2020 Pro Swim Series – Des Moines: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap


Day three from the Pro Swim Series stop in Des Moines will feature the 200 free, 200 back, 400 IM and 100 fly.

Coming off of her 200 fly 17-18 NAG Record last night, Regan Smith is set up for a double today with entries in both the 200 back and 100 fly. Hali Flickinger, who won that 200 fly in a blistering 2:06.11, will also have a double with the 200 free and 100 fly.

Caeleb Dressel, who missed the A-final in Thursday’s 100 free, is slated to swim the 100 fly and 200 free on day three, while Katie Ledecky highlights the field in the women’s 200 free. Ledecky has had back-to-back victories on the first two nights of competition in the 400 and 1500 free.

Kelsi Dahlia (women’s 100 fly) and Ryan Murphy (men’s 200 back) will get into some of their best events after both swimming the 100 free on day two, and another thing to watch for is Ryan Lochte in the men’s 400 IM. Lochte swam his fastest 400 free since 2011 during Thursday’s prelims.

Women’s 200 Free Prelims

  1. Katie Ledecky, NCAP, 1:56.19
  2. Hali Flickinger, SUN, 1:59.16
  3. Siobhan Haughey, CW, 1:59.18
  4. Allison Schmitt, SUN, 1:59.21
  5. Simone Manuel, ALTO, 1:59.27
  6. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 1:59.43
  7. Leah Smith, FORD, 1:59.44
  8. Mallory Comerford, CARD, 1:59.75

Katie Ledecky pulled away from Simone Manuel on the back half of the last heat in the women’s 200 free, soaring to the top time of the morning in 1:56.19. Ledecky has been slightly faster this season, going 1:55.68 at the PSS in Greensboro in November, which has her ranked third in the world.

Hali Flickinger moved past Manuel on the last 50 of the heat to take second in 1:59.16, giving her the #2 qualifying time for tonight’s final, while Manuel’s 1:59.27 is good for fifth. Manuel was 1:57.21 at the US Open in December, while Flickinger edges her previous season-best of 1:59.24 from Knoxville.

Club Wolverine’s Siobhan Haughey won the penultimate heat in 1:59.18, and Allison Schmitt claimed the first circle-seeded heat in 1:59.21 as they advance in third and fourth. They currently rank second and fourth in the world this season with times of 1:55.21 and 1:56.01, respectively.

Olivia Smoliga notably was just over a second off her lifetime best to narrowly miss the A-final in ninth, clocking 2:00.21. Melanie Margalis was among the athletes who declared a false start for the race.

Men’s 200 Free Prelims

  • PSS Record: 1:44.82, Sun Yang (CHN), 2016
  1. Townley Haas, NOVA, 1:48.71
  2. Caeleb Dressel, GSC, 1:48.83
  3. Alex Kunert, UN, 1:49.25
  4. Jeff Newkirk, TXLA, 1:49.29
  5. Marwan El Kamash, ISC, 1:49.48
  6. Blake Pieroni, SAND, 1:49.61
  7. Andrew Seliskar, CAL, 1:49.88
  8. Grant House, SUN, 1:49.89

In the final heat of the men’s 200 free, Caeleb Dressel made a push on the last 50 to try and run down Townley Haas, but once caught, the two ultimately cruised into the wall together to claim the top-two seeds. Haas touched first in 1:48.71, while Dressel, who closed in 27.04, was 1:48.83. The two have been 1:45.92 and 1:47.58 this season, respectively.

Alex Kunert from Queens was in the thick of the race with the two big guns all the way to the finish, finishing in 1:49.25 which qualifies him third for the final. Kunert set his best time at this meet last year in 1:47.93.

Jeff Newkirk of Longhorn Aquatics won heat four in 1:49.29, qualifying him fourth, and Blake Pieroni claimed the first circle-seeded heat in 1:49.61 for sixth. The time for Newkirk marks his fastest at a non-taper meet.

Women’s 200 Back Prelims

  1. Lisa Bratton, AGS, 2:10.81
  2. Kathleen Baker, TE, 2:11.85
  3. Regan Smith, RIPT, 2:12.11
  4. Ali DeLoof, TE, 2:12.79
  5. Catie DeLoof, TE, 2:12.94
  6. Krystal Lara, UN, 2:14.36
  7. Parker Herren, KYA, 2:15.19
  8. Klaudia Nazieblo, UN, 2:15.78

Lisa Bratton of the Aggie Swim Club emerges with the top time from the women’s 200 back prelims, claiming the first circle-seeded heat in 2:10.81. Bratton, 23, ranks ninth in the world this season after going 2:09.16 at the US Open.

Team Elite’s Kathleen Baker and Riptide’s Regan Smith easily won the final two heats in 2:11.85 and 2:12.11, respectively, advancing them second and third overall. Baker ranks third in the world with her 2:07.22 showing from February in Nice, while Smith sits second with a 2:05.94 from the Knoxville PSS in January. At that meet, Smith went 2:10.12 in the prelims (it’s worth noting that she won her heat by well over three seconds here, so we should still expect a fast swim tonight, especially after her 200 fly on Thursday).

Men’s 200 Back Prelims

  • PSS Record: 1:55.04, Xu Jiayu (CHN), 2017
  1. Jacob Pebley, TE, 1:59.67
  2. Ryan Murphy, CAL, 1:59.77
  3. Grigory Tarasevich, CARD, 2:00.81
  4. Christopher Reid, WOLF, 2:01.13
  5. Mateo Miceli, SCSC, 2:02.58
  6. Emils Pone, GWU, 2:03.75
  7. Chase Kalisz, ABSC, 2:04.21
  8. Matt Grevers, FORD, 2:04.41

It was a relatively sleepy prelims of the men’s 200 back as only 12 swimmers chose to partake. Team Elite’s Jacob Pebley cruised to a time of 1:59.67 in the penultimate heat, which ended up qualifying him first for the final. Pebley ranks seventh in the world with a 1:57.73 from the US Open.

His former Cal training partner Ryan Murphy did likewise in the final heat, closing in 29.91 for a time of 1:59.77 and second overall. This marks the first 200 back of the 2019-20 season for Murphy, the defending Olympic champion in the event.

Grigory Tarasevich was a second off his season-best in third (2:00.81), and Christopher Reid, who sits fourth in the world with a 1:57.04, qualifies fourth in 2:01.13.

Last night’s 200 fly runner-up Chase Kalisz qualified seventh in 2:04.21, racing the event for the first time since 2016.

Women’s 400 IM Prelims

  • PSS Record: 4:31.07, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2015
  1. Melanie Margalis, SPA, 4:42.51
  2. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 4:44.39
  3. Ally McHugh, WA, 4:45.12
  4. Leah Smith, FORD, 4:45.26
  5. Mariah Denigan, LAK, 4:47.25
  6. Megan Kingsley, ABSC, 4:48.28
  7. Bethany Galat, AGS, 4:48.64
  8. Emma Barksdale, GAME, 4:49.03

After a very solid opening 300, Melanie Margalis was able to put it on absolute cruise control on the last 100 of the women’s 400 IM, winning the opening heat by over six seconds in 4:42.51. The time would hold up as the fastest of the morning.

Margalis, 28, ranks third in the world with her 4:37.34 from the US Open in December. At that meet, she went a very similar time in the heats as she did here (4:41.92).

The second heat was much closer, with Longhorn Aquatics’ Madisyn Cox holding off Ally McHugh and Leah Smith to win and qualify second for the final in 4:44.39. Cox went 4:39.25 at the PSS in Knoxville which has her eighth in the world.

McHugh, who advances third overall in 4:45.12, went 4:38.09 at the US Open which ranks her sixth. The 22-year-old was the 2018 US National Champion in the event.

Smith (4:45.26) had the fastest freestyle leg in the field by a wide margin at 1:02.4. This was her 400 IM of 2019-20.

Men’s 400 IM Prelims

  1. Jacob Heidtmann, TE, 4:16.77
  2. Abrahm DeVine, TE, 4:21.67
  3. Ryan Lochte, GSC, 4:21.93
  4. Jay Litherland, DYNA, 4:24.03
  5. Hsing-Hao Wang, TE, 4:24.51
  6. Gunnar Bentz, DYNA, 4:25.46
  7. Kyle Barker, KYA, 4:26.01
  8. Jack Anderson, LAK, 4:32.05

German Jacob Heidtmann dominated the preliminaries of the men’s 400 IM, winning heat two in 4:16.77 for the top seed by almost five seconds. The swim improves his season-best of 4:17.44 from February, moving him up one spot to 17th in the world, and also falls less than two seconds off the German Olympic qualifying time (4:15.00).

Heidtmann, who represents Team Elite, also fell just short of the 200 free Olympic standard when he went 1:46 in a time trial on Thursday. The 25-year-old holds a 400 IM personal best time of 4:12.08 from the 2015 World Championships.

Jay Litherland, the 2019 World Championship silver medalist in this event, cruised to the wall second in Heidtmann’s heat in 4:24.03, good for fourth overall, and his Dynamo teammate Gunnar Bentz (4:25.46) was third (and sixth overall).

In the opening heat, Abrahm DeVine and Ryan Lochte had a nice battle throughout, with DeVine out in the lead most of the way before ultimately holding off the 2012 Olympic champion in 4:21.67. Lochte closed well, home in 28.39, and put up a final time of 4:21.93. They qualify second and third for tonight’s final.

DeVine’s time is a new season-best, lowering his 4:26.35 from last month, while Lochte swam a pair of 4:19s at the US Open in December.

Women’s 100 Fly Prelims

  • PSS Record: 56.38, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2016
  1. Regan Smith, RIPT, 57.75
  2. Farida Osman, PRVT, 58.36
  3. Beryl Gastaldello, UN, 58.51
  4. Kelsi Dahlia, CARD, 58.69
  5. Kendyl Stewart, TE, 58.84
  6. Amanda Kendall, MVN, 59.01
  7. Leah Gingrich, HURR, 59.34
  8. Katie McLaughlin, CAL, 59.48

After back-to-back events where the top seeds could all cruise into the A-final, that wasn’t the case in the women’s 100 fly as it required sub-59.5 to qualify.

After an easy 200 back, Regan Smith dropped a new best to claim the top time in the women’s 100 fly, touching in 57.75 to improve on her 57.86 set earlier this year in Knoxville. Despite dropping just over a tenth of a second, the 18-year-old still jumps up two spots to fifth in the world this season.

That gives Smith personal best times in both butterfly events this weekend after breaking the 17-18 NAG in the 200 last night, and we could very well see another drop in the 100 tonight.

Top seed coming in Kelsi Dahlia (58.69) and Kendyl Stewart (58.84) took second and third in Smith’s heat, ultimately qualifying them fourth and fifth for the final.

Pinnacle Racing’s Farida Osman won the first circle-seeded heat in 58.36 to qualify second, and Béryl Gastaldello won heat four in 58.51 for third. Osman, who hails from Egypt, lowered her season-best by .05, while Gastaldello, who represents France internationally, added .05 to her fastest of the season.

Hali Flickinger, who won the 200 fly on Thursday with the fastest time in the world, misses the A-final with the ninth-fastest time in 59.55.

Men’s 100 Fly Prelims

  1. Michael Andrew, RPC, 51.49
  2. Marius Kusch, TE, 51.54
  3. Caeleb Dressel, GSC, 52.40
  4. Giles Smith, SUN, 52.46
  5. Vini Lanza, MVN, 52.53
  6. Andrew Seliskar, CAL, 52.70
  7. Jack Conger, CAV / Luis Martinez, GUA / John Shebat, NYAC, 52.71

After doing so in the 100 breast last night, Michael Andrew picks up another best time this morning in the men’s 100 fly, using a 23.64 opening 50 to lead him to a final clocking of 51.49. Previously, Andrew had a lifetime best of 51.53 from the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. The 20-year-old won the penultimate heat in what ended up being the top time overall.

German Marius Kusch, who trains at Team Elite, had near-identical splits to Andrew from the final heat, out in 23.74 before finishing in 51.54. Kusch set his PB of 51.35 at this meet one year ago.

Their times put them third and fourth in the world this year, respectively.

World record holder Caeleb Dressel nailed down the third-fastest time of the heats in 52.40, splitting the fastest of anyone in the field on the second 50 (27.54). The two-time world champion in this event, Dressel improves his season-best by half a second, having been 52.90 at the Florida OT Qualifier in February.

It was crazy-close for the last couple spots in the A-final. Andrew Seliskar narrowly escaped a swim-off in 52.70 for sixth, while Jack CongerLuis Martinez and John Shebat all tied for seventh in 52.71. The three will likely have to swim-off with the two-fastest from that heat making the A-final tonight.

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3 years ago

Is Margalis time a typo? MM said 432

3 years ago

Can I watch the finals on TV?

3 years ago

Giles Smith will be 36 years old, enter this meet and rip out a 52.4 in the 100 fly, guys is wildly consistent. can’t quite drop that extra time

Mr Piano
Reply to  sscommentor
3 years ago

I really hope he has a break out meet sooner or later

Captain Ahab
3 years ago

Team USA Olympic women’s swim team might sweep every event in Tokyo this summer. I do not see any weakness in any event.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
3 years ago

Yeahhh……… I don’t think so. Hosszu in the IMs, Aussies in both free relays, Sjostrom and MacNeil in 100 fly, many women in 200 breaststroke, the uncertainty of 50/100/200 free. Yes, the U.S. women might take any of these events, but all of them in the same Games is HIGHLY unlikely. Especially the IMs and 100 fly.

Reply to  N P
3 years ago

And McKeon in 100 fly. I think AHAB is dreaming

Reply to  Captain Ahab
3 years ago

cpt. ahab no idea

Reply to  Captain Ahab
3 years ago

What a joke! The most optimistic scenario is posted below for the women’s swim team:

50 m freestyle – gold
100 m freestyle – gold
200 m freestyle –
400 m freestyle – gold, bronze
800 m freestyle – gold
1500 m freestyle – gold
100 m backstroke – gold, bronze
200 m backstroke – gold
100 m breaststroke – gold, bronze
200 m breaststroke – silver
100 m butterfly –
200 m butterfly – gold, silver
200 m individual medley – bronze
400 m individual medley –
4 x 100 m freestyle relay – silver
4 x 200 m freestyle relay – silver
… Read more »

Reply to  Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
3 years ago

Realistically Regan Smith can win the 100 fly, if she goes under 57 tonight then she should be in the conversation, the 400 relay the American women are looking stronger and more depth (4 swimmers under 54 this year so far Schmitt, commerford, brown and manuel) and the 800 relay after tonight we’ll have a good picture of that relay as well

Reply to  Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
3 years ago

I think the US are at least equal favourites with Australia for the 4×200 and the 4×100 will be closer than it’s been in a long time.

Reply to  Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
3 years ago


3 years ago

Kusch now qualified for the Olympic Team (unless two German swimmers are faster until the beginning of May which is not going to happen). Maybe he is able to drop a few tenths tonight next to Andrew.

3 years ago

Madisyn Cox likely would be performing better without the distraction of daddy Dean 🤤🤤🤤

Reply to  Karen
3 years ago

take the upvote and now leave smh

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Karen
3 years ago

And vice versa.

Lane 8
3 years ago

Women’s 2free A-final is amazingly close behind Ledecky. 0.6 seconds seperating 2nd thru 8th.

Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

My money on Schmitt being top 2….the rest behind

Reply to  Ghost
3 years ago

How much of your money? 😀
Haughey is a 1:54 swimmer and has already 1:55.21 this year. After her personal best in 100 event and not bad for the sprinter 400 yesterday I expected a strong competition between her and Ledecky. Her 1:59 in the morning is confusing.

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Haughey swam as fast as she needed to.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

waaaayyy behind Ledecky

3 years ago

Anyone know if there’s a way to get 2nd hand tickets to saturdays’s finals? Sold out on meet website

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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