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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2 years ago

Nice to see Clark Smith back in the mix

2 years ago

Ryan Lochte swam personal best 400freestyle 3.57,75 ant 10th place! He will win 400IM at Olympic trials.

Reply to  Kristiina
2 years ago

Nearly PB. Best time since 2011. Very impressive 35,5 years old man. He main events is tomorrow and last day.

Ol’ Longhorn
2 years ago

Lochte with the get out (of having to do it in finals again) swim.

2 years ago

Hey swimswam it’s a little hard to focus on the article with all these Kathleen Baker speedo ads😳

Reply to  leisurely1:29
2 years ago

What, you aren’t loving the VIBE VIBE VIBE?

Upper Lip
Reply to  leisurely1:29
2 years ago

I’m sure her parents are as proud as can be.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  leisurely1:29
2 years ago

Whatever happened to @KATHLEENBAKERSLATS? That was one of my favorite user names.

2 years ago

Are Kaliz and Litherland training partners still? How about Bentz? Bentz and Ltherland show as Dynamo entrants. Btw, how do you get mentioned in passing in final paragraph when finishing 2nd overall (Bentz).

Reply to  Justanarp
2 years ago

They always rep DYNA at meets. They’ve been doing it for a while, just like how Lochte used to rep Daytona’s club.

Captain Ahab
2 years ago

Man, I wish Michael Andrew would’ve brought that second 50 home 30.0 and smashed the 100 meter breaststroke American record.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

He can’t even do that in free on the 200 IM..

Captain Ahab
Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
2 years ago

He’s got a .58 high in him tonight

Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

I think he will swim a personal best tonight

2 years ago

Grant house 22.8 first 50m of 400

Must be looking at top end speed?
Curious how/if he swims finals

Lane 8
Reply to  Doconc
2 years ago

Feels like he was trying to get a cut or something.

The Original Tim
Reply to  Doconc
2 years ago

Yeah, he stopped at the wall for a good amount of time, I assume he was going for a cut.

Reply to  Doconc
2 years ago

Yeah he went under the Trials cut. Looking at the USA Swimming times database, he didn’t have it before.

Swammer from Wakanda
Reply to  Doconc
2 years ago

It’s smart because there is a small current. If he did the individual 50 he would’ve been going against the current. This morning he went with it.

Reply to  Swammer from Wakanda
2 years ago

He’s a 1:46 LCM freestyler. He probably doesn’t need a current to help him get the 50 Free Trials Cut.

2 years ago

Chase’s 2-fly time is very promising…. That’s solid swim in-season.

The Original Tim
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
2 years ago

He’s had some faster in season times since 2016, but if we look at where he was at this point in his pre-Rio training cycle (assuming he’s doing a similar training plan this go-round), he was a 2:00 in prelims at the Orlando PSS in March 2016, with a 1:57 in finals.

Since Rio, it looks like he’s usually around a 1:59/2:00 in prelims at this point in the season, dropping down to a 1:55-1:57 in finals. If he can pull off another 3-4 second drop here, that would be quite impressive!

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
2 years ago

Loving the front runner! If he was truly confident, he would be in the 4im! He went 56/1:01. Not telling to me that promise you talk about!

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
2 years ago

I noticed that too. BTW, if he goes 1:56 tonight, will you revise your Trials projections for Kalisz?

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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