2019 Pro Swim Series – Knoxville: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


The first prelims session of the 2019 PSS – Knoxville gets underway this morning. This is actually a fairly quick session, supposed to last just over two hours according to the heat sheet. With no more than six heats in each event, this is much quicker than what we sometimes see with PSS prelims sessions that can last over three hours and have over ten heats per event.

Stanford pros Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel are scheduled to swim in the 200 free, going head-to-head in heat 6 along with young standouts Alex Walsh and Claire Tuggle. We’ll see Cal pro Ryan Murphy, the slew of backstroke talent on the men’s and women’s side, youngster Luca Urlando, and butterfly stars Kelsi Dahlia and Dana Vollmer.

Notably, Molly Hannis is slated to compete in the first race since the death of her father. She did not compete at the 2018 SC Worlds because of that loss, and she left a heartfelt Instagram post yesterday about her emotions going into this meet.


  • Olympic Trials Cut: 2:01.69
  1. Katie Ledecky (NCAP) – 1:57.62
  2. Melanie Margalis (St. Petersburg/Georgia) – 1:59.81
  3. Simone Manuel (Alto Swim Club) – 2:00.39
  4. Gabby Deloof (Club Wolverine) – 2:00.54
  5. Regan Smith (Riptide) – 2:00.70
  6. Hali Flickinger (Athens Bulldogs Swim Club) – 2:00.72
  7. Alex Walsh (Nashville Aquatics) – 2:01.31
  8. Aly Ackman (Germantown Academy) – 2:01.36

Katie Ledecky easily took top honors this morning, going out in 57.31 and coming home strong to clock a time of 1:57.62.

Only one other person joined Ledecky under 2:00 this morning: Melanie Margalis. Margalis was 1:59.81, going out in 59.03 but coming back in a 30.6 and 30.1 to stay under two minutes. Third this morning was Simone Manuel at 2:00.39.

Riptide’s Regan Smith posted a 2:00.70 in heat 4 to slice 1.20 seconds off of her previous best, which was good for 5th this morning, just behind Gabby Deloof of Club Wolverine (2:00.54).

Leah Smith scratched this event after coming in with one of the top seed times.


  • Olympic Trials Cut: 1:50.79
  1. Luca Urlando (DART Swimming) – 1:50.40
  2. Chase Kalisz (Athens Bulldogs) – 1:51.10
  3. Joao De Lucca (Cardinal Aquatics) – 1:51.16
  4. Zheng Quah (Cal Aquatics) – 1:51.22
  5. Tom Shields (Cal Aquatics) – 1:51.53
  6. Jay Litherland (Dynamo Swim Club) – 1:51.67
  7. Jeremy Bagshaw (HPC – Victoria) – 1:52.79
  8. Drew Modrov (Unattached) – 1:53.60

16-year-old Luca Urlando of DART Swimming won heat 4, swimming a 1:50.40, and he’s the top seed going into tonight’s A-final. Urlando was .32 off of his lifetime best, a 1:50.08 from last summer’s Jr Pan Pacs. Now in the qualification period for the 2020 Olympic Trials, Urlando bags his first Trials cut (and he was the only swimmer in this event this morning to get under the Trials cut).

In heat 3, Chase Kalisz and Zheng Quah battled the whole way through. Despite a late push from Quah, it was Kalisz who finished on top at the wall, 1:51.10 to 1:51.22. That’s within a second of Kalisz’s lifetime best.

Cardinal Aquatics’ Joao De Lucca, a Brazilian freestyler, was 1:51.16 for 3rd, while Tom Shields of Cal Aquatics was 1:51.53 to take 5th this morning. Dynamo’s Jay Litherland posted a 1:51.67 — he was the top seed coming in.

Ryan Murphy of Cal Aquatics was among the scratches out of this event.


  • Olympic Trials Cut: 1:10.99
  1. Annie Lazor (Mission Viejo) – 1:07.28
  2. Micah Sumrall (Chattahoochee Gold) – 1:08.38
  3. Molly Hannis (Tennessee Aquatics) – 1:08.65
  4. Rachel Nicol (Calgary Swim Club) – 1:08.80
  5. Kierra Smith (HPC – Ontario) – 1:09.75
  6. Byanca Rodriguez (Desert Dragons) – 1:09.79
  7. Emily Escobedo (Condors Swim Club) – 1:
  8. Faith Knelson (HPC – Victoria) – 1:10.36

Annie Lazor, who is training with the IU pro group, had an electric swim this morning. Going 1:07.28 to win heat 3 of 4, she set a new personal best by six tenths. Now, she leads the field by over a second, too, going into tonight’s final. After a phenomenal performance in the 200 breast to win her gold at the 2018 SC Worlds, Lazor is really excelling at this point in her career.

Lazor knocked off Micah Sumrall in heat 3, with Sumrall of Chattahoochee Gold settling for 2nd in 1:08.38. In heat 4, Molly Hannis of Tennessee Aquatics battled with Calgary Swim Club’s Rachel Nicol, as both went under 1:09.

Canada had a strong presence here, with Kierra Smith of HPC – Ontario and Faith Knelson of HPC – Victoria also making it into the A final.


  • Olympic Trials Cut: 1:03.29
  1. Andrew Wilson (Athens Bulldogs) – 1:00.90
  2. Josh Prenot (Cal Aquatics) – 1:01.43
  3. Kevin Cordes (Phoenix Swim Club) – 1:01.78
  4. Nic Fink (Athens Bulldogs) – 1:02.04
  5. Caspar Corbeau (Tualatin Hills) – 1:02.14
  6. Richard Funk (Toronto Swim Club) – 1:02.89
  7. Jake Foster (Mason Manta Rays) – 1:03.38
  8. Miguel Chavez (Unattached)/Alexander Milanovich (Etobicoke Swim Club) – 1:03.71

UGA post-grad Nic Fink posted a 1:02.04 for the heat 3 win. Just a heat later, though, Andrew Wilson, who is now training with Fink at Athens Bulldogs, and Josh Prenot of Cal Aquatics posted times of 1:00.90 and 1:01.43, respectively, to take over the top times.

Wilson would hold on to his top spot for tonight, as Kevin Cordes was 1:01.78 for the quickest time in the last heat.

Tualatin Hills’ Caspar Corbeau, a Texas commit, was 1:02.14 for the 5th-best time this morning. Meanwhile, there was a tie for 8th between Miguel Chavez and Alexander Milanovich.


  1. Olivia Smoliga (Athens Bulldogs) – 28.30
  2. Ali Deloof (Team Elite) – 28.41
  3. Jade Hannah (HPC – Victoria) – 28.50
  4. Kayla Sanchez (HPC – Ontario) – 28.51
  5. Isabelle Stadden (Aquajets) – 28.57
  6. Kathleen Baker (Team Elite) – 28.77
  7. Phoebe Bacon (NCAP) – 28.84
  8. Danielle Hanus (29.00)

American record holder Olivia Smoliga was 28.30 to lead the way this morning by a tenth over Team Elite’s Ali Deloof. Canadian teens Jade Hannah and Kayla Sanchez were bunched up with them at 28.50 and 28.51, respectively, with Kathleen Baker coasting to 6th in 28.77.

Isabelle Stadden and Phoebe Bacon, both 16, were also under 29 seconds to make it to the A final.


  1. Michael Andrew (Race Pace Club) – 24.68
  2. Daniel Carr (Cal Aquatics) – 25.30
  3. Ryan Murphy (Cal Aquatics) – 25.71
  4. Tim Zeng (Chena Swim Club) – 26.33
  5. Jack Kirby (Baylor Swim Club) – 26.51
  6. Bryce Mefford (Cal Aquatics) – 26.61
  7. Zach Franklin (Stingrays) – 26.75
  8. William Marois (Chena Swim Club) – 26.84

With only three heats here, heat 1 was already the circle-seeded heats. That meant we saw Michael Andrew racing in heat 1, where he slammed down a 24.68 to lead the way by a good amount into the A final. Andrew set a new PSS record, breaking the 24.74 set in 2015 by Junya Koga. Andrew’s lifetime best is a 24.49, which he did at FINA World Cup stops in Kazan and Doha last fall.

Cal Aquatics’ Daniel Carr was 25.30 and Ryan Murphy was 25.71 for 2nd and 3rd, respectively. They were the only two other swimmers under 26.0.


  • Olympic Trials Cut: 1:00.69
  1. Kelsi Dahlia (Cardinal Aquatics) – 58.37
  2. Farida Osman (Unattached) – 59.11
  3. Kendyl Stewart (Team Elite) – 59.34
  4. Regan Smith (Riptide) – 59.69
  5. Natalie Hinds (Athens Bulldgos) – 59.76
  6. Dana Vollmer (Cal Aquatics) – 59.89
  7. Penny Oleksiak (HPC – Ontario) – 1:00.12
  8. Haley Black (HPC – Vancouver) – 1:00.29

Kelsi Dahlia was the only finisher under 59 in the field, as she is the top qualifer to finals with a 58.37. Cal alum Farida Osman was 2nd in 59.11, with Kendyl Stewart of Team Elite going 59.34 for 3rd this morning.

Regan Smith of Riptide was in her 2nd event of the morning, going 59.69 here about a second back of her lifetime best. Natalie Hinds, who is back to racing after a two-year hiatus, went a lifetime best 59.76, taking nine hundredths off of her previous best, which was from way back in 2014.

American record holder Dana Vollmer finished in 6th at 59.89. That’s just off of the 59.38 that she went in her return to racing at Winter Nationals following the birth of her 2nd child.


  • Olympic Trials Cut: 54.19
  1. Luis Martinez (Guatemala) – 52.22
  2. Giles Smith (Phoenix Swim Club) – 52.59
  3. Marius Kusch (Unattached) – 52.60
  4. Luca Urlando (DART Swimming) – 52.98
  5. Tom Shields (Cal Aquatics) – 53.34
  6. Justin Lynch (Cal Aquatics) – 53.35
  7. Matthew Josa (Cal Aquatics) –  53.37
  8. Michael Andrew (Race Pace Club) – 53.47

Luis Martinez of Guatemala was 52.22 to win heat 4 over Phoenix Swim Club’s Giles Smith and Marius Kusch. For Martinez, that’s just .04 off of his own Guatemalan national record. The three of them wound up being just three of four men to break 53 seconds this morning.

The fourth was Luca Urlando, who was 52.98 to edge out Tom Shields in his heat. Urlando, earlier, posted the top time of the morning in the 200 free. Shields was 53.34 for the fifth-best time this morning.

Following Shields were two more swimmers from Cal Aquatics: Justin Lynch at 53.35 and Matthew Josa at 53.37.

Michael Andrew was 53.47 to make it into the A final after going the top time in the 50 back this morning the event prior.


  • Olympic Trials Cut: 4:51.79
  1. Katie Ledecky (NCAP) – 4:46.80
  2. Melanie Margalis (St. Petersburg/Georgia) – 4:47.71
  3. Hali Flickinger (Athens Bulldogs) – 4:48.24
  4. Mariah Denigan (Northern KY Clippers) – 4:48.36
  5. Emily Overholt (HPC – Vancouver) – 4:51.38
  6. Megan Kingsley (Athens Bulldogs) – 4:52.70
  7. Samantha Tadder (Tide Swimming) – 4:53.30
  8. Alex Walsh (Nashville Aquatic Club) – 4:54.69

Katie Ledecky posted the fastest time of the morning here, going 4:46.80.

It was a three-way duel for the final heat win, with Melanie Margalis ultimately taking it at 4:47.71. Not far behind were Hali Flickinger and 16-year-old Mariah Denigan at 4:48.24 and 4:48.36, respectively.

16-year-old Samantha Tadder of Tide Swimming was 4:53.30, dropping over two seconds off of her old best time.

MEN’S 400 IM

  • Olympic Trials Cut: 4:25.99
  1. Carson Foster (Mason Manta Rays) – 4:25.01
  2. Josh Prenot (Cal Aquatics) – 4:25.26
  3. Jay Litherland (Dynamo Swim Club) – 4:25.64
  4. Jake Foster (Mason Manta Rays) – 4:26.65
  5. Tristan Cote (Calgary Swim Club) – 4:26.72
  6. Anton Ipsen (Wolfpack Elite) – 4:26.97
  7. Josh Zakala (HPC – Victoria) – 4:28.05
  8. Zachary Tan (Phoenix Swim Club) – 4:29.24

Carson Foster and Jake Foster of the Mason Manta Rays went 1-2 in their heat, going 4:25.01 and 4:26.65, respectively. They were both over ten seconds off of their lifetime bests, but it was a slow prelims session as there were just 19 competitors, guaranteeing everyone a spot in finals.

In the final heat, Josh Prenot of Cal Aquatics and Jay Litherland of Dynamo would end up splitting the brothers. Prenot was 4:25.26 for the 2nd-best time of the morning, followed by Litherland at 4:25.64. Prenot and both Fosters swam the 100 breast earlier in the session, while Litherland was in the 200 free at the beginning of prelims.

15-year-old Zachary Tan was another qualifier to the A-final with a 4:29.24, about four seconds off of his lifetime best.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

6 Comment threads
8 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Can Lia Neal rethink her Finis suit decision?? 😉 2:07?? Yikes!


Don’t think she is really a 200 swimmer and don’t think it’s the suit so…


Has nothing to do with that. She’s been traveling a lot and I’m sure she’s not in 100% shape right now.


Why did Wilson move to Athens?


Train with Fink maybe ?

Neptunian Merman

More familiar with Georgia than Texas maybe?


I hear Eddie, as great of a coach as he is, blows off his post-grads, especially lately. Doesn’t have the energy to/interest in running a pro group and a college team anymore. Think about all of the swimmers who have left in spite of doing so well there…that’s not a coincidence. I think a few more are on their way out soon.


He did go to Emory so he’d probably know more people in the area. Athens is only an hour and a half away

tea rex

Who IS training with TXLA pro group nowadays? Licon is the only one I can think of.
Conger and Schooling moved on, Roberts and Ringgold seem retired.

Andrew Majeske

Clark Smith?


I think you forgot the other 8th place finisher in the Men’s 100 Breast from Canada???

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.

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!