2019 U.S. Nationals: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


Tonight marks the first finals session at the 2019 U.S. National Championships in Palo Alto, California. Swimmers will be competing for titles in the men’s and women’s 200 fly and 100 free. We’ll see the women’s 800 free tonight while the men compete in the mile. Relay action at the end of the session includes the men’s 4×100 free relay.

Regan Smith, who just crushed the World Record in the 200 back in Gwangju, headlines the women’s 200 fly final. We’ll see another Worlds team member in the men’s version of that race as Justin Wright will be in the mix, but teenage star Luca Urlando looks like the man to beat in this one.

Abbey Weitzeil, the top seed in the women’s 100 free, is seeking a win tonight after traveling back from Gwangju. Jack Conger will swim in the men’s 100 free final, but Ryan Held leads the way there after smashing the U.S. Open Record this morning in 47.43. Also breaking 48 this morning was Maxime Rooney, the 2nd seed.


  • World Record: Liu Zige (China), 2009, 2:01.81
  • World Junior Record: Suzuka Hasegawa (Japan), 2017, 2:06.29
  • U.S. Open Record: Hali Flickinger (USA), 2018, 2:05.07
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 2:14.59


  1. GOLD: Regan Smith (RIPT), 2:07.26
  2. SILVER: Lillie Nordmann (MAC), 2:07.43
  3. BRONZE: Dakota Luther (ABSC), 2:07.76

World Champion Regan Smith brought home the national title in this race. In a close battle for the win between the top 3 women, Smith was able to hold off Lillie Nordmann for the win, 2:07.26 to 2:07.43. That was a best for Smith by a couple of tenths and a best for Nordmann by nearly 2 seconds.

Following closely behind for 3rd was Dakota Luther, who clipped her best in 2:07.76. Luther swam this event for the USA at 2017 Worlds. Katie Drabot (ALTO), who just earned a bronze in this race at the 2019 World Championships, placed 7th tonight in 2:08.56. Olivia Carter (EAC) put up a lifetime best 2:08.22 to take 4th in the final, just out-touching Megan Kingsley (ABSC) in 2:08.26. Both women broke 2:09 for the first time.

TAC’s 16-year-old Charlotte Hook stole the show in the B final. Hook made a huge drop, breaking 2:10 for the first time in 2:07.87. That makes Hook the 3rd fastest ever in the 15-16 age group. Hook is now 6th in the U.S. rankings for 2019 with a shot at making the national team in the event. Also in the top 6 are Smith, Nordmann, and Luther.


  • World Record: Kristof Milak (Hungary), 2019, 1:50.73
  • World Junior Record: Kristof Milak (Hungary), 2017, 1:53.79
  • U.S. Open Record: Michael Phelps (USA), 2008, 1:52.20
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 2:01.19


  1. GOLD: Luca Urlando (DART), 1:54.92
  2. SILVER: Miles Smachlo (MICH), 1:55.94
  3. BRONZE: Nicolas Albiero (UOFL), 1:56.05

Luca Urlando was just over a second shy of his best time from earlier this year, but still a second ahead of the field as he took the win here in 1:54.92. Miles Smachlo dropped another second from his best time set in prelims, out-touching Nicolas Albiero 1:55.94 to 1:56.05. Albiero’s time was a best by over half a second.

Just 4 hundredths shy of the top 3 was Trenton Julian (ROSE), who shaved a tenth off his time in 1:56.09. Justin Wright (FORD) finished 8th tonight in 1:58.79. Wright swam this race for the USA last week at Worlds. His teammate, Brooks Fail (1:57.00) finished 6th behind Bowen Gough (1:56.65).

Though he scratched tonight, Tom Shields remains in the top 6 for national team consideration with his 1:56.12 from prelims. Urlando, Smachlo, Albiero, and Julian are also on that list.


  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden), 2017, 51.71
  • World Junior Record: Penny Oleksiak (Canada), 2016, 52.70
  • U.S. Open Record: Simone Manuel (USA), 2018, 52.54
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 56.29


  1. GOLD: Abbey Weitzeil (CAL), 53.18
  2. (TIE) SILVER: Erika Brown (TNAQ), 54.13
  3. (TIE) SILVER: Gretchen Walsh (NAC), 54.13

Abbey Weitzeil set a new best time in this event for the first time since 2016. Weitzeil dominated in 53.18, taking a tenth off her former best of 53.28 from 2016 Olympic Trials. Gretchen Walsh remains #3 all-time in the 15-16 age group. Erika Brown out-split her on the back half as they tied for 2nd place in 54.13. It was a best time for both swimmers.

Weitzeil is now 3rd in the U.S. rankings for 2019, while Brown and Walsh are in a tie for 5th.

Catie Deloof (UN) was just a tenth off the podium in a lifetime best 54.28. She user her back-half speed to out-touch Natalie Hinds (ABSC), who took 5th in 54.34. Hinds has now lowered her best time by over a full second this year. She returned to competition for her first long course meet since 2016 at the Pro Swim Series this year. Worlds team member Allison Schmitt was 6th in 54.81.


  • World Record: Cesar Cielo (Brazil), 2009, 46.91
  • World Junior Record: Kyle Chalmers, 2016, 47.58
  • U.S. Open Record: Ryan Held, 2019, 47.43
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 50.49


  1. GOLD: Ryan Held (NYAC), 47.39
  2. SILVER: Maxime Rooney (PLS), 47.61
  3. BRONZE: Tate Jackson (UN), 47.88

Olympian Ryan Held lowered the U.S. Open Record again tonight. After shattering his best time in prelims, he clipped by a few hundredths to win the title in 47.39. Like Weitzeil, Held swam his best time in the event today for the first time since 2016 Olympic Trials.

Maxime Rooney and Tate Jackson, now training partners at Texas, both lowered their bests from prelims as well. Rooney hit the wall 2nd in 47.61 and Jackson was close behind for 3rd in 47.88. All 3 men broke 48 for the first time today. Another man currently training at Texas, Dean Farris (HARV), was just off the podium with a lifetime best 48.07. Held, Rooney, and Jackson are in the top 6 in terms of national team rankings. Farris missed the top 6 by just 6 hundredths.

Daniel Krueger kept the line of Texas men going as her rounded out the top 5 in 48.55. Worlds team member Jack Conger, who swam the 100 fly in Gwangju, touched 6th in this final with a 48.64.


  • World Record: Katie Ledecky (USA), 2016, 8:04.79
  • World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky (USA), 2014, 8:11.00
  • U.S. Open Record: Katie Ledecky (USA), 2016, 8:06.68
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 8:48.09


  1. GOLD: Ally McHugh (WA), 8:26.04
  2. SILVER: Sierra Schmidt (MICH), 8:27.13
  3. BRONZE: Ashley Twichell (TAC), 8:27.36

Worlds team member Ally McHugh was well behind the top 3 through the halfway mark, but used her back-half speed to bring home the title in 8:26.04. She pulled into the lead with 100 meters to go and sealed the deal in 8:26.04. Sierra Schmidt had a breakthrough swim to take 2nd in this race, clipping Worlds mile finalist Ashley Twichell for 2nd place in 8:27.13 to Twichell’s 8:27.36.

This was the first time Schmidt has gone a best time in this race in 4 years, lowering her former best from 2015 by a couple of tenths. McHugh, Schmidt, and Twichell all currently rank in the top 6 for national team contention.

Haley Anderson (TROJ) was 4th in the finals heat with an 8:29.11, but placed 5th overall. Taking 4th with her time from the early heats was Kensey McMahon (BAMA), who dropped nearly 9 seconds this afternoon in 8:28.68.


  • World Record: Sun Yang (China), 2012, 14:31.02
  • World Junior Record: Mack Horton (Australia), 2014, 14:51.55
  • U.S. Open Record: Peter Vanderkaay (USA), 2008, 14:45.54
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 15:44.89


  1. GOLD: Robert Finke (SPA), 14:51.15
  2. SILVER: Zane Grothe (BCH), 14:56.10
  3. BRONZE: Michael Brinegar (MVN), 15:00.82

Robert Finke, a 2017 Worlds team member for the USA, earned his first national title in this event tonight. Finke, who withdrew from the World University Games due to a wrist injury earlier this summer, touched 5 seconds ahead of the field in 14:51.15. Zane Grothe was the only other man under 15:00 tonight.

After competing in this race at Worlds last week, Grothe was 25 seconds faster in this event tonight. Grothe touched in 14:56.10 for 2nd place, using his back-half speed to distance himself from Michael Brinegar (MVN), who took 3rd in 15:00.82. Brinegar’s time was a lifetime best by 7 seconds. The top 3 men are all in the current American top 6 for 2019, as is Arik Katz (15:05.93).

Katz reached the wall in 15:05.93. That’s a drop of almost 20 seconds and good for 4th place. Jake Mitchell (CSC) was the fastest man out of the early heats. Mitchell dropped almost 25 seconds with a 15:11.52 and wound up placing 5th overall.


  • World Record: USA (Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones, Lezak), 2008, 3:08.24
  • World Junior Record: Australia (Percy, Leong, Blake, Horton), 2013, 3:16.96
  • U.S. Open Record: USA (Phelps, Lochte, Lezak, Adrian), 2010, 3:11.74


  1. GOLD: Ohio State, 3:18.44
  2. SILVER: Australia, 3:18.57
  3. BRONZE: Aggie Swim Club, 3:19.48

It was a close race for the title between Ohio State and the Australian squad. Elijah Winnington led off in 49.70 to give the Aussies the lead by hundredths. Louis Townsend stretched that lead out a bit with a 48.82 on the 2nd leg. The teams’ 3rd leg splits were dead even as Matthew Temple (AUS) and Matthew Abeysinghe (OSU) each rolled to a 50.16. It came down to the final leg, where Ohio State’s Paul DeLakis anchored them to victory in 49.39.

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Bobo Gigi
4 years ago

Regan tired. Still a best time for her. The women’s 200 fly is weak right now at the international level. Anything can happen in Tokyo. Good to see finally some new blood coming from US teenagers.
Urlando clearly not tapered for that meet. World juniors is the big goal.
Abbey not tired. A new best time. She’s on the right track. Very happy for her after tough years since Rio.
Gretchen Walsh can be that 4th major piece next year of the women’s 4X100 free relay with Simone, Mallory and Abbey to beat Australia.
Was it a 49-meter pool just for the men’s 100 free? Amazing times! Amazing depth! 😯
There’s really a sprint revolution… Read more »

4 years ago

Ryan held’s time would’ve won any olympic final except 2008

Good but not Great
4 years ago

im fan

Good but not Great
Reply to  Good but not Great
4 years ago

of life

4 years ago

All the talk about the Aussie Trials women’s 100 free being faster than the Olympic final… pretty sure the men’s final was faster than the one there as well

Reply to  Leisurely1:29
4 years ago

Aussies are usually faster at their Trials than the Olympics….

Seli Lover
4 years ago

Getting loca over Luca and i’m a guy. Is something wrong with me?

Reply to  Seli Lover
4 years ago

username doesnt check out

4 years ago

16 year old Matthew Fenlon 1:57.3 wins the C final! young guns looking good in 2 fly

4 years ago

GB 4×100 gets more exciting by the day. US look like they’ll be untouchable for a long time, but we have an impressive young squad capable of competing in that top 5 group now: Burras (2000) & Richards (2002) already under 49s. Whittle (2004) under 50s. Scott, McLay, Guy & Cumberlidge aged between 20-24.

Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Behind the US and Russia it seems to be quite open. Neither Brazil nor Australia have been convincing recently.

4 years ago

Omega timing does not list the 100 free C and D finals.

Reply to  MÊME
4 years ago

Updated: they’ve already shown.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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