2019 U.S. National Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap


Day 4 finals heat sheets.

Tonight’s session features finals of the 400 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, and men’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay.

Junior star Claire Tuggle has another shot at a National Championship in the women’s 400 freestyle. Though she is not the top seed, her prelims time was only half-a-second behind Ally McHugh‘s, who will race in lane 4 tonight. If Tuggle wins, she will be the first 15-year-old long course National Champion since G Ryan in 2011.

Eric Knowles holds the top seed in the men’s 400 freestyle, but will have to contend with 200 freestyle champion Elijah Winnington from Australia. 1500 and 400 IM champion Bobby Finke will swim in lane 1, and Trenton Julian in lane 6.

10 men went 1:00-something this morning in the men’s 100 breaststroke, including 200 breaststroke champion Reese Whitley, who is the number two seed in tonight’s final.

Amy Bilquist of Cal Berkeley and Erika Brown of Tennessee will race one another and fast-rising junior Claire Curzan in the ‘A’ final of the women’s 100 backstroke. Though none of them broke the 1:00 barrier this morning, they all could tonight.

Women’s 400 Freestyle – Finals

  • World Record: Katie Ledecky (United States), 2016, 3:56.46
  • American Record: Katie Ledecky, 2016, 3:56.46
  • Championship Record: Katie Ledecky (United States), 2017, 3:58.44
  • U.S. Open Record: Katie Ledecky (United States), 2018, 3:57.94
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 4:16.89

Top 3:

Allison Schmitt and Sierra Schmidt were the early leaders and only women to take the race out in under 1:00 in the ‘A’ final of the women’s 400 freestyle, hitting the wall at 100 meters in 59.17 and 59.97, respectively. Schmitt held the lead for next 200 meters, rounding the 300-meter turn in 3:05.11. Schmidt lingered just behind in 3:05.19.

By 350 meters Schmidt had overtaken Schmitt for the lead, but all were out-done by Ally McHugh who produced a 29.77 on the final 50 to get her hand on the wall first, despite never being higher than 4th position at any previous point of the race.

Open water specialist Haley Anderson also surged on the final 50, turning in a 30.15 to charge to the wall just ahead of Schmidt, touching in 4:07.77 to Schmidt’s 4:07.79. Junior star Claire Tuggle also put up a big final 50, splitting a 30.15 to hit the wall 4th in 4:07.90. Schmitt, the leader through 300 meters, faded to 7th in 4:08.81.

To highlight the difference in race strategy between McHugh and Schmitt, notice that McHugh and Cierra Runge turned in equal 5th position at 100 meters, flipping in 1:00.27. McHugh lurked in 4th or 5th for most of the race until the final 50 when she mounted her charge, producing the only sub-30 split in the field.

Open water specialist Ashley Twichell won the ‘B’ final of the women’s 400 free in 4:07.77–exactly the same time as fellow open water swimmer Anderson’s silver-medal effort in the ‘A’ final. 400 IM champion Emma Weyant was 2nd in the ‘B’ final in 4:09.07, and Paige Madden 3rd in 4:09.19.

Men’s 400 Freestyle – Finals

  • World Record: Paul Biedermann (Germany), 2009, 3:40.07
  • American Record: Larsen Jensen (United States), 2008, 3:42.78
  • Championship Record: Larsen Jensen, 2008, 3:43.53
  • U.S. Open Record: Larsen Jensen (United States), 2008, 3:42.78
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 3:57.29

Top 3:

Elijah Winnington completed his sweep of the middle-distance freestyles by winning the 400 tonight in 3:47.39. Winnington led the entire race and only produced 2 splits over 29 seconds, all other splits were solidly 28s, except the first, which was a 25.72.

Jake Mitchell and Trenton Julian traded being 2nd and 3rd throughout the race until 350 meters, then Eric Knowles and passed Julian, and Bobby Finke rose up to challenge, turning in 5th, just .24 behind Julian.

Knowles and Finke surged on the final 50 to touch 2nd and 3rd, respectively, with Finke producing the only sub-28 in the field with a 27.26 on the final leg.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke – Finals

  • World Record: Lilly King (United States), 2017, 1:04.13
  • American Record: Lilly King, 2017, 1:04.13
  • Championship Record: Lilly King (United States), 2018, 1:04.95
  • U.S. Open Record: Jessica Hardy (United States), 2009, 1:04.45
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 1:10.99

Top 3:

Breeja Larson swam her fastest time since 2014 in the women’s 100 breaststroke tonight, hitting the wall in 1:06.78. Larson led from start to finish, rounding the 50-meter turn in 31.18, just .10 ahead of Michigan’s Miranda Tucker. Larson also produced the fastest second 50 of the race with a 35.60.

Kaitlyn Dobler also slipped under :36 on the second 50, producing a 35.81 and got her hand on the wall 2nd in 1:07.23. Tucker finished 3rd in 1:07.33.

4th place went to Zoie Hartman in 1:07.37, 5th to Madisyn Cox in 1:07.51, 6th to Emily Weiss in 1:07.56, 7th to Ellie Andrews in 1:08.73, and 8th to Nikol Popov in 1:08.93.

Jenna Strauch won the ‘B’ final in 1:08.49, Kate Douglass placed 10th overall in 1:08.51, and Abby Arens 3rd in 1:05.58.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke – Finals

  • World Record: Adam Peaty (Great Britain), 2019, 56.88
  • American Record: Kevin Cordes, 2017, 58.64
  • Championship Record: Kevin Cordes (United States), 2017, 58.74
  • U.S. Open Record: Kevin Cordes (United States), 2017, 58.74
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 1:03.29

Top 3:

Devon Nowicki didn’t have the lead at the 50-meter turn, trailing Craig Benson 27.85 to 27.71, but Nowicki produced the fastest (equal-fastest with bronze medalist Reece Whitley) second 50, putting up a 31.94 to surge to the wall in 59.69, edging Craig Benson by a tenth. Whitley finished 3rd in 1:00.05.

France’s Theo Bussiere placed 4th in 1:00.08, Australians Daniel Cave and Samuel Williamson 5th and 6th in 1:00.30 and 1:00.61, Caspar Corbeau was 7th in 1:00.68, and Trent Pellini 8th in 1:00.70.

Indiana’s Ian Finnerty won the ‘B’ final in 1:00.15, Texas’ Charlie Scheinfeld was 2nd in the ‘B’ final in 1:00.65, and Brandon Fischer 3rd in 1:00.77.

Women’s 100 Backstroke – Finals

  • World Record: Regan Smith (United States), 2019, 57.57
  • American Record: Regan Smith, 2019, 57.57
  • Championship Record: Kathleen Baker (United States), 2018, 58.00
  • U.S. Open Record: Kathleen Baker (United States), 2018, 58.00
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 1:02.69

Top 3:

Amy Bilquist was the fastest going out and coming home in the women’s 100 backstroke, flipping in 28.91 and then managing a 30.73 on the final 50 to make her the only woman under a minute tonight with a 59.64.

15-year-old Claire Curzan placed 2nd in 1:00.39, just ahead of Caitlin Brooks who touched 3rd in 1:00.46.

Tennessee’s Erika Brown finished 4th in 1:00.71, NC State’s Kylee Alons 5th in 1:00.71, Lucie Nordmann 6th in 1:00.83, Cal’s Isabel Ivey 7th in 1:00.85, and Annabel Crush 8th in 1:00.88.

Gretchen Walsh won the ‘B’ final in 1:00.26, which would have been good for silver in the ‘A’ final, making her the 8th-fastest performer all-time in the girl’s 15-16 age group in the 100 LCM backstroke. Asia Seidt, the champion in the 200 backstroke, was 2nd in the ‘B’ final in 1:01.00, and Beata Nelson, the American Record holder in the 100 yard backstroke, 3rd in the ‘B’ final in 1:01.05.

Men’s 100 Backstroke – Finals

  • World Record: Ryan Murphy (United States), 2016, 51.85
  • American Record: Ryan Murphy, 2016, 51.85
  • Championship Record: Aaron Piersol (United States), 2009, 51.94
  • U.S. Open Record: Aaron Piersol (United States), 2009, 51.94
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 56.59

Top 3:

Shaine Casas had the swim of his life tonight, winning the 100 backstroke in 52.72, becoming the 7th-fastest American all-time in the race, and the 5th-fastest in the world this year.

Casas was explosive off the blocks and flipped in a 25.29, just .16 above World Record pace. Casas did not have the same back-end speed to match the World Record, but it didn’t matter as he won the race by over a second, taking down World University Games silver medalist Yohann Ndoye Brouard, and rising American Clark Beach.

Craig McNally of Scotland placed 4th in 54.48, Nicolas Albiero of Louisville 5th in 54.64, Bryce Mefford of Cal 6th in 54.79, Matthew Klotz 7th in 55.00, and Wyatt Davis 8th in 55.07.

The ‘B’ final was won by Dean Farris in 53.93. Will Grant touched 2nd in the ‘B’ final in 54.57, and Zachary Poti 3rd in 54.72.


  • World Record: United States (Phelps, Berens, Walters, Lochte), 2009, 6:58.55
  • American Record: Phelps, Berens, Walters, Lochte, 2009, 6:58.55
  • Championships Record: Olsen, Robinson, Werth, Gjersten, 7:12.35
  • U.S. Open Record: Phelps, Vanderkaay, Berens, Lochte, 2010, 7:03.84

Top 3:

  • GOLD: Australia, 7:14.61
  • SILVER: Ohio State University, 7:16.40
  • BRONZE: Aggie Swim Club, 7:22.17

The Australian team of Elijah Winnington, Louis Townsend, Matthew Temple, and Brendon Smith won the men’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay, nearly two seconds ahead of Ohio States’s foursome of Ruslan Gaziev, Andrew Loy, Daniel Gloude, and Paul Delakis, who finished 2nd in 7:16.40.

What made the difference for Australia was the ability to put together 4 legs under 1:50; in fact, 3 of the 4 swimmers on the Australian relay were under 1:49, giving them the most depth overall. The fastest split in the field, however, came from Mark Theall who swam the second leg for Aggie Swim Club, posting a 1:47.18. The Aggies only got to the wall .01 in front of Indiana University which finished off the podium in 4th in 7:22.18. The Pleasanton Seahawks came in 5th in 7:22.47, and were bolstered by a 1:48.27 split from Maxime Rooney who swam the third leg of the race. Rooney’s split, however, was nearly two seconds off his individual 200 freestyle time from Thursday.

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Bobo Gigi
4 years ago

Shane Casas from 54.51 to 52.72! Boom! 😯
And he’s only 19.
Murphy and Grevers take note.

Bobo Gigi
4 years ago

Women’s 400 free. Slow winning time for a US national championship. Not surprising. But interesting things behind. Big race from Claire Tuggle. Nice to see her with a big time drop like that. From 4.10.11 to 4.07.85. I think we haven’t seen her best in the 200 free this summer yet. Hopefully at world juniors. Nice time drop for 16-year-old Rachel Stege too.

Men’s 400 free. An Australian wins the US national championship title. No comment. Pretty slow again. Very weak event for USA. And it’s not new. But some rays of light from the youth. Jake Mitchell with a monster time drop of 4.70s during that day. Finke with his usual huge finish but the 400 free looks a… Read more »

4 years ago

The US could field a very nice men’s medley relay from these world champs. Casas 52.72 Nowicki 59.69 Rooney 50.68 Held 47.34 for a 3:30.43 without relay starts

Reply to  0SU39
4 years ago

Wow yeah! 5th or 6th in the final at worlds?

Aussie Crawl
Reply to  Ofmyeye
4 years ago


4 years ago

Gretchen Walsh and/or Claire Curzan will be in Tokyo! Impressive swims and you can tell they’re just getting started!

4 years ago

Shaine Casas has entered the chat

Reply to  USA
4 years ago


4 years ago

That was a world class swim by Casas in 52.7. Everything about that race was strong.

Reply to  Marklewis
4 years ago

just saw the race ….indeed , what a fast strong stready pace he had there ! Impressive swim

4 years ago

Casas!!! who won’t make it next year? Murphy is not safe anymore in my opinion. He can’t have another sluggish summer.

4 years ago

Shaine Casas looking real good for the 200 IM tomorrow

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six with the Clay Center Tiger Sharks, a summer league team. At age 14 he began swimming club year-round with the Manhattan Marlins (Manhattan, KS), which took some convincing from his mother as he was very …

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