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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3 years ago

Dara Torres was also Gators swimmer just like Lochte and she health was very good very old age.

3 years ago

Devine scratched the 400IM. Does anyone know why?

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  406FISH
3 years ago

Still on life support after his 58/1:08 2:07 200 fly. Either that or lost track of time while writing his latest Instagram diatribe.

3 years ago

Lochte is all business with the 2 free/2 back double and doing the 2 fly…making up for lost time I guess lol

Ol’ Longhorn
3 years ago

Pretty good women’s times there for the men’s 400 IM final.

3 years ago

What’s Regan Smith up to this winter?

Reply to  Swammer
3 years ago

School. Senior year can be rough

Reply to  Swammer
3 years ago

She is busy getting ready to be the queen of swimming in 2020

3 years ago

Wow, Andrew Wilson just missed the 400 IM final. Never seen him swim that before.

Reply to  Andy
3 years ago

I know he broke 2IM d3 natl record couple yrs back

3 years ago

Anybody know if Lochte’s swims this am were masters world records? They have to be close if they arent.

The Original Tim
Reply to  Andy
3 years ago

I believe that to set a masters world record, you have to be a member of a FINA masters member organization. Since he’s not a current USMS member, these swims shouldn’t count for any FINA or USMS records.

Reply to  The Original Tim
3 years ago

From USMS: 102.6.8
If a USMS-sanctioned meet is held in conjunction with a USA Swimming-sanctioned meet (swimmers competing together in the same sessions), swimmers with dual membership must select only one organization with which to compete for the entire meet.

So the meet would have had to been sanctioned by USMS and then RL would also have had to been a registered USMS swimmer and then chosen to swim USMS and not USA swimming.

Reply to  Andy
3 years ago

He’s not a registered USMS swimmer, so he’s not eligible for Masters World Records.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Too bad, because he’s swum at Masters Nationals before.

Lane 8
3 years ago

Not to nitpick but Ledecky’s 4:01.68 was from finals not prelims. The prelims time was 4:02.87.

Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

And so is Urlando’s time, he was 1.56.00 in the final

Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

How weird

Reply to  Anonymoose
3 years ago

Nothing weird they created some incentive to make prelim races more attractive.

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Yes that’s obvious. I still find it weird

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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