2019 U.S. National Championships: Day 3 Finals Preview


Friday finals heat sheets.

Tonight’s finals session will be brief, consisting of only 5 races: the 400 IM (men’s and women’s), 100 fly (men’s and women’s), and the women’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay. ‘B’ finals will swim first, followed by the ‘A’ finals. After both men and women have swam, awards for that event will follow before moving on to the ‘B’ final of the next race.

Strong swimmers from Commonwealth nations–specifically Scotland and Australia–will again stand out against tonight’s otherwise American field, as Australian Elijah Winnington did when he won the men’s 200 freestyle last night.

Day 3 Finals Races:

  • Women’s 400 IM – Finals
  • Men’s 400 IM – Finals
  • Women’s 100 Fly – Finals
  • Men’s 100 Fly – Finals
  • Women’s 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay – Finals

If there’s one major storyline to follow tonight, it’s the 100 butterfly for both men and women, especially in the 15-16 women’s age group. Two swimmers could break legendary Mary T. Meagher‘s National Age Group (NAG) Record of 57.93 tonight, and they’ll both be swimming in the ‘A’ final. For perspective, Meagher set the current record in 1981.

However, given current World rankings and all-time performers, the onus of U.S.-based attention falls on Maxime Rooney after his prelims performance in the 100 butterfly. But, barring a swim that is nothing short of miraculous, he probably won’t be breaking any major records tonight–maybe the University of Texas’ program record in the 100 LCM butterfly, which currently stands at 50.39, set by Joseph Schooling at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games–but even that is a stretch, given that he has already improved his best LCM time by exactly 1.6 seconds today. Then again, Ryan Held broke the U.S. Open Record in the 100 freestyle–twice–on day one, as if to suggest that this would be a meet full of surprises after a World Championships that gave us 8 new World Records and dozens of new various National Records.

Day 3 Finals Storylines to Follow:

  • Maxime Rooney: 4th-Fastest U.S. U.S. Man Ever in the 100 Butterfly. If you didn’t see that one coming, you’re not alone. Rooney’s talent has never been in question, but going 50.68 in the 100 butterfly is pretty remarkable for anyone alive whose name isn’t Caeleb Dressel. So tonight we will be eager to see 1. If Rooney can go faster than this morning, and 2. how much faster?
  • Torri Huske scared Mary T. Meagher‘s 15-16 100 butterfly National Age Group (NAG) Record this morning with a 57.98, becoming only the 2nd 15-16 female in United States history to swim the race in under 58 seconds. Huske was only .05 off Meagher’s 1981 mark this morning, and if she eclipses it tonight she will officially declare herself as a major contender for an Olympic berth in the event next summer. Kelsi Dahlia, the top seed for tonight’s final, is still the favorite to win the 100 fly at Olympic Trials next summer, but Dahlia, obviously, was not as fast as Huske when she was Huske’s age.
  • Claire Curzan just turned 15 on June 30th and was only 18/100ths behind Huske in prelims, meaning she was only .23 off of Meagher’s record. Curzan, who shares a birthday with Michael Phelps, could be one of two NAG Record breakers tonight in just the women’s 15-16 100 butterfly.
  • Will the women’s 400 IM–like the men’s 200 free–be won by a foreign swimmer? Hannah Miley from Scotland has the top time out of prelims, but Brooke Forde and last night’s 200 breaststroke champion Madisyn Cox have shown they are capable of much faster. Forde is recently-returned from South Korea, but Cox has been stateside since the Mare Nostrum, and probably only rested for one meet this summer: Nationals.
  • Emma Weyant is one of the best freestylers in the field in the women’s 400 IM, and though she’s only 17-years-old, she already has a breadth of high-level racing experience thanks to the 2018 Junior Pan Pacs, where she put up a time of 4:40.64, alluding to her possibly having held back in prelims.
  • Ally McHugh, the 2018 National Champion in the 400 IM, recently-returned from the World Championships, enters the race as the 4th seed. McHugh was an “underdog” winner at last summer’s National Championships and shouldn’t be ruled out as a repeat champion tonight.
  • Carson Foster is after his first National Championship with the finals of the 400 IM tonight. Foster blew up at Junior Pan Pacs last year, posting a 4:14.73 to scare Sean Grieshop‘s World Junior Record of 4:14.00. Grieshop has since lowered his best time since aging out of the 18-under group, and alongside brother Jake Foster, Kieran Smith, Bobby Finke, and former NCAA standout Mark Szaranek, will make for a very entertaining ‘A’ final.
  • Kieran Smith has also massively improved his 200 freestyle lifetime best at this meet. Prior Thursday, Smith’s best time in the 200 LCM freestyle stood at 1:47.72 from Summer Nationals in 2018. Then he went 1:46.21 yesterday. Smith is clearly on a major upswing and will be able to bring it home in the freestyle, so he should not be counted out as a contender for the title in the men’s 400 IM.

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Is Jake foster eligible for world juniors?

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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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