2020 U.S. Open – Irvine Thursday PM Recap: Bella Sims, #5 800 in 15/16 History

2020 U.S. Open Swimming Championships

Session One – Thursday, November 12

Women’s 800m Freestyle

  • American record: 8:04.79 8/7/2016 Katie Ledecky
  • U.S. Open record: 8:06.68 1/17/2016 Katie Ledecky
  • U.S. Open Meet: 8:14.59 12/4/2019 Katie G Ledecky
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 8:48.09

Top 8:

  1. Bella Sims, SAND – 8:27.01
  2. Erica Sullivan, SAND – 8:31.38
  3. Paige Kuwata, SAND – 8:45.15
  4. Katie Grimes, SAND – 8:47.95
  5. Abby Dunford, SAND – 8:48.13
  6. Mattea Sokolow, TSM – 8:53.76
  7. Abby O’Sullivan, MVN – 8:54.85
  8. Cathryn Salladin, RMDA – 8:55.50

In the first heat, 15-year-old Bella Sims from Sandpipers of Nevada sliced nearly 9 seconds off her seed time to become the 5th-fastest swimmer of all-time in the 15-16 age group with 8:27.01. Only Mariah Denigan (8:28.15) has been faster than 8:30 in the 15-16 age group since Becca Mann went 8:22.45 in 2014.

Top-seeded Erica Sullivan finished second in 8:31.38, 5 seconds off her seed time. Sandpipers’ Paige Kuwata (8:45.15, PB by 3), Katie Grimes (8:47.95), and Abby Dunford (8:48.13, PB by 5) were the next three to the wall. Grimes and Dunford are both 14 years old.

Team Santa Monica’s Mattea Sokolow, 15, battled it out with Mission Viejo’s Abby O’Sullivan in heat 2. Sokolow dropped 6.5 seconds to win the heat with 8:53.76 while O’Sullivan clocked a PB of 8:45.84, improving her seed time by 8.3 seconds.

Men’s 800m Freestyle

  • American record: 7:43.60 7/31/2013 Michael McBroom
  • U.S. Open record: 7:44.57 7/29/2018 Zane Grothe
  • U.S. Open Meet record: 7:47.27 8/8/2009 Chad La Tourette
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 8:12.99

Top 8:

  1. Jordan Wilimovsky, KSWM – 8:01.40
  2. Will Gallant, MVN – 8:02.15
  3. Matthew Chai, FAST – 8:08.21
  4. Daniel Matheson, SAC – 8:09.08
  5. Chris Wieser, DART – 8:10.08
  6. David Heron, MVN – 8:10.95
  7. Kieran McNulty, CPSU – 8:14.27
  8. Luke Hobson, LAKE – 8:16.72

Top-seeded Jordan Wilimovsky of KSwim won heat 1 over Mission Viejo’s Will Gallant, 8:01.40 to 8:02.15. Gallant improved his seed time by over 2 seconds while Wilimovsky was off by 11.6. Chris Wieser of DART edged Mission Viejo’s David Heron for third place, 8:10.08 to 8:10.95.

The second heat featured a sprint to the finish between the leaders. Simon Lamar of Fullerton picked up the win over Brice Barrieault from Sandpipers. Lamar’s 8:18.90 was a PB by 1 second, while Barrieault improved his seed time by 3.4 seconds to finish with 8:19.13.

Cal Poly’s Kieran McNulty, who was entered with a yards time, took 19.5 seconds off his previous PB to land a winning time of 8:14.27 in heat 3. Second place went to Luke Hobson of Lakeridge Swim Team, who dropped 25 seconds to rip a PB of 8:16.72.

The evening concluded with an exciting final heat of men’s 800 free, with Matthew Chai of Fullerton and Daniel Matheson of Scottsdale trading stroke for stroke. Chai hit the wall first, dropping almost 32 seconds to finish with 8:08.21 and move into the top-3 for the evening. Matheson took 40 seconds off his previous PB, stopping the clock at 8:09.08.

Both Chai and Matheson punched their first tickets to U.S. Olympic Trials with their swims.

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2 years ago

The cover photo features Sullivan from her cap, not Sims.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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