2020 Pro Swim Series – Knoxville: Sullivan, Norgaard Win 800 Free


The 2020 Pro Swim Series in Knoxville opened Thursday night with the men’s and women’s 800 meter freestyle. Danish distance star Alexander Norgaard and American Record holder Zane Grothe highlighted the men’s race, while Erica Sullivan headlined the women’s race.


  1. Erica Sullivan (SAND)- 8:29.75
  2. Kaersten Meitz (BA)- 8:31.85
  3. Mariah Denigan (LAK)- 8:35.07

Last month, Sullivan became the 2nd fastest performer ever in the 1650 yard free. She’s a major threat to make the Olympic team this summer in the distance races. In tonight’s race, she led the field in 8:29.75, just under 4 seconds shy of her lifetime best from the FINA World Cup in August. That was also nearly 10 seconds faster than Sullivan swam in this event at the 2019 Pro Swim in Knoxville a year ago.

Kaersten Meitz, a 2019 WUGs champion, pulled ahead of junior standout Mariah Denigan on the back half in the battle for 2nd. Meitz touched the wall in 8:31.85, just a few tenths shy of her lifetime best from last summer. Denigan wound up 3rd in 8:35.07.


  1. Alexander Norgaard (DEN)- 7:59.63
  2. Zane Grothe (BCH)- 8:03.21
  3. Taylor Abbott (TENN)- 8:05.51

Norgaard, an NC State commit, set the pace early on for the men. He was a 3:59.45 at the 400 before going on to post the only sub-8:00 of the field. Norgaard won the race in 7:59.63, distancing himself further from Grothe (8:03.21) and Tennessee’s Taylor Abbott (8:05.51) on the back half.

Marcelo Acosta, a postgrad All-American at Louisville, and Jeremy Bagshaw, a postgrad All-American at Cal, were within hundredths of each other at the finish. Bagshaw was out slightly quicker, with Acosta half a second behind. Acosta took over a slight lead going into the final 100, but Bagshaw made one final push to get his hand on the wall first in 8:06.17 to Bagshaw’s 8:06.25.

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1 year ago

Perhaps I’m just an aging boomer but I prefer USA swimming’s use of a single camera at the 50 yard line as opposed to FINA and ISL’s use of a half dozen different angles. Significantly easier to see a race develop.

That guy
Reply to  Marley09
1 year ago

Agreed with the boomer. They’ve had moments in the isl where they bounce shots around after the start, breakout and even before the 15. Super annoying. Especially in something like the 50

1 year ago

Congrats to Erica! Only 10 more events left for her to swim 😉

Reply to  Greg
1 year ago

she said in the comment of the 5 stories to watch article that she is only doing 5 races… I did not check again to see if she clarified which 5…

so, 1 down, 4 to go!

Go Erica!

Reply to  spectatorn
1 year ago

Hence the wink

1 year ago

How are is the 800 shaping up for trials on the women’s side? Is Leah still focusing on it? Who’s in it?

Reply to  Carlos
1 year ago

If Leah is planning to swim it, she should have the 2nd spot comfortably. If for some reason she doesn’t, it could be a very close battle between Sullivan, Schmidt, McHugh, and Twichell. Maybe a dark horse like McMahon or Weyant? Lots of women in the 8:26-8:29 range last summer

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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