2019 Pro Swim Series – Greensboro: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap


While Friday morning’s prelims session is only scheduled for 6 events, all of those events are 200 meters-or-longer, which means over a 3 hour preliminary session. That’s good news for Hali Flickinger, who is scheduled to swim all 3 women’s events on the day (200 free, 200 back, 400 IM) after racing the 200 fly and 400 free back-to-back on Thursday evening.

The 200 free, featuring Thursday’s 400 free winner Katie Ledecky and Thursday’s 100 free winner Simone Manuel, along with the American Record holder Allison Schmitt, should be a highlight of the day. Other storylines to watch for is a battle of 15-year old phenoms Claire Curzan and Natalie Mannion as the 6th-and-7th seeds in the women’s 200 back, a fight for positioning in a wide-open women’s 400 IM as the Olympic Trials draw nearer, and a pair of legends-in-the-making going head to head in the men’s 200 free as the top 2 seeds Dean Farris and Luca Urlando line up in prelims.

Women’s 200 Free Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record – Katie Ledecky, 1:55.43 – 2016
  • Olympic Trials Cut – 2:01.69

Top 8:

  1. Katie Ledecky (Nation’s Capital) – 1:57.50
  2. Simone Manuel (Alto) – 1:59.95
  3. Madisyn Cox (Longhorn) – 2:00.00
  4. Allison Schmitt (Sun Devil) – 2:00.03
  5. Hali Flickinger (Unattached) – 2:00.43
  6. Kaersten Meitz (Boilermaker) – 2:01.33
  7. Gabby Deloof (Team Elite) – 2:02.42
  8. Erin Gemmell (NCAP) – 2:02.42

Katie Ledecky is already the early series points leader with a big 400 free last night, and she qualifies atop the 200 free by two and a half seconds. Ledecky was 1:57.50, easily the top time by an American this year. At last year’s Winter Nationals in late November, Ledecky went 1:56.6 in prelims and 1:55.3 in finals, giving some idea of a benchmark for her to chase tonight.

Fellow Stanford pro Simone Manuel was the only other swimmer under two minutes. The 400 free champ Ledecky and 100 free champ Manuel will mix their endurance and speed in the middle two lanes tonight.

Longhorn’s Madisyn Cox and Sun Devil’s Allison Schmitt were just over two minutes. Prior to this morning, no Americans had been under 2:01 this season, so both swims stack up well for the time of year. Schmitt’s new Sun Devil training partner Hali Flickinger is also into the final, though she’s a scratch candidate with entries into both other events this morning, too.

Men’s 200 Free Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record – Sun Yang, 1:44.82 – 2016
  • Olympic Trials Cut – 1:50.78

Top 8:

  1. Carson Foster (Mason Manta Rays) – 1:49.78
  2. Zane Grothe (Boulder City Henderson) – 1:50.16
  3. Ryan Lochte (Gator Swim Club) – 1:50.64
  4. Mitch D’Arrigo (Gator Swim Club) – 1:50.76
  5. Luca Urlando (Dart) – 1:50.90
  6. Khader Baqlah (Unattached) – 1:50.93
  7. Ruslan Gaziev (Manta Swim Club) – 1:51.02
  8. Jay Litherland (Dynamo) – 1:51.07

It’s a couple of high school seniors in the mix with wily veterans atop the men’s 200 free. Ohio high schooler Carson Foster is the top qualifier at 1:49.78 – that appears to make him the first American to break 1:50 this season. It’s also only about two seconds off his career-best of 1:47.47, though he split 1:46-low on a World Juniors relay last summer.

Foster is the #2 high schooler in the nation for his class. #1 is Luca Urlandowho qualified 5th here after winning the 200 fly last night.

400 free champ Zane Grothe is back, sitting second at 1:50.16. Grothe has been 1:46.3, but that was back in 2017. Last summer, his season-best was a 1:47.90 put up during the Pro Swim Series.

Also in the mix is 35-year-old Ryan Lochtethe Olympic icon coming off a long suspension for an IV drip last year. Lochte had a solid return to competition at U.S. Nationals, and his 1:50.64 is actually his third-best swim since the 2016 Olympic Trials. Lochte went 1:50.56 in early 2018 and 1:50.2 over the summer of 2019 and has a chance to break 1:50 for the first time since June of 2016 tonight.

Women’s 200 Back Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record – Taylor Ruck, 2:06.36 – 2018
  • Olympic Trials Cut – 2:14.69

Top 8:

  1. Isabelle Stadden (Aquajets) – 2:11.21
  2. Kathleen Baker (Team Elite) – 2:12.27
  3. Katharine Berkoff (NC State) – 2:13.47
  4. Hali Flickinger (Unattached) – 2:13.52
  5. Claire Curzan (TAC Titans) – 2:14.06
  6. Gabby Deloof (Team Elite) – 2:14.47
  7. Celina Marquez (Azura Florida) – 2:15.17
  8. Kennedy Goss (Granite Gators) – 2:15.25

17-year-old Minnesota high schooler Isabelle Stadden is the top qualifier in the women’s 200 back, going 2:11.21. It should be a great showdown tonight between Stadden, U.S. Olympian Kathleen Baker and NC State freshman Katharine BerkoffThe trio jumps to the top three spots among Americans this season, though all three were still well off their career-bests.

Meanwhile it’s second-consecutive A final appearances for Hali Flickinger and Gabby Deloofwho also qualified in the women’s 200 frees. Flickinger, known more as a 200 flyer, has really come along in this race, even swimming it at Pan Pacs in 2018 and setting two new personal bests in the event in 2019. Deloof, meanwhile, had her best swim in this race since 2017, whens he went 2:10.6 at U.S. Open.

Men’s 200 Back Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record – Xu Jiayu, 1:55.04 – 2017
  • Olympic Trials Cut – 2:02.99

Top 8:

  1. Christopher Reid (Wolfpack) – 2:01.55
  2. Yeziel Morales (Azura Florida) – 2:01.83
  3. Ryan Lochte (Gator Swim Club) – 2:01.97
  4. Jacob Pebley (Team Elite) – 2:02.54
  5. Anthony Rincon (Tidal Wave) – 2:02.60
  6. Javier Acevedo (Ajax) – 2:02.83
  7. Joey Reilman (Tennessee) – 2:03.73
  8. Josiah Binnema (HPC Vancouver) – 2:04.13

South Africa’s Christopher Reid is the top 200 back qualifier. He’s in his first year training at NC State after graduating from Alabama and spending one post-grad year there. Reid was 2:01.55. He’s coming off a breakout year in which he cut a full second off his 200 back and went 1:57.1 at South African Nationals.

Azura Florida’s Yeziel Moralesa Puerto Rican national, went 2:01.83 for second. That’s about a second and a half off his own national record.

From there, 2008 Olympic champ Ryan Lochte was 2:01.97. The 35-year-old Lochte pulled off a pretty tough double this morning with the 200 free and 200 back, and staying ahead of Jacob Pebley (the second U.S. Olympic entrant in 2016) is an encouraging sign for Lochte, as he chases a fifth-straight Olympic bid in 2020.

Women’s 400 IM Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record – Katinka Hosszu, 4:31.07 – 2015
  • Olympic Trials Cut – 4:51.79

Top 8:

  1. Katie Ledecky (Nation’s Capital) – 4:43.08
  2. Makayla Sargent (NC State) – 4:43.36
  3. Ally McHugh (Wisconsin) – 4:44.34
  4. Hali Flickinger (Unattached) – 4:45.10
  5. Emma Barksdale (Gamecock) – 4:46.50
  6. Ella Eastin (Alto) – 4:47.35
  7. Leah Hayes (Fox Valley Park) – 4:48.42
  8. Madisyn Cox (Longhorn) – 4:48.86

A few more tough doubles on the women’s side. 200 free leader Katie Ledecky also paced the 400 IM, going 4:43.08. That double will get a lot tighter tonight with less heats, so we’ll have to wait and see if Ledecky powers through both events in more of a training meet, or scratches one to go after a big time in the other.

A 4:43 here is pretty solid for Ledecky. She went 4:39 early on the Pro Swim Series last season, though that was in January. She does move to #1 among Americans this season.

NC State’s Kay Sargent was second, just three tenths back, and Ally McHugh went 4:44 for third. McHugh was the 2018 U.S. National champ in the event, but fell to just 6th among Americans last season, one spot behind Sargent, who represented Team USA at the World University Games.

Hali Flickinger made her third A final of the day, and would have a brutal finals schedule, assuming she doesn’t drop at least one of her three events. Also keep an eye on 14-year-old Leah Hayes tonight. Last summer, on the younger end of her age group at 13, Hayes went 4:46.4 to move to #9 all-time among American 13-14s. She gets a chance to better that rank tonight after going 4:48.4 in prelims.

Men’s 400 IM Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record – Chase Kalisz, 4:08.92 – 2018
  • Olympic Trials Cut – 4:25.99

Top 8:

  1. Jay Litherland (Dynamo) – 4:28.00
  2. Jacob Heidtmann (Team Elite) – 4:29.17
  3. Montana Champagne (Kingfish) – 4:30.37
  4. Tyler Christianson (Naval Academy) – 4:30.52
  5. Carlos Claverie (Unattached) – 4:32.31
  6. Hunter Kim (Badger) – 4:34.07
  7. Santi Corredor (Gator) – 4:34.76
  8. True Sweetser (Gator) – 4:35.72

2016 Olympian Jay Litherland paced the final race of the morning, going 4:28.00. That’s well off his best time, but still plenty safe enough to get into the final – he was almost eight seconds ahead of 8th place. Litherland was the fastest American last year, and moves to #1 among Americans this season as well.

German Olympian Jacob Heidtmann is second, only about one second back of Litherland. Meanwhile Canada’s Montana Champagne sits third in 4:30.37.

It’s mostly a veteran field, but two 17-year-olds made the A final. Naval Academy Aquatic Club’s Tyler Christianson was fourth in 4:30.52 – that’s about five seconds off his career-best. Christianson is a high school senior who will join Notre Dame next season. And high school junior Hunter Kim went 4:34.07. He was 4:26 at Junior Nationals last summer.

FINA Point Bonus – Prelims

The woman and man with the top FINA points swim in any prelims session at each Pro Swim Series stop will earn a $1500 bonus. For Greensboro, the current leaders are:

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1 year ago

Oofff Lia Neal with a 2:08

Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

Been slow for a while. Bye Lia!

Jim C
Reply to  Heyitsme
1 year ago

The 200 is an off event for Lia Neal. Judge her for her 56.02 in the B final of the 100.

Reply to  Jim C
1 year ago

She’s been 1:58. Not off really

Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

Don’t understand why she made the coaching change to Marsh. Maybe it’ll all click by trials

Reply to  Breezeway
1 year ago

Me either. Should’ve stayed with Simone and Katie, but maybe she needed a change of scenery.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

Think she’s finished.

1 year ago

Why is there only 6 events today and 12 tomorrow?

Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

The session times wind up being almost the same. You can run about 7 heats of the 50 free for every 1 heat of the 400 IM.

1 year ago

Oof Dean didnt even make the A final

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

But my boi Ryan did.

Jared’s Man Bun
Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
1 year ago

I’m pulling for Ryan!

Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

He can’t even make the Olympic team

Reply to  Shibly
1 year ago

He correctly training only three months and he swam 200fly yesterday age at 35. Summer is better than currently.

Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

He got smacked in the face with the piano that last 50.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

At least he didn’t pause to try to turn in the middle of the lap. So he’s working on the details.

Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

Fifth strong swim two days. He recovering is slower than other youngsters. He is more 10 years older.

Brian M
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

You can do what you want, but I will never, ever talk smack to any 35 year old swimmer in the 200 Fly LCM.

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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