2019 U.S. National Championships: Day 2 Prelims Preview


Thursday morning prelims heat sheets.

Day 2 of the 2019 U.S. National Championships includes prelims of three events: the 200 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, and 200 backstroke. Prelims will swim heats of 10, but finals only heats of 8. The top 24 advance through to ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ finals, while the 8-fastest 18-and-unders that place 25th or lower will advance to the 18-under ‘D’ final.

Shakeups on the U.S. National Team roster became a major storyline on day 1, particularly in the men’s 100 freestyle. Day 2 is likely to feature more bumps and additions to the roster; Ryan Lochte is back in action following his 14-month suspension and will in the 200 freestyle, and will be joined by Caeleb Dressel, who has said he wants to be on the 4 x 200 freestyle relay in Tokyo. Other National Teamers such as Regan Smith will also race events we don’t often see them in at major competitions–in Smith’s case, also the 200 freestyle–and may also crack the top-6 U.S. times for the year.

Day 2 morning races:

  • Women’s 200 freestyle – Prelims
  • Men’s 200 freestyle – Prelims
  • Women’s 200 Breaststroke – Prelims
  • Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Prelims
  • Women’s 200 Backstroke – Prelims
  • Men’s 200 Backstroke – Prelims

The main theme this morning could be “who will be the new champion in [insert event]?” With so swimmers absent following the World Championships, and some others who did swim at Worlds but want to swim new events in California, not a single event on today’s schedule is going to be defended by the 2018 U.S. National Champion in that event.

Day 2 prelims storylines to watch:

  • Regan Smith will race the 200 freestyle today–and no backstroke. Smith has been a 1:58.44 this year at the Counsilman Classic in June, and judging by her World Championships performance, could potentially be significantly faster than that today, if the toll of three weeks of racing and training in Asia doesn’t hit too hard today. She won the 200 butterfly on night 1 in a new lifetime best of 2:07.26.
  • Ryan Lochte makes his official competitive debut in the men’s 200 freestyle today. Lochte appears to be in good form after putting up a 1:57.88 in a 200 IM time trial yesterday. If all goes well for Lochte, the 200 freestyle, formerly one of his best events (he was the 2011 World Champion), could be his ticket back onto the National Team.
  • Caeleb Dressel is entered in the 200 freestyle, generating a huge level of excitement to see what he’s capable of in this race. Dressel is also freshly-returned from the World Championships and likely tired, though he’s said before he’s no stranger to tough lineups.
  • Dean Farris, the American Record holder in the short course yards 200 freestyle, will also be in the race. Farris registered a new lifetime best in the 100 freestyle last night with a 48.07, an improvement of .45, demonstrating that he is in good form. Farris’ best time is a 1:47.94, but after going a 1:29.15 in yards he’s had fans speculating if he can put up a similar time in meters–such as a 1:44 or 1:45. Farris swam at the 2019 World University Games and led off the American 4 x 200 freestyle relay with a 1:48.73, but as he was a relay-only swimmer at WUGs (Farris also posted a 47.08 split on the 4 x 100 freestyle relay), it’s unlikely WUGs has really been his main focus this summer.
  • Beyond the Americans, there is a strong field of foreign men in the 200 freestyle, including Elijah Winnington from Australia, Jordan Pothain of France, and Stephen Milne of Scotland, just to name those with the fastest entry times. Winnington placed 8th in the 200 free at Australian World Trials in June in a 1:47.86, and 3rd in the 400 free in 3:48.45.
  • The men’s 200 backstroke is without Ryan Murphy or Jacob Pebley, America’s top-2 male 200 backstrokers for the past three years. Austin Katz beat Pebley at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo and won the bronze medal, so he’s the good bet for gold today, though Katz will face intense pressure from Cal’s Bryce Mefford as well as junior star Carson Foster.
  • Similarly, the women’s 200 backstroke will not include Regan Smith, the new World Record holder in the women’s 200 backstroke, and Smith will focus exclusively on the 200 freestyle today. Smith and Team Elite’s Kathleen Baker tied for the National Championship in 2018, but Baker is not competing at this meet, meaning there will be a new champion.
  • Madisyn Cox, Breeja Larson, Lindsey Kozelsky, Zoe Bartel, Vanessa Pearl, and Kate Douglass in represent some of the top female American 200 breaststrokers of the present and future racing the event at Nationals today. Like the 200 backstrokes, this event does not feature the 2018 Champion Micah Sumrall, or Lilly King, or Molly Hannis, or Annie Lazor, leaving the podium wide open for a new champion.
  • The women’s 200 breaststroke, like the men’s 200 freestyle, features a handful of strong foreign contenders in Chloe Tutton (Great Britain), Hannah Miley (Scotland), and Jenna Strauch (Australia).
  • Reece Whitley, Daniel Roy, Devon Nowicki, and Chuck Katis will all race the men’s 200 breaststroke today, representing multiple eras of breaststroke all vying for the mantle as the best one year removed from Tokyo.

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1 year ago

Odd that you would leave out Clark Beach in the 2 back write up? He does have the 4th fastest time in the Nation behind Ryan, Austin and Jacob.

Reply to  PCB
1 year ago

But he’s named after 70’s chewing gum. I kid.

Sean S
1 year ago

Has anyone confirmed that Dressel is there?

Go Violets
Reply to  Sean S
1 year ago

He’s there.

1 year ago

Absolutley stacked field for the mens 200 free with Dressel, Lochte, Farris, Conger, Levant, Urlando, Rooney, Winnington, Milne, and Pothian. Interested to see how Kieran Smith will do, hes been on a great improvement curve and had a solid freshman year at Florida.

Also looking forward to see what Katz and Foster can put up in the 2back and Regan in the 2 free.

Reply to  MKW
1 year ago

Smith went a lifetime best by 1.7 seconds in the 100 yesterday. 50.7 -> 49.1. He doesn’t seem to have swam it tapered in recent years, but the 50.7 was from a meet in May where he went 1:47.8 in the 200 as well. For context, that was the meet at Georigia Tech where Dressel went 47.86 in the 100 free and 1:56 in the 2 fly.

He already went a new PB in the 400 free by over a second in June which he swam at Nationals last year. He has continued to improve a ton in his first year at Florida to build off a crazy improvement curve in high school. He should definitely be a 1:46,… Read more »

Reply to  CTJumbo
1 year ago

He’s got a great shot next summer. And to win tonight.

Reply to  CTJumbo
1 year ago

Yes he has great potential, I’m from CT as well so I’ve seen him at meets/have kept tabs on him

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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