2019 PHILLIPS 66 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
U.S. Summer Nationals is always exciting, but it will be difficult to follow the 2019 FINA World Championships which wrapped up Sunday in Gwangju, South Korea. Day 1 prelims will feature six events, four of which swim again tonight, and two others that are timed finals: the men’s and women’s 200 butterfly, men’s and women’s 100 freestyle, comprise the true prelims, while the women’s 800 freestyle, and men’s 1500 freestyle make up the timed finals.
22 members of the World Championships team graced the psych sheets for Nationals this week, but that’s not a guarantee every one of them will actually compete. Those that do race in Palo Alto will have to overcome the physical and mental tolls of a day of travel back from South Korea after a meet that lasted 8 days and was preceded by a 10-day training camp in Singapore.
Day 1 Morning Races:
- Women’s 200 Butterfly – Prelims
- Men’s 200 Butterfly – Prelims
- Women’s 100 Freestyle – Prelims
- Men’s 100 Freestyle – Prelims
- Women’s 800 Freestyle – TIMED FINALS (Heat 1 estimated to begin at 2:17 pm PST)
- Men’s 1500 Freestyle – TIMED FINALS (Heat 1 estimated to begin at 2:26 pm PST)
We probably won’t see any new World Records in Palo Alto today, but Team USA will still showcase some firepower. Junior stars and NCAA standouts will also race, giving us an opportunity to see a little of what next summer’s Olympic Trials may have in store.
Top Day 1 Prelims Storylines to Watch:
- Regan Smith, the newly-minted World Record holder in the 100 and 200 backstroke, returns to race her 3rd-best event, the 200 butterfly. Smith’s best time in this race is a 2:07.42 from the 2018 U.S. National Championships, where she placed 3rd. Smith did not swim race at Pan Pacs in Tokyo in order to focus on backstroke exclusively. If travel hasn’t taken too much of a toll, Smith could be in for a major time drop in this race, given her performance in Korea.
- Other members of the U.S. Worlds team present and racing this morning include Jack Conger (100 free), Jack Levant (200 fly), Abbey Weitzeil (100 free), Katie Drabot (200 fly), Allison Schmitt (100 free), Ashley Twichell (800 free), Haley Anderson (800 free), Ally McHugh (800 free), and Zane Grothe (1500 free).
- Luca Urlando will swim the 200 butterfly, potentially giving us a small preview of what may be to come next summer, if he makes the U.S. Olympic Team and gets to race in Tokyo. Urlando has already been 1:53.83 this year–a time that would have won the silver medal at the World Championships. If Urlando is on his game today, he will be looking at a new World Junior Record. How much he beats the record by is anybody’s guess.
- Dean Farris will swim the 100 freestyle this morning. Farris put up a remarkable 47.08 relay split at the World University Games, and was 40.80 at the NCAA Championships (SCY). His best time is 48.52, so if he can get a 47-anything the race will be a major success for him. Farris has been training at the University of Texas under the guidance of Eddie Reese all summer, and will continue to do so through the next year as he is taking an Olympic redshirt to focus in on the 2020 Olympic Trials next June. Farris has not transferred to the University of Texas, and will return to Harvard to complete his degree and NCAA eligibility during the 2020-2021 academic year.
- Maxime Rooney who has transferred from the University of Florida to Texas will also swim the 100 freestyle. Rooney had success at Florida, so this meet could give us some insight into how the move has affected him.
- Allison Schmitt races the 100 freestyle this morning. Schmitt swam the 200 freestyle and 4 x 200 freestyle relay in Gwagju and has Olympic and World Championship medals as a member of the 4 x 100 freestyle relay.
- Junior standouts Gretchen Walsh and Kate Douglass descend upon the 100 freestyle. Each had a phenomenal yards season in 2019, and now is the time to prove they can swim at an equal level in long course.
- Tom Shields returns to the 200 butterfly, an event that is more-or-less wide-open after Urlando. Shields has been pushed out of the butterfly spotlight recently by the likes of Caeleb Dressel, Urlando, Jack Conger, and even Michael Andrew, but still turned in a 1:55.25 last summer at U.S. Nationals.