bear drinks beer
2 years ago

Coventry with the 2008 LZR, a 50 per cent poly suit, less efficient than the “real” supersuits, 100 per cent poly, available in 2009 and used by almost all the swimmers at Worlds 2009.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  pvdh
2 years ago

Missy’s the only one to go under 2:05.68 in textile, so it’ll be a long time until we see another 2:04, if ever. Except if someone with Missy’s talent and trajectory rises up.

Reply to  Hswimmer
2 years ago

I think sometimes the magnitude of Missy’s WR is lost with the way her career ended. Her WR 2:04.0 is 8 tenths faster than the fastest super suit time and 1.6 seconds faster than the next fastest textile swimmer. Breaking 2:06 is a huge barrier (only 8 women have ever done it) and we have yet to see a woman under 2:05.5 in textile, other than Missy (who did it thrice 2:05.1/2:04.7/2:04.0). So I’d hold off on all these bold predictions that every up and comer will break her world record for now. Because seeing someone go 2:05 low would be HUGE and still a full second away.

Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

Because of stagnation in this event Franklin’s record wasn’t seriously challenged. For long period of time there were practically same swimmers who competed against her in London. The gold medalist in Rio was 2(!) sec slower.
Compare the situation with W200FR. Pellegrini’s record was tested by such grandmasters as Schmitt, Sjostrom and Ledecky. Despite they came pretty close to it this record is considered being safe.
Franklin’s record is about 2 sec away from the current group of challengers, but the dynamic is different: they are all on the rise.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Yozhik
2 years ago

Good summary. It has been a stagnant underachieving event for 7 years. Franklin’s time is very good but the competition has made it look far more impressive than it rightfully should be. Once there is a breakthrough of this boring 2:06 range there will be multiple women pushing lower. Right now they don’t have to do it because it essentially has been group mediocrity.

bear drinks beer
Reply to  Hswimmer
2 years ago

2:05 low is a more realistic prediction and that’s impressive enough.

2 years ago

Giggle giggle giggle

2 years ago

Missy is pretty good commenting….i mean she includes her cliche’s but everyone does that.

E Gamble
Reply to  pvdh
2 years ago

I think Missy did a great job too. 💪

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  pvdh
2 years ago

It was 2 hours of nauseating unvaried enthrallment

2 years ago

Nobody can talk about the 200bk without mentioning Panziera anymore. Lady is dynamite.

2 years ago

No Rowdy, thank god

2 years ago

Much better from Ervin with a 22.68 this time around ….well done

2 years ago

Fratus was sleeping???? What a bad start

Reply to  Rafael
2 years ago

he may have had a slow start …it happens to the best

2 years ago

relax nbc, this isnt a boxing match

Reply to  pvdh
2 years ago


Reply to  pvdh
2 years ago

They’re trying to put on a show and entertain.

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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