2019 Pro Swim Series – Des Moines: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


The 2019 Pro Swim Series continues this morning in Des Moines, with a handful of Olympic and World champs set to compete.

The men’s 100 free is led by 2017 world champ Caeleb Dressel, in his first full Pro Swim Series as a professional. It was only about a year ago that Dressel put up otherworldly short course times at NCAAs, but he has much less reason to be fully primed this week. The 50 back pits last year’s 100 back world record-breaker Kathleen Baker against Olivia Smoligawho broke the American 50 back record on the Pro Swim Series last year.

That’s just a taste of this morning’s events, which will also include heats of the 100 breast, 200 fly and 400 free for both men and women.

Keep refreshing this page for live, event-by-event updates of all the action from Des Moines.

Women’s 100 free – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Sanchez (HPC Ontario) – 54.87
  2. Smoliga (Athens Bulldog) – 55.09
  3. Hinds (Athens Bulldog) – 55.21
  4. Geer (Mission Viejo) – 55.27
  5. Oliveria (Pinheiros) – 55.36
  6. Stewart (Team Elite) – 55.48
  7. Dahlia (Cardinal Aquatic) – 55.63

Top seed Penny Oleksiak was a late scratch, but it was still a Canadian from the High Performance Center in Ontario leading prelims of the 100 free. 17-year-old Kayla Sanchez went 54.87 to lead the field by two tenths.

Athens Bulldog duo Olivia Smoliga (55.09) and Natalie Hinds (55.21) were second and third. Formerly SEC rivals, the UGA alum Smoliga and Florida alum Hinds will try to track down Sanchez tonight.

Margo Geer is fourth – she was the runner-up in Knoxville at 54.09, beating all of the other major players here this week. She’s a key factor in the hunt for the title tonight. Brazil’s Larissa Oliveira is fifth, with a handful of fly specialists (Kendyl Stewart, Kelsi Dahlia, Amanda Kendall) filling out the A final.

Men’s 100 free – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Kusch (Unattached) – 48.95
  2. Pieroni (Unattached) – 49.11
  3. Correia (Brazil) – 49.22
  4. Held (Unattached) – 49.27
  5. Chierighini (Brazil) – 49.33
  6. Conger (Cavalier) – 49.50
  7. Spajari (Brazil) – 49.51
  8. To (Gator) – 49.61

It’s a tight field for the men’s 100 free A final. Queens University standout Marius Kusch is the top qualifier in 48.95 – he was the only swimmer under 49 seconds.

Everyone else in the field is between 49.1 and 49.6 heading into tonight. American Blake Pieroni is the second qualifier at 49.11, just ahead of Brazil’s Breno Correia. The next few spots alternate between American and Brazilian pros. For the Americans, Ryan Held is fourth and Jack Conger sixth. For Brazil, Marcelo Chierighini sits fifth and Pedro Spajari seventh.

Gator Swim Club’s Kenneth To is eight, edging out another Brazilian, Gabriel Santos, by seven one-hundredths.

The B final is also loaded up with big names. Biggest is Caeleb Dresselthe 2017 world champ who went just 50.49 this morning.

Women’s 100 breast – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Sumrall (Chatthoochee Gold) – 1:07.99
  2. Lazor (Mission Viejo) – 1:08.08
  3. Galat (Unattached) – 1:08.17
  4. Margalis (St. Petersburg) – 1:08.94
  5. Conceicao (Pinheiros) – 1:09.35
  6. Renshaw (Great Britain) – 1:09.51
  7. Smith (HPC Ontario) – 1:09.75
  8. Bernhard (Gamecock) – 1:09.84

It should be a great 100 breast final tonight, with three American pros within two tenths this morning. Micah Sumrall leads the way in 1:07.99, followed by Annie Lazor (1:08.08) and Bethany Galat (1:08.17). All three are better-known for the 200 breast (in fact, they went 1-2-3 at U.S. Nationals in that event last summer), so tonight’s race should be a great back-half battle.

Another swimmer with great endurance is fourth-place qualifier Melanie Margalis. The Georgia alum has been a terror on this tour in the past, though she’s transitioning away from her standout 400 IM and showing off her versatility so far this season.

It’s an international field tonight, with Brazil (Jhennifer Conceicao), Great Britain (Molly Renshaw) and Canada (Kierra Smith) represented. Gamecock Aquatics’ Rachel Bernhard is eighth and into the final. Also of note: U.S. National backstroke and IM champ Kathleen Baker put up an impressive 1:10.19 in this event, making the B final.

Men’s 100 breast – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Miller (Sandpipers) – 1:00.34
  2. Wilby (Great Britain) – 1:00.44
  3. Andrew (Race Pace) – 1:00.66
  4. Lima (Unattached) – 1:00.72
  5. Wilson (Athens Bulldog) – 1:00.76
  6. Wich-Glasen (Unattached) – 1:01.03
  7. Fink (Athens Bulldog) – 1:01.09
  8. De Lara (Unattached) – 1:01.25

U.S. Olympian Cody Miller has battled injuries for the last year – he’s opened up about them in his vlog – but returned with a vengeance in prelims today. His 1:00.34 is a very solid morning swim, besting the field and giving him the top spot into tonight.

Great Britain’s James Wilby is second, a tenth back, and Michael Andrew – last summer’s national champ – is third in 1:00.66.

Brazil’s Felipe Lima is also in the mix, and Andrew Wilson of Athens Bulldog is the last man under 1:01. Wilson won this race in Knoxville (going 1:00.57) with Nic Fink (this morning’s 7th qualifier) second.

Women’s 50 back – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Baker (Team Elite) – 28.52
  2. Sanchez (HPC Ontario) – 28.80
  3. A. DeLoof (Team Elite) – 28.85
  4. Smoliga (Athens Bulldog) – 28.99
  5. Nazieblo (Unattached) – 29.01
  6. Alexander (Kentucky) – 29.20
  7. Stewart (Team Elite) – 29.30
  8. Mack (Osprey) – 29.37

Coming off that solid off-event 100 breast swim, Team Elite’s Kathleen Baker stole the top spot in the 50 back. She was 28.52, three tenths faster than the field.

Canada’s Kayla Sanchez will look for two wins tonight. She’s the top seed in the 100 free and second here after a 28.80 morning swim. American Ali Deloof (28.85) is just behind, and American record-holder Olivia Smoliga is fourth (28.99) as the last swimmer under 29.

Former Virginia Tech standout Klaudia Nazieblo is fifth, and should challenge the 29-barrier tonight. She’s got Kentucky’s Bridgette Alexander just behind.

Men’s 50 back – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Andrew (Race Pace) – 25.00
  2. Basseto (Pinheiros) – 25.69
  3. Tarasevich (Cardinal) – 25.80
  4. Reid (Crimson Tide) – 25.84
  5. Pebley (Team Elite) – 25.97
  6. Irie (Unattached) – 26.01
  7. Pyle (Great Britain) – 26.10
  8. Held (Unattached) – 26.14

Michael Andrew came off his 100 breast swim to easily outpace the 50 back field. He was 25.00 and leads by a good six tenths of a second into tonight.

Brazil’s Guilherme Basseto is second (25.69), a tick ahead of Russian Grigory Tarasevich, who is competing for Cardinal Aquatic. South Africa is represented in fourth with Crimson Tide’s Chris Reid. Also in the A final tonight: Japan (Ryosuke Irie, sixth) and Great Britain (Nicholas Pyle, seventh).

Other Americans in the A final: 200 back Olympian Jacob Pebley in fifth and sprint free Olympian Ryan Held in eighth.

Women’s 200 fly – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Flickinger (Athens Bulldog) – 2:07.51
  2. Kingsley (Athens Bulldog) – 2:11.81
  3. Large (Great Britain) – 2:13.85
  4. Atkinson (Great Britain) – 2:14.73
  5. Crom (Mission Viejo) – 2:14.77
  6. Harvey (Club Aquatique) – 2:15.05
  7. MacInnes (Great Britain) – 2:15.39
  8. Mata Coco (Club Libanes) – 2:15.51

Hali Flickinger is quickly cementing her place as the class of the national field in the 200 fly. She dominated this morning in 2:07.51, only about eight tenths off the Pro Swim Series record. Incredibly, she beat the field by more than four seconds and could be in line for a blowout win tonight.

With 871 FINA points, that should put Flickinger in a good spot for the top prelims swim of the meet, which pays out a $1500 bonus.

Her Athens Bulldog and Georgia teammate Megan Kingsley was 2:11.81 for second. Behind that, it’s a British invasion with 3 Brits in the top 7. 18-year-old Emily Large leads that group with a 2:13.85. Joining her in the final are Charlotte Atkinson and Keanna MacInnes.

15-year-old Catie Crom of Mission Viejo made the final, joining MacInnes and large as the only 18-and-unders in the A heat.

Men’s 200 fly – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Kunert (Unattached) – 1:57.36
  2. Melo (Pinheiros) – 1:59.34
  3. Bentz (Dynamo) – 2:00.79
  4. Darragh (HPC Ontario) – 2:01.30
  5. Peters (Great Britain) – 2:01.94
  6. Wright (Tucson Ford) – 2:02.10
  7. Szabados (Chicago Wolfpack) – 2:02.43
  8. Shields (California) – 2:02.66

The only two men under two minutes this morning were Alex Kunert and Luiz Melo. The German Kunert is the runaway leader at 1:57.36, with Brazil’s Melo just behind in 1:59.34.

American Gunnar Bentz, in his first year as a pro, went 2:00.79 and sits third. Then it’s two more internationals: Mack Darragh of Canada and Jacob Peters of Great Britain. The 18-year-old Peters is one of two juniors in the A final.

U.S. National champ Justin Wright is sixth in 2:02.10, with 17-year-old Bence Szabados a few tenths behind. U.S. Olympian Tom Shields rounds out the A final in 2:02.66.

Women’s 400 free – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Li (China) – 4:08.40
  2. Smith (Tucson Ford) – 4:09.77
  3. Wang (China) – 4:11.55
  4. Meitz (Boilermaker) – 4:12.30
  5. Flickinger (Athens Bulldog) – 4:13.53
  6. Margalis (Athens Bulldog) – 4:13.92
  7. Goss (Granite Gators) – 4:14.09
  8. Wood (Great Britain) – 4:15.48

China’s two teen sensations won both circle-seeded heats this morning, with final heat winner Li Bingjie taking the top spot into tonight’s final. Li was 4:08.40, with the 17-year-old besting American Leah Smith (4:09.77) in her heat.

Smith wound up second overall, with 16-year-old Wang Jianjiahe taking third in 4:11.55. Wang won the 1500 last night in a strong time and should be a top contender tonight.

Purdue grad Kaersten Meitz is fourth in 4:12.30, followed by Athens Bulldog teammates Hali Flickinger (4:13.53) and Melanie Margalis (4:13.92).

Men’s 400 free – prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Grothe (Boulder City Henderson) – 3:52.75
  2. D’Arrigo (Gator) – 3:52.87
  3. Ipsen (Wolfpack) – 3:53.39
  4. Bagshaw (HPC Victoria) – 3:55.57
  5. Melo (Pinheiros) – 3:55.97
  6. Malone (NASA Wildcat) – 3:56.34
  7. Wilimovsky (Team Santa Monica) – 3:56.53
  8. J. Litherland (Dynamo) – 3:57.66

Zane Grothe, last year’s Pro Swim Series distance standout, is the top qualifier for the men’s 400, beating Gator Swim Club’s Mitch D’Arrigo in a tough head-to-head battle in the final heat. Grothe was 3:52.75 and D’Arrigo 3:52.87.

NC State alum Anton Ipsen is third after winning the other circle-seeded heat. He went 3:53.39. Canada’s Jeremy Bagshaw is also into the A final, along with Brazil’s Luiz Melo.


Early leaders – top prelims swim (individual Olympic events):

Men: Marius Kusch, 100 free, 48.95 – 880 FINA points

Women: Hali Flickinger, 200 fly, 2:07.51 – 871 FINA points

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2 years ago

It will be fair to mention the W400FR race. Wang Jianjiahe broke the world record in this event in SC last October. If to believe SwSw converter that will be 4 min flat in LC. Yesterday we saw outstanding performance of this swimmer at 1500 that indicates that she is in great form. So will we see her breaking 4 min today? At least Li Bingjie’s national and Asian record of 4:01.75 is in great danger, I think..

Reply to  Yozhik
2 years ago

She won’t be under 4:00, but the national record is in striking distance. She is definetly better in short course due to her great turns. 4:00high to 4:02low I predict

Caeleb Dressel
Reply to  SeanS
2 years ago

I would say 4:10 ish

Reply to  Caeleb Dressel
2 years ago

Faster than that Caeleb

Reply to  SeanS
2 years ago

Last March she swam 4:03.14, I think she will be close to 4:00.

Honest Observer
Reply to  Yozhik
2 years ago

It’s awfully hard to be in top form for a 400 the day after a hard 1500. Whatever she does today won’t really be all that indicative.

2 years ago

Let’s go Natalie!

2 years ago

Caeleb going for it in the brief. 50.49.

E Gamble
Reply to  friuti
2 years ago

A brief and a B final too. 😢

Reply to  E Gamble
2 years ago

It’s a training meet for him..

E Gamble
Reply to  Hswimmer
2 years ago

That’s no excuse. It’s a training meet for the swimmers in the A final too. I don’t think a swimmer of Caeleb’s caliber should be in a B final in a freestyle event at a TYR Pro Series …training meet or not. He’s a world champion. It might not be fair to compare but ….when has Simone Manuel ever been in a B final in any freestyle event? Never.

Reply to  E Gamble
2 years ago

Join the discussion…

Reply to  Rev
2 years ago

Perhaps he is getting ready for 2020 when finals will be in am. Swimming in a brief makes him have to be really good in am to make finals. Join the discussion…

Reply to  E Gamble
2 years ago

He wore a brief also..

Reply to  E Gamble
2 years ago

Who cares what final he is in? If he is trashed from training and wearing a brief, 50 point ain’t to bad in my mind. Is the real goal an A final at some rando meet? this comment makes me laugh

Reply to  bucs99
2 years ago

How many years do we have to listen to the ‘old school’ programs say stuff like this and watch their swimmers flop at the end of the season before we give it up? Why would he race in briefs? Is that what Speedo is paying him to do? What does Gregg Troy swimmers learn from racing in briefs on National TV?

Sure, use the ‘he’s trashed in training’ excuse all you want. Everyone used it for him last year. And he didn’t back it up at the end of the season. I guess we’ll see what happens this year.

Reply to  ChompChomp
2 years ago

You’re right, there’s only one formula that works for everyone and Dressel and Troy are stupid for using a formula that got him a 49 100 fly and multiple world titles. We obviously know more than them, why aren’t they checking swim swam comments for advice?! “No excuse” get real

Reply to  bucs99
2 years ago

Troy wasn’t training him when he swam a 49. Steve was. Much easier to hide in a college practice than in a pro practice. I guess we’ll see if he ever gets back there. Time will prove the training right or it will prove it wrong.

But no matter, if it’s the latter, I’m sure there will be some external force that we can all cast blame upon, rather than the training.

Long live Troy!

Reply to  ChompChomp
2 years ago

He did back it up at SC Worlds… Not the best performance, but he still did pretty well.

Reply to  ChompChomp
2 years ago

He also had a motorcycle accident right before championship season in the summer. If that isn’t a legitimate excuse I don’t know what is.

Reply to  ChompChomp
2 years ago

“Is that what Speedo is paying him to do?”

Since Speedo is paying him to do the training and prep that he and Troy decide upon (in the hopes of winning WC and Olympic medals over the next year and a half) then yes, that is exactly what Speedo is paying him to do

bear drinks beer
Reply to  bucs99
2 years ago

If you can’t even make the A final at some rando meet, how can people believe in your higher goals? I’m no fan of wearing briefs for competition, what’s the difference of doing so from just training at home?

Reply to  bear drinks beer
2 years ago

Because he proved it in 2017? Thats how you believe it. It was not until recent times that wearing race suits at every single meet and every single race became a thing, why does everyone have to fall inline.

Reply to  bear drinks beer
2 years ago

We believe in his higher goals because he’s shown us what he can do in short course and long course. The mental aspect and routine of racing at a high level against great competition is a HUGE difference than just training at home.

Reply to  bear drinks beer
2 years ago

The only people that need to believe in his goals are Caeleb and Coach Troy.

Reply to  Aquajosh
2 years ago

Can I get an Amen??

Mr. F
Reply to  E Gamble
2 years ago

When Ryan Lochte was the hottest swimmer in the world (2010-2011 world champs SC and LC) he frequently raced Grand Prix Meets in briefs and as I recall had to swallow some tough swims. Definitely not unprecedented

Caeleb Dressel’s Bandana
Reply to  Mr. F
2 years ago

hE’s iN a bRiEf. If he was wearing the new tech suit he goes a second faster.

Michael Phelps several years ago made plenty of B Finals in the 200 free, so I wouldn’t worry too much about Dressel, he shaves a lot of time with taper

Come on guys, what do you have to gain by ganging up on Caeleb? He’s not here for you guys, he’s here for himself and his training. Training is a process, and great in season times don’t necessarily mean it will translate into taper time, and vise versa for slower in season times.
I’m just going to enjoy the ride and see what Caeleb can do, instead of negatively criticizing and… Read more »

Reply to  Caeleb Dressel’s Bandana
2 years ago

The “real” Michael Phelps, i.e. until Beijing2008, was greedy for wins (and was 99% successful) in every single meet he swam. In early 2007, before Worlds Champs at Melbourne, he swam a WR in the 200 fly in a “rando” (expression previously used in a comment) Usa Grand Prix meet.
Unfortunately Swimswam didn’t exist yet..

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Mr. F
2 years ago

But he was swimming 200 back, 400 IM —- leg killers. Dressel is a 50/100 guy. But hey, let’s kill every fast twitch fiber the guy has left.

Sir Swimsalot
Reply to  E Gamble
2 years ago

Different people react to racing in training differently. I’ve known guys who could throw down mid-season then were unable to drop a lot of time during taper, then I’ve also known guys who have gone really slow in season then beat everyone at their championship meet. Dressel’s gone as “slow” as 44 seconds in short course in season then drops a 39.9.

Reply to  E Gamble
2 years ago

I agree. I’m kinda done with motorcycle accident excuses at this point. He’s looked like garbage re:long course since world champs. Something off. Someone who’s been 47.1 can’t break 50????? Not buyin it.

Reply to  friuti
2 years ago

Some thoughts…maybe this meet isn’t about his times…maybe he and Troy are working on keying in or changing some other things, like warmup/down routine or rituals between events/sessions/days. maybe it’s in his contract that he has to do a certain number of these meets each year and he’s fulfilling that so it doesn’t interfere with WCs, maybe he’s always wanted to go to Des Moines in March… None of these things mean he isn’t taking the meet seriously, briefs and a b final might simply be that his focus/reason for this meet is on swim meet elements not found wholly between the start and final stroke.

Reply to  friuti
2 years ago

I like how people are flipping out because he isn’t going a best time or near a world record. I would love to see any of you even get close to that time. It’s his life his training and his choice let him do it. If he believes in it let him do it. No reason to go after a guy when you aren’t paying him and don’t even know him.

Reply to  Jimbo
2 years ago

Hasn’t Blake Pieroni commented on swim swam a few times. I don’t think “u can’t go that time” is the argument I would use. I agree with u tho on everything else

Reply to  50free
2 years ago

You’d be surprised at the number of swimmers that comment here. But, yes, Blake has recently commented under his real name, which is relatively-rare. Justin Wright comments under his real name pretty regularly too.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  friuti
2 years ago

Not just any brief. The new Speedo Slowskin.

Reply to  friuti
2 years ago

Let’s recognize it for what it is. Wearing briefs instead of race suit adds a few tenths in a hundred free. This is psychologic cover for the athlete, so if they swim slow, which happens during hard training periods, they can think “That’s ok, I wasn’t suited.” Not a big deal, though probably it is an indication of the athlete’s expectations for that race.

Reply to  hambone
2 years ago

Florida is infamous for swimming atrocious in swimming because they are so broken down. Look up Lochte’s old in season times (which he would do in briefs)

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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