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


After almost beating Katie Ledecky last night in the 400 IM, Hali Flickinger returns as the odds-on favorite in the 200 fly. On the men’s side, hot-shot youngster Gianluca Urlando takes on top-seeded Pace Clark in the final circle-seeded heat, with national champ Justin Wright and Olympic IM champ Chase Kalisz in the mix.

Simone Manuel leads a loaded women’s sprint group in the 50 free, with 19-year-old Michael Andrew paving the way for the men after beating Olympic champ and backstroke world record-holder Ryan Murphy in last night’s 50 back.

Then in the 100 back, it’s world record-holders Murphy and Kathleen Baker holding the top spots, with deep fields behind them.

Micah Sumrall is the top seed in the women’s 200 breast, but watch out for Annie Lazorwho had a huge lifetime-best to win the 100 breast last night and will swim right next to Sumrall this morning. The men’s race could see a rematch between Andrew Wilson and Nic Fink after Wilson won the 100 by .04 last night. Josh Prenot (third last night) is the top seed.

In the women’s 50 fly, Kelsi Dahlia is the favorite, though Canada’s Penny Oleksiak could give her a run. Andrew also leads the men’s 50 fly in a busy session for the sprinter.

Finally, things close down with the world’s top swimmer: Katie Ledecky will look to add the 400 to her 200 free title from last night. On the men’s side, Anton Ipsen looks to add to his 800 free win on night 1.l

Women’s 200 Fly – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 2:14.59

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Flickinger – 2:08.45
  2. Kingsley – 2:12.73
  3. Dahlia – 2:13.86
  4. R.Smith – 2:14.24
  5. Gingrich – 2:15.48
  6. Hanus – 2:15.60
  7. Piccirill – 2:15.97
  8. Harter – 2:16.56

Coming off of a breakout summer, Hali Flickinger kept her momentum going with the runaway top qualifying spot in the women’s 200 fly. Flickinger was 2:08.45, more than four seconds ahead of the field. Flickinger was 2:07.22 at Winter Nationals last month, so keep an eye on her to take that time even faster tonight.

Fellow Athens Bulldog Megan Kingsley took second in 2:12.73, herself a full second ahead of third-place Kelsi DahliaDahlia, the star sprint flyer from Louisville, went 2:13.86.

There are three juniors in tonight’s A final. Regan Smith16, was the fastest this morning at 2:14.24, well off her personal-best of 2:07.42.

Men’s 200 Fly – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 2:01.19

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Kalisz – 1:59.33
  2. Urlando – 1:59.44
  3. Shields – 1:59.86
  4. Wright – 2:00.07
  5. Darragh – 2:00.13
  6. C.Foster – 2:00.57
  7. Litherland – 2:01.57
  8. Clark – 2:01.24

In contrast to the women’s event, which saw an 8-second spread between first and eighth, the men’s race was much deeper. The A finalists are separated by less than two seconds heading into tonight.

The top three are very tight, setting up what should be an awesome race tonight. Chase Kalisz won the first circle-seeded heat in 1:59.33, and that time held up as the fastest of the morning. The final heat went to 16-year-old rising star Gianluca Urlando (1:59.44), and the middle heat was a spirited battle between veteran Tom Shields (1:59.86) and national champ Justin Wright (2:00.07). Those four hold the top spots into tonight’s final.

Canada’s Mack Darragh, who set a national record this summer at Pan Pacs, is fourth, ahead of promising American junior (and Junior Pan Pacs standout) Carson Foster.

Women’s 50 free – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 25.99

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Geer – 25.05
  2. Manuel – 25.12
  3. Smoliga – 25.37
  4. Hinds – 25.49
  5. Sanchez – 25.57
  6. Osman – 25.60
  7. Dahlia – 25.65
  8. Cooper – 25.65

Margo Geer took top billing in the women’s 50 free, another event with pretty good high-end depth. Geer, competing for Mission Viejo but training out of Indiana, went 25.05 to beat American record-holder Simone Manuel (25.12).

Olivia Smoliga of Athens Bulldog is third in 25.37, followed by fellow Bulldog Natalie Hinds (25.49). Hinds, a former Florida Gator standout, is swimming with her SEC rival’s pro club as she makes her return to swimming for the first time since the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Canada’s Kayla Sanchez and Egypt’s Farida Osman add some international flair in fifth and sixth. Coming off the fly, Kelsi Dahlia tied 16-year-old Grace Cooper for seventh, and 15-year-old standout (and NAG record-holder) Gretchen Walsh will lead the B final at 25.72.

Men’s 50 free – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 23.19

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Andrew – 22.42
  2. Chadwick – 22.68
  3. Khalafalla – 22.69
  4. Greenberg – 22.84
  5. Josa – 22.86
  6. Martinez – 22.96
  7. Kisil – 22.97
  8. Lynch – 23.13

U.S. National champ Michael Andrew held up his reign in the 50 free, topping the field by two tenths for the top qualifying spot. Andrew was 22.42, with Michael Chadwick (fourth at Nationals this past summer) in tow at 22.68.

Ali Khalafalla, an Egyptian Olympian, went 22.69 for third, a hundredth behind Chadwick. Meanwhile Aaron Greenberg, seeking an Olympic berth for Israel, finished fourth in 22.84.

Seven of the top eight made it under 23 seconds this morning, including California pro Matthew Josa (22.86) and Guatemalan Olympian Luis Martinez (22.96).

Women’s 100 Back – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 1:02.69

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. R.Smith – 59.84
  2. Bacon – 1:00.55
  3. Smoliga – 1:00.98
  4. Stadden – 1:00.99
  5. Sanchez – 1:01.02
  6. Bratton – 1:01.13
  7. Deloof – 1:01.29
  8. Baker – 1:01.37

It was a pretty sleepy 100 back, with most of the top swimmers coming off an earlier event. It’s also a very youthful field, as four under-18s made the A final and two 16-year-olds put up the best times of the field this morning.

Regan Smith is the runaway top qualifier in 59.84. That’s still a full second off her own world junior record, but bested the field by seven tenths. Fellow 16-year-old Phoebe Bacon is second in 1:00.55.

Olivia Smoliga, who narrowly beat Smith for second at Nationals last summer, went 1:00.98 for third, and then the next two teens got their hands on the wall: Isabelle Stadden (16, 1:00.99) and Kayla Sanchez (17, 1:01.02).

Of note: world record-holder Kathleen Baker barely snuck into the A final, going 1:01.37 and beating 9th-place Alex Walsh by just .04. Baker was more than three seconds off her world record this morning.

Men’s 100 Back – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 56.59

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Carr – 54.87
  2. Murphy – 55.75
  3. Andrew – 56.10
  4. Mefford – 56.39
  5. Young – 56.42
  6. Quah – 56.69
  7. Zeng – 57.10
  8. Lierz – 57.30

Just call Cal ‘Backstroke U’. Even without Olympian Jacob Pebley competing, Cal put four men in the top 8 in the 100 back this morning.

Daniel Carr has been a standout for the California collegiate program over the past year, and his 54.87 actually beat Olympic champ and world record-holder Ryan Murphy (a Cal alum) for the top spot this morning.

Michael Andrewcoming off of the top time in the 50 free and with the 50 fly still to go, went 56.10 for third. Then Carr’s current Cal teammate Bryce Mefford went 56.39 for fourth. High schooler (and Florida State commit) Noah Young was fifth in 56.42 before the final Cal A finalist: Zheng Quah (56.69).

Women’s 200 Breast – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 2:33.29

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Lazor – 2:27.75
  2. Escobedo – 2:28.71
  3. Sumrall – 2:29.02
  4. K.Smith – 2:29.69
  5. Rodriguez – 2:31.73
  6. Astashkina – 2:31.75
  7. Margalis – 2:31.89
  8. Nelson – 2:32.12

Annie Lazor stayed red-hot, leading prelims of the women’s 200 breast by almost a full second. Last night’s 100 breast winner was 2:27.75 this morning. The 200 was actually Lazor’s big event from the summer, and she’ll get a shot at several of the nation’s top 200 breaststrokers tonight.

Emily Escobedo is second in 2:28.71, with national champ Micah Sumrall (2:29.02) close behind. Canadian Olympian Kierra Smith (2:29.69) is the last swimmer under 2:30, with a pretty big dropoff after that.

Men’s 200 Breast – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 2:17.89

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Prenot – 2:11.11
  2. Fink – 2:11.44
  3. Corbeau – 2:16.49
  4. J.Foster – 2:16.96
  5. Wilson – 2:18.46
  6. Rutter – 2:18.63
  7. Somov – 2:19.59
  8. Christian – 2:19.63

The top two in the men’s race are well separated from the field as national champ and American record-holder Josh Prenot went 2:11.11 to lead the way. Nic Fink sits second in 2:11.44.

No other swimmer broke 2:16 this morning. It’s a relatively young field, with 17-year-old Caspar Corbeau going 2:16.49 for third and 18-year-old Jake Foster 2:16.96 for fourth.

Andrew Wilson, who was second at summer Nationals, was only 2:18.46 this morning, fading to fifth after coming in with the third seed.

A handful of big names scratched out of the race: Olympian Kevin Cordes declared a false start after an A final appearance in the 100 last night. IMer Chase Kalisz bowed out (as he did in the 100 breast) and Canadian youth star Gabe Mastromatteo also did not compete, as it appears he’s not racing this weekend.

Women’s 50 Fly – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: N/A

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Osman – 26.22
  2. Oleksiak – 26.40
  3. Dahlia – 26.54
  4. Vollmer – 26.74
  5. Hinds – 26.88
  6. Stewart – 27.13
  7. Black – 27.37
  8. Hannah – 27.39

Egyptian standout Farida Osman leads the 50 fly field in what should be a great race tonight. Her 26.22 is about two tenths ahead of Canadian youngster Penny Oleksiak and three tenths up on American record-holder Kelsi Dahlia

Those three should do battle tonight with a few unique additions to the field. Dana Vollmer is fourth, continuing her comeback to competition after having her second child last year. The 2012 Olympic fly champ was 26.74 this morning. Meanwhile another comeback story – Natalie Hinds – sits fifth.

Kendyl Stewart is sixth, followed by two Canadians: Haley Black and Jade Hannah.

Men’s 50 Fly – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: N/A

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Andrew – 23.71
  2. Martinez – 23.73
  3. G.Smith – 23.85
  4. Josa – 24.20
  5. Lynch – 24.48
  6. Clark – 24.52
  7. Borgen – 24.56
  8. Shields – 24.63

It’s a third-straight top-3 finish for Michael Andrewwho added his second top qualifying time with a 23.71 in the 50 fly. Andrew will take on Guatemalan Olympian Luis Martinez (23.73) and American veteran Giles Smith (23.85) tonight.

Nobody else went under 24 this morning. Cal alums Matt Josa (24.20) and Justin Lynch (23.48) are fourth and fifth, with Athens Bulldog/Georgia pro Pace Clark sixth in 24.52.

Women’s 400 Free – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 4:16.89

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Ledecky – 4:05.53
  2. Twichell – 4:13.44
  3. G.Deloof – 4:14.52
  4. Mann – 4:14.97
  5. Flickinger – 4:15.19
  6. Sullivan – 4:15.77
  7. Margalis – 4:16.17
  8. Denigan – 4:16.87

Katie Ledecky blew out the field this morning in 4:05.53. That time is five seconds from Ledecky’s season-best, but still betters the #2 time in the world this season (Wang Jianjiahe’s 4:06.60) by more than a full second.

Ashley Twichell is second in 4:13.44, getting in ahead of breakout Club Wolverine star Gabby Deloof‘s 4:14.52.

Open water standout Becca Mann (4:14.97) is fourth, with another open water star, Erica Sullivan, in sixth. In between is Hali Flickingercoming off a 200 fly earlier in the session this morning.

Men’s 400 Free – Prelims

  • Olympic Trials cut: 3:57.29

Top 8 qualifiers:

  1. Ipsen – 3:59.06
  2. Bagshaw – 3:59.67
  3. Cote – 4:01.06
  4. Zakala – 4:02.46
  5. Oliver – 4:02.89
  6. Matejka – 4:03.19
  7. Friesen – 4:03.39
  8. Gravley – 4:03.87

Anton Ipsen of Wolfpack Elite and Denmark is the top men’s 400 free qualifier in 3:59.06. The field took things pretty easy this morning, with the top swimmers finishing well off their seed times. Canada’s Jeremy Bagshaw was second (3:59.67) and no other men cracked four minutes.

It was a good event for the Canadian contingent. After Bagshaw are fellow Canadians Tristan Cote (4:01.06) and Josh Zakala (4:02.46) and 15-year-old Ian Friesen (4:03.39) also made the A final in 7th.

It’ll also be a young A final tonight, with places 5 through 8 going to under-18s.

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Greg Brance
2 years ago

I think you flipped the Men’s and Woman’s Olympic Trials Cut for the 400M Free. Ledecky would be the only woman that would make that 3:57.29 cut for woman.

Reply to  Greg Brance
2 years ago

Not just the 400M free; Ledecky is the only woman to beat a 2020 men’s trials cut – and she does it in the 400, 800, and 1500. The other WR aren’t even close; closest % wise is the 200 fly and 400 IM, which are under a second off.

Reply to  iLikePsych
2 years ago

It is a very interesting measure of the quality of world records. Being dominant may not only say about how outstanding a swimmer is but may also indicate that the competition wasn’t developed well in such a particular event. That could be the case for the women’s records of 1960x – 1980x.
Measuring records against well developed men’s competition at the same historical period will be a fair indicator of the quality because it removes all these differences in equipment (suits, goggles, caps, etc), training techniques and rules. It is another fair approach to the unfair question: who is greater. For instance, Debbie Meyer vs Shane Gould vs Katie Ledecky.

Jim C
Reply to  iLikePsych
2 years ago

Lotte Friis in 2013 beat the men’s cut in the 1500 by a larger percentage than what Ledecky did in the 400, while Kate Ziegler also beat the 1500 cut in 2007. The advantage that men have becomes less as the distance increase. Obviously Ledecky’s 400 WR is better than the 1500 time of Lotte Friis.

2 years ago

Ledecky and Flickinger have almost the same personal best in 400IM LCM. 1sec difference. And all these results are slow gaining about 870 FINA points only. So saying “beating Ledecky” may sounds impressive for those who have no idea about the level of competition in this event. But if you say that she was only 0.76 sec short of her personal best and that racing against Ledecky pushed her to be that good I will feel immediately the intensity and the level of achievement in this January race.

2 years ago

Those 50s were depressingly slow. Something wrong with the pool?

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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