2020 Pro Swim Series – Des Moines: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


After things kicked off with a pair of distance events last night, the first preliminary session of swimming from the 2020 Pro Swim Series stop in Des Moines, Iowa is set to get underway. The field that has assembled is absolutely loaded, featuring a who’s who of top American swimmers who aren’t currently competing in the NCAA.

The 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 200 fly and 400 free is on tap for day two. The 100 free features reigning World Champions Simone Manuel and Caeleb Dressel headlining the fields, while Dressel was also entered to swim the 100 breast and 200 fly but has scratched out. Joining him in that 100 free, however, are four others who all broke 48 last season: Ryan HeldZach AppleBlake Pieroni and Tate Jackson. Dressel, of course, became the first to go under 47 in a textile suit at the World Championships.

2012 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian is another massive name entered in that event.

Reigning Olympic and World Champion Lilly King towers over the field in the women’s 100 breast, while Andrew Wilson leads a stacked lineup in the men’s event that has seven seeded sub-1:00. Hali Flickinger and Zach Harting hold the top seeds in the 200 fly, and Katie Ledecky and Zane Grothe lead the 400 free.

Ledecky won the women’s 1500 on Wednesday in a quick time of 15:29.51, nine seconds off of her world record.

Women’s 100 Free Prelims

  • PSS Record: 53.12, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2016
  1. Simone Manuel, ALTO, 54.04
  2. Siobhan Haughey, CW, 54.10
  3. Mallory Comerford, CARD, 54.16
  4. Catie DeLoof, TE, 54.29
  5. Margo Geer, MVN / Allison Schmitt, SUN, 54.68
  6. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC, 54.71
  7. Natalie Hinds, ABSC, 55.02

Simone Manuel looked very smooth as she cruised to the top time of the morning in the women’s 100 freestyle, winning the last heat in a time of 54.04 to edge out the 54.10 established by Siobhan Haughey in the first circle-seeded heat.

Manuel currently ranks 11th in the world this season with her time of 53.44 from the Knoxville PSS in January, while Haughey sits in a tie for sixth with a 53.33 from the FINA World Cup stop in Beijing.

Mallory Comerford won the other seeded heat in 54.16, edging Team Elite’s Catie DeLoof (54.29), as those two advance third and fourth overall respectively.

Men’s 100 Free Prelims

  1. Zach Apple, MVN, 48.93
  2. Ryan Held, NYAC, 49.21
  3. Marius Kusch, TE, 49.35
  4. Dean Farris, HARV, 49.45
  5. Blake Pieroni, SAND, 49.53
  6. Tate Jackson, TXLA, 49.54
  7. Brett Pinfold, AGS, 49.69
  8. Robert Howard, MVN / Andrew Seliskar, CAL, 49.78

In a very tightly contested men’s 100 free Zach Apple was the only one able to break free from the pack of 49s, as the world’s #1 swimmer this year popped off a solid 48.93 from the first circle-seeded heat to take the top spot into tonight’s final.

Apple clocked 47.69 at the US Open in December which has him atop the world rankings for the 2019-20 season.

Marius Kusch and Dean Farris both qualified from Apple’s heat as well, while Robert Howard‘s 49.78 ended up tying him for eight with Andrew Seliskar, meaning the two will likely swim-off for the final spot.

Ryan Held won the penultimate heat in 49.21 for the second seed, while Blake Pieroni (49.53) took out the big guns in Caeleb Dressel and Nathan Adrian in the final heat to take fifth. Dressel (49.89) and Adrian (49.99) ended up placing 10th and 11th overall to miss the A-final.

Brett Pinfold of the Aggie Swim Club threw down a 49.69 from one of the early heats, just .01 off his lifetime best, to ultimately qualify in seventh.

2007 world champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in this event Brent Hayden, who made his return to competition two weeks ago, was slated to race here but was a no-show for his heat. This was also the case for Michael AndrewJacob Pebley and Jack Conger.

Women’s 100 Breast Prelims

  • PSS Record: 1:05.57, Rebecca Soni (USA), 2011
  1. Molly Hannis, TNAQ, 1:06.86
  2. Annie Lazor, MVN, 1:07.15
  3. Lilly King, ISC, 1:07.22
  4. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 1:07.53
  5. Melanie Margalis, SPA, 1:07.61
  6. Breeja Larson, NYAC, 1:07.71
  7. Bethany Galat, AGS, 1:08.28
  8. Rachel Bernhardt, GAME, 1:08.79

Annie LazorMolly Hannis and Lilly King all defended the top seed in each of the three fast heats as they easily advance to the final, led by Hannis who was a season-best 1:06.86. That time improves on Hannis’ 1:06.98 from the US Open, moving her up one spot to eighth in the world.

Lazor, who ranks fourth in the world at 1:06.63, was 1:07.15 for second, and King, who’s ranked first by almost a second in 1:05.65, was third in 1:07.22.

Madisyn CoxMelanie Margalis and Breeja Larson also hit 1:07s this morning (all season-bests), making tonight’s A-final full of big names. The other two qualifiers, Bethany Galat and Rachel Bernhardt, have both been 1:07.59 this season.

Men’s 100 Breast Prelims

  • PSS Record: 58.86, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2017
  1. Michael Andrew, RPC, 59.83
  2. Andrew Wilson, ABSC, 1:00.34
  3. Kevin Cordes, ABSC, 1:00.50
  4. Nic Fink, ABSC, 1:01.52
  5. Cody Miller, SAND, 1:01.54
  6. Ben Cono, GAME, 1:02.02
  7. Carlos Claverie, CARD, 1:02.23
  8. Nils Wich-Glasen, UN, 1:02.35

Michael Andrew unleashed some big-time speed opening up the men’s 100 breast, turning in 27.78 before coming home in a solid 32.05 for a final time of 59.83, over a half-second clear of the rest of the field.

Andrew’s time stacks up as the eighth-fastest of his career and a tie for 17th in the world this season. Last year at this meet the now 20-year-old hit a time of 59.70 in the final after going 1:00.66 in the prelims.

The Athens Bulldogs occupy the second, third and fourth seeds for tonight with Andrew WilsonKevin Cordes and Nic Fink. Wilson, who clocked 1:00.34, has been 59.28 this season, while Cordes was less than three-tenths off his season-best in 1:00.50.

Cody Miller was .02 back of Fink in 1:01.54, right around where he was in November at the IU-Louisville Pro Meet.

Women’s 200 Fly Prelims

  1. Hali Flickinger, SUN, 2:06.78
  2. Regan Smith, RIPT, 2:08.94
  3. Justina Kozan, BREA, 2:09.92
  4. Megan Kingsley, ABSC, 2:10.07
  5. Remedy Rule, TXLA, 2:11.76
  6. Klaudia Nazielbo, UN, 2:12.02
  7. Leah Gingrich, HUR, 2:13.44
  8. Katie McLaughlin, CAL, 2:13.81

2019 World Championship silver medalist Hali Flickinger decimated the final heat of the women’s 200 fly for a final time of 2:06.78, falling just .02 shy of Cammile Adams‘ PSS Record set in 2012. Flickinger came into the meet with the top time in the world at 2:07.65, so she lowers that by almost a full second.

This is the seventh-fastest swim of the 25-year-old’s career and the second-fastest at a non-tapered meet (the only one faster is her 2:06.40 from the FINA Champions Series last June).

After training at the University of Georgia for several years, Flickinger made a move last year to train at Arizona State with Bob Bowman.

Riptide’s Regan Smith pulled away from Brea’s Justina Kozan on the last 50 to win the penultimate heat in 2:08.94, just off her season-best of 2:08.73. Kozan’s time of 2:09.92 was just over two-tenths off her lifetime best, 2:09.68, set at the 2019 Summer Junior Nationals.

Megan Kingsley won the other circle-seeded heat for the #4 seed in 2:10.07, while the fourth-seed coming in, Katie McLaughlin, snuck into the A-final in eighth.

Men’s 200 Fly Prelims

  • PSS Record: 1:53.84, Gianluca Urlando (USA), 2019
  1. Chase Kalisz, ABSC, 1:57.64
  2. Gunnar Bentz, DYNA, 1:58.53
  3. Zach Harting, CARD, 1:58.86
  4. Jack Conger, CAV, 1:59.04
  5. Jay Litherland, DYNA, 1:59.74
  6. Alex Kunert, UN, 2:00.81
  7. Jack Saunderson, TUS, 2:02.83
  8. Akaram Mahmoud, WOLF, 2:03.38

Chase Kalisz leads a 200 fly field that only saw 17 men step onto the blocks this morning. Kalisz won heat one in a time of 1:57.64, just off of the 1:57.29 he went at the US Open in December.

Kalisz, usually known for his strong back-half in this race, was by far the fastest in the field on the opening 100, splitting 25.98 at the 50 and 55.93 at the 100. Two years ago at this time of year Kalisz clocked a 1:55.78 at the Atlanta PSS — a time to watch for tonight.

His training partner Jay Litherland took second in the heat in 1:59.74, which ended up putting him fifth overall.

Jack Conger won heat two in 1:59.04 for fourth, Gunnar Bentz (1:58.53) and Zach Harting (1:58.86) went 1-2 in the final heat for second and third.

Women’s 400 Free Prelims

  1. Katie Ledecky, NCAP, 4:05.26
  2. Kaersten Meitz, BA, 4:11.39
  3. Allison Schmitt, SUN, 4:11.68
  4. Siobhan Haughey, CW, 4:12.19
  5. Leah Smith, FORD, 4:12.88
  6. Mariah Denigan, LAK, 4:14.24
  7. Ally McHugh, WA, 4:14.86
  8. Geena Freriks, KYA, 4:16.46

As expected Katie Ledecky set the pace in the women’s 400 freestyle, cruising to a final time of 4:05.26 to give her a six-second lead on the field heading into the final. Ledecky leads the world rankings with her 4:00.81 from Atlanta in January.

The quick pace set by the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder made the third and final heat much quicker than heat two, as six of tonight’s A-finalists all came from Ledecky’s heat.

Kaersten Meitz (4:11.39) held off Allison Schmitt (4:11.68) to take second in the heat, with Siobhan Haughey (4:12.19) not far behind. The time for Haughey is just off of her personal best of 4:11.90, set at the Canet stop of the Mare Nostrum Tour last summer.

Leah Smith, who ranks eighth in the world this season in 4:08.06, easily won heat two in 4:12.88 which ended up qualifying her fifth overall.

Men’s 400 Free Prelims

  • PSS Record: 3:43.55, Sun Yang (CHN), 2016
  1. Marwan El Kamash, ISC, 3:53.48
  2. Zane Grothe, BCH, 3:53.52
  3. Arik Katz, SRQ, 3:53.76
  4. Nick Norman, CAL, 3:54.20
  5. Mitch D’Arrigo, GSC, 3:55.13
  6. True Sweetser, ALTO, 3:55.33
  7. Clark Smith, TXLA, 3:56.29
  8. Hsing-Hao Wang, TE, 3:56.87

Indiana’s Marwan El Kamash and Sarasota’s Arik Katz went head-to-head in the penultimate heat of the men’s 400 free, with El Kamash edging out last night’s 1500 free winner, 3:53.48 to 3:53.76. Katz, 18, sets a new personal best, lowering his 3:53.78 from last summer’s Nationals.

Those two ended up qualifying 1-3 for tonight’s final, with Zane Grothe touching in 3:53.52 in the final heat for second. El Kamash had a lot of early speed, opening up the 200 in 1:53.99, while both Katz and Grothe were more conservative, splitting 1:56/1:57 for the race.

Cal’s Nick Norman qualified fourth in 3:54.20 from Grothe’s heat, and Clark Smith was notably seventh overall in 3:56.29 in his first 400 of the year.

Ryan Lochte won heat two in a time of 3:57.75 for 10th, his fastest swim since 2011, with a 1:59.35/1:58.40 negative-split. In February, he went 4:08.73 at the Florida OT Qualifier meet. He also did the race twice in early March at the Plantation Sectionals two years ago, with his fastest swim being a 3:59.21.

In the final heat, Grant House swam an all-out 50 free before going easy the rest of the way. His time: 22.86 — well under his previous best of 23.58 and the Trials cut of 23.19.

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1 year ago

They really doing d finals? Almost everyone is going to make it back in every event

Reply to  Sccoach
1 year ago

Not sure why this is a surprise. Pro series always has d finals

Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

Because there are like 5 men’s teams.

1 year ago

Was he in a practice suit again?

Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago


Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

I watched Dressel’s heat in streaming from Italy (thanks Usa swimming). Good start for him and then he swam a very controlled first 50m: 29 strokes and 24.25 his split. After the turn and underwater he accelerated his stroke rate, but everyone in that final heat made the same, so in the back-half the fastest was Blake Pieroni (25.29 after a 24.24 in the first 50m), while Dressel swam a 25.64 with 35 strokes. Obviously only Troy and Dressel, considering the training made in the last period, can judge his swim.

1 year ago

Damn, both Dressel and Adrian in B final of 100 free

Reply to  Amurray
1 year ago

I agree! But it also means everyone can watch on USA swimming feed! thanks Adrian and Dressel 🙂

1 year ago

Dressel missed the A final

Reply to  Ger
1 year ago

Just like last year. He will probably swim a 48.5 tonight. He keeps trying to tell NBC to broadcast the B finals.

Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago

or USA swimming to show A final 🙂

Reply to  RUN-DMC
1 year ago


1 year ago

49.89? Did he swim it fly or something?

Gator Chomp
Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

Troy training baby

Reply to  Gator Chomp
1 year ago

Maybe he recently crashed his scooter

Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

Or maybe its prelims

1 year ago

dont get why people are excited about a 59.8 for Andrew. 10 seconds off Finnertys record. I think they just like his eyes.

Reply to  Karen
1 year ago

Meters vs. yards?

The Original Tim
Reply to  Karen
1 year ago

Hot diggity dog! I must have missed it when Finnerty blew past Peaty to drop the LCM WR by 7 whole seconds.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  The Original Tim
1 year ago

Finnerty’s pecs>>>Peaty’s

Jabroni Pepperoni
Reply to  Karen
1 year ago

Username checks out

Reply to  Jabroni Pepperoni
1 year ago

Needs to speak to the manager

1 year ago

Looking like a lot of beat up swimmers

Reply to  CACrushers
1 year ago

…was hoping some swimmers would be “lightly” rest. Seems smart to test speed in March, considering most of us followed that taper cycle through HS and college. However, yeah, everyone seems a little broken down.

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 year ago

Broken down or just cruising prelims because of the small field? Guess we’ll see tonight

The Original Tim
1 year ago

Just started watching the feed a few minutes ago…is it just me or are there more scratches than normal from the psych sheet to the heat sheet, then from the heat sheet to the actual races? The men’s 200 fly field is quite underwhelming, at least. 34 seeds to 24 entries to 17 swims. I’ve had local Masters meets with better outcomes from the psych sheet!

Reply to  The Original Tim
1 year ago

Coronavirus maybe

Reply to  The Original Tim
1 year ago

The entry deadlines are very early. Everyone(or their coach) just enters anything they might possibly want to swim. Then they fine tune there meet strategy based on where they are at the moment. Not sure why they cannot fill out a scratch card though if they are actually at the meet. Takes 10 seconds.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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