2021 Pro Swim Series – Mission Viejo: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap



The last preliminaries session of the 2021 Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo is set to begin with a light schedule featuring the men’s and women’s 200 IM, 200 back, and 100 free.

Team Elite’s Kathleen Baker is currently the top seed in two individual events: the 200 IM (2:08.75) and the 200 back (2:06.46). According to the pre-scratch prelims timeline, Baker will have less than 30 minutes between the completion of her 200 IM heat and the start of the following 200 back heat. This morning’s 400 IM champion Melanie Margalis will swim in lane four of the 200 IM prelims heat before Baker.

After winning the 100 fly on Thursday and placing second in the 50 free earlier in the day, Gator Swim Club’s Caeleb Dressel is set to swim heat 2 lane 5 of the 200 IM (next to Ryan Lochte) and heat 5 lane 4 of the 100 free (next to Nathan Adrian). The men’s 200 IM top seed is Michael Andrew, with his lifetime best of 1:56.83.

Keep an eye on 2016 Olympic champion Anthony Ervin in heat 3 lane 1 of the 100 free heats (50.00 seed). During yesterday evening’s 50 free prelims, Ervin put up a 23.41 to place 25th overall.

Also looking to pick up another win in Mission Viejo is Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil, who is the top seed in the 100 free. Weitzeil won this morning’s 50 free final in a 24.57, which ranks No. 9 in the world for the 2020-2021 season. Another Cal Bear, Ryan Murphy, will shoot for another title in Mission, this time in the 200 back after putting up 53.11 in the 100 back to rank No. 6 in the world.

Saturday Prelims Heat Sheet

Women’s 200 Meter Individual Medley — Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record: 2:08.66, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 2015
  • Wave II Trials Cut: 2:15.26
  • Wave I Trials Cut: 2:17.39

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Madisyn Cox (Longhorn)- 2:11.33
  2. Kathleen Baker (Team Elite)- 2:11.56
  3. Melanie Margalis (Saint Petersburg)- 2:11.86
  4. Brooke Forde (Alto Swim Club)- 2:12.91
  5. Leah Smith (Unattached)- 2:13.19
  6. Meghan Small (Tennessee)- 2:13.25
  7. Katie Drabot (Alto Swim Club)- 2:14.78
  8. Robin Neumann (Unattached)- 2:15.49

Dipping under the 2:12-barrier to register the top three swims this evening in the 200 IM were Madisyn Cox (2:11.33), Kathleen Bkaer (2:11.56), and Melanie Margalis (2:11.86). Baker (2:10.30) and Cox (2:10.49) both rank as the top two Americans this season as well as No. 6 and No. 7 respectively in the 2020-2021 world rankings. Margalis set a new season best, moving up from 22nd to 17th in the world rankings yet remaining the 4th-fastest American behind Torri Huske (2:11.18).

Alto’s Brooke Forde just dipped under 2:13 with her No. 4 seed of 2:12.91, swimming a tad faster than Leah Smith (2:13.19) and Tennessee alum Meghan Small (2:13.25). Another Alto swimmer, Katie Drabot, swam 2:14.78 to place seventh in prelims while Cal senior and Dutch native Robin Neumann came in eighth this evening at 2:15.49.

Placing ninth was SwimAtlanta 16-year-old Gigi Johnson, who swam a personal best of 2:15.90 to move up to No. 51 all-time in 15-16 age group history.

Alabama’s Diana Petkova swam a lifetime best of 2:16.46 to place 12th, breaking the Bulgarian national record.

Men’s 200 Meter Individual Medley — Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:56.32, Michael Phelps (NBAC) — 2012
  • Wave II Trials Cut: 2:03.02
  • Wave I Trials Cut: 2:04.09

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Michael Andrew (Race Pace Club)- 1:58.23
  2. Caeleb Dressel (Gator Swim Club)- 2:00.13
  3. Ryan Lochte (Gator Swim Club)- 2:00.90
  4. Andrew Seliskar (Cal Aquatics)- 2:01.33
  5. Jay Litherland (Dynamo Swim Club)- 2:01.44
  6. Tom Peribonio (Gator Swim Club)- 2:01.59
  7. Sean Grieshop (Unattached)- 2:01.76
  8. Tommy Cope (Club Wolverine)- 2:02.55

Swimming the only sub-2:00 time of the event was 21-year-old Michael Andrew, stopping the clock at 1:58.23. At the San Antonio stop in March, Andrew put up his current season best of 1:58.05, which ranks 10th in the world this season. Notably, Andrew had the fastest opening 100 of the entire field, splitting 24.54/29.89/34.37/29.43 this evening.

Coming in second place was Caeleb Dressel (2:00.13), who had the fastest closing 50 free at 27.99. Also breaking 2:01 was veteran Ryan Lochte, registering an effort of 2:00.90. Lochte remains 4th in the US with his season best of 1:59.72 from the recent 2021 ISCA International meet.

Bunched up for the fifth-seventh place seeds were Jay Litherland (2:01.44), Tom Peribonio (2:01.59), and 400 IM champion Sean Grieshop (2:01.76). Sneaking in for eighth was Tommy Cope (2:02.55), who had the fastest breast split of the entire field at 33.92.

Abrahm DeVine placed ninth with his evening effort of 2:02.94. He currently ranks third in the US at 1:59.65 from PSS San Antonio.

Women’s 200 Meter Backstroke — Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record: 2:05.94, Regan Smith (RIPT) — 2020
  • Wave II Trials Cut: 2:12.94
  • Wave I Trials Cut: 2:14.69

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Rhyan White (Alabama)- 2:08.71
  2. Olivia Smoliga (Athens Bulldog)- 2:10.97
  3. Isabelle Stadden (Unattached)- 2:11.23
  4. Lisa Bratton (Aggie Swim Club)- 2:11.66
  5. Emma Karam (Reno Aquatic)- 2:12.43
  6. Hali Flickinger (Sun Devil)- 2:13.86
  7. Ayla Spitz (Unattached)- 2:14.65
  8. Sherridon Dressel (Gator Swim Club)- 2:14.92

After swimming two NCAA runner-up performances in March, Alabama junior Rhyan White translated her SCY success to the LCM pool with her top 200-meter back prelims swim of 2:08.71. White now ranks No. 7 in the world and No. 2 in the US, temporarily beating Regan Smith‘s season best of 2:08.80.

Swimming in for the second seed was Olivia Smoliga, touching in with an effort of 2:10.97, which now ranks 8th in the US this season. Isabelle Stadden, who is coming off her debut NCAA season with Cal, qualified third into the final at 2:11.23, just off her US No.4 time of 2:09.31 from PSS San Antonio. The 5th-fastest American (2:09.58), Aggie Lisa Bratton, placed fourth this evening at 2:11.66.

16-year-old Emma Karam of Reno Aquatic Club set a massive lifetime best to place 5th, dropping from 2:14.25 to 2:12.43, now ranking No. 42 all-time in 15-16 age group history. Sun Devil’s Hali Flickinger came in sixth place at 2:13.86 while Cal’s Ayla Spitz (2:14.65) and Florida’s Sherridon Dressel (2:14.92) rounded out the top 8 times.

Men’s 200 Meter Backstroke — Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:55.04, Xu Jiayu (CHN) — 2017
  • Wave II Trials Cut: 2:00.81
  • Wave I Trials Cut: 2:02.99

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Daniel Carr (Unattached)- 1:58.44
  2. Bryce Mefford (Unattached)- 2:00.23
  3. Jack Aikins (SwimAtlanta)- 2:00.77
  4. Ryan Murphy (Cal Aquatics)- 2:01.21
  5. Andy Song (Cal Aquatics)- 2:01.65
  6. Destin Lasco (Unattached)- 2:01.79
  7. Hugo Gonzalez (Cal Aquatics)- 2:01.85
  8. Chase Kalisz (Athens Bulldog)- 2:02.44

Six of the eight 200 back finalists are all Cal Bears, including those Cal swimmers are under “Unattached” to maintain their NCAA status. The lone two non-Cal qualifiers include No. 3 seed SwimAtlanta 18-year-old Jack Aikins (2:00.77) and No. 8 seed Athens Bulldog Chase Kalisz (2:02.44). Aikins’ swim this evening took down his lifetime best of 2:02.01, making him the No. 46 all-time performer in 17-18 age group history.

Nabbing the top seed was Cal’s Daniel Carr, touching in at 1:58.44, moving up to No. 3 in the US this season. Filling out the remaining Cal evening swims were Bryce Mefford (2:00.23), Ryan Murphy (2:01.21), Andy Song (2:01.65), stand-out freshman Destin Lasco, and Hugo Gonzalez (2:01.85).

Women’s 100 Meter Freestyle — Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record: 53.12, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 2016
  • Wave II Trials Cut: 55.56
  • Wave I Trials Cut: 56.29

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Abbey Weitzeil (Cal Aquatics)- 53.94
  2. Katie Ledecky (Nation’s Capital)- 54.26
  3. Natalie Hinds (Athens Bulldog)- 54.29
  4. Beryl Gastaldello (Aggie Swim Club)- 54.63
  5. Kasia Wasick (Team Rebel)- 54.66
  6. Allison Schmitt (Sun Devil)- 54.68
  7. Olivia Smoliga (Athens Bulldog)- 54.82
  8. Katie McLaughlin (Cal Aquatics)- 54.84

Breaking 54 seconds to grab the top women’s 100 free was Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil, registering the 3rd-fastest American time this season at 53.94. Simone Manuel remains the fastest American this season with her 53.34 from the November 2020 Stanford Invite while Torri Huske swam 53.46 yesterday to rank No.2 in the nation. Weitzeil also currently ranks 17th in the world, but is likely to drop time tomorrow morning and move up again in the rankings.

Distance queen Katie Ledecky (54.26) took the No. 2 seed by 0.03s over Athens Bulldog Natalie Hinds (54.29), both entering the top-25 times in the world this season. Ledecky and Hinds now rank 5th and 6th in the US respectively at the moment, bumping Catie DeLoof (54.33) to 7th.

France’s Beryl Gastaldello (54.63), who trains with Aggie Swim Club, and Poland’s Kasia Wasick (54.66), training with Team Rebel Aquatics, placed 4th and 5th in prelims while Sun Devil’s Allison Schmitt registered the No. 6 seed at 54.68. Backstroker Olivia Smoliga (54.82) and Cal’s Katie McLaughlin (54.84) rounded out the top 8 seeds.

Also breaking 55 seconds but settling for the top B-final spot was Alabama’s Kalia Antoniou of Cyprus, registering a lifetime best of 54.85. Antoniou’s evening 100 free swim and her morning 50 free finals swim (25.30) marked new Cypriot national records. Antoniou currently ranks 9th among European swimmers for the 2021 calendar year.

Men’s 100 Meter Freestyle — Prelims

  • Pro Swim Series Record: 48.00, Nathan Adrian (CAL) — 2016
  • Wave II Trials Cut: 49.74
  • Wave I Trials Cut: 50.49

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Caeleb Dressel (Gator Swim Club)- 48.82
  2. Nathan Adrian (Cal Aquatics)- 48.98
  3. Zach Apple (Mission Viejo)- 49.13
  4. Zheng Quah (Cal Aquatics)- 49.34
  5. Khader Baqlah (Gator Swim Club)- 49.38
  6. Dylan Carter (Team Elite)- 49.55
  7. Eric Friese (Unattached)/Michael Chadwick (North Carolina)/Luke Maurer (Unattached)- 49.61
  8. (tie)

Dropping a meager two one-hundredths off his season best from the 2021 ISCA International meet in Saint Petersburg was Caeleb Dressel, who is also coming off his No. 2 seed in the 200 IM. Dressel swam the top 100 free time of the evening at 48.82, which currently ranks 2nd in the US behind LSU’s Brooks Curry (48.45) and 24th in the world.

Also breaking 49 seconds to place second in prelims was Cal great Nathan Adrian, clocking in 48.98. Adrian now jumps Ryan Held (49.00) for No. 4 in the nation this season. Swimming the No. 3 seed was Mission Viejo’s Zach Apple, registering a time of 49.13. Apple is currently the 3rd-fastest American this season at 48.89 from the Indiana Speedo Sectionals meet.

Singaporean Zheng Quah placed fourth at 49.34 followed by fellow international representatives Khader Baqlah of Jordan (49.38) and Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago (49.55).

Hitting a three-way tie for seventh were German native Eric Friese, NCAC’s Michael Chadwick, and Stanford’s Luke Maurer, all clocking in at 49.61. Two of the three swimmers scratched tomorrow’s finals, according to the meet announcer, yet it is unknown who scratched and who will swim in finals.

Tomorrow’s finals session will begin at 10 am Pacific/12 pm Central/1pm Eastern.

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3 years ago

Why is Hoffer not swimming?

3 years ago

Anyone have the total count of Nathan Adrian’s # of 48s?

cynthia curran
3 years ago

Here’s something interesting not one swimmer from any Riverside team. While Tyler Clary swam for fast, he was from Riverside. Some Mission Viejo local swimmers and Nova swimmers making the B final with a few making the A final. So, has Riverside kind of died as a swimming region at least kids making National or Olympic cuts.

The Wolverine
Reply to  cynthia curran
3 years ago


3 years ago

Would love to see Natalie Hinds sub-54 before trials! Extremely curious to see what Kate Douglass can do long course btw. Go back to her 50 at NC’s— I feel they have been making her watch clips of Dressel on loop.

3 years ago

Dean Farris…… sup?

3 years ago

Can we get a MA 200 backstroke sometime soon?

Reply to  Swimnerd
3 years ago

Comedy gold

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Swimnerd
3 years ago

200 fly would be the more tasty one

Sunday Morning Grind
3 years ago

Can’t they leave the stream up for the 3-way swim off??

Reply to  Sunday Morning Grind
3 years ago

Someone scratched. No swim-off required.

3 years ago

Based on yesterday and today Fratus idea to “shave” in 2 days after receivinf approval to use this meet did not work out well

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

I think it worked out exactly as it was intended to. He will very likely qualify individually for the 50 free in Tokyo. The 100 was never a plan for him to qualify individually. Just testing to see if he would fit into the relay situation.

Reply to  wow
3 years ago

His 21,80 can Backfire.. like cielo missing Rio. If he went 21,5 21,6 would be for sure qualified.

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Spajari has a PB of 21,82 from 2018
Italo and chierighini also have 21,8
There are 3 22 low guys who may surprise
Gus Borges, Andre calvelo and less Likely Gabriel Santos

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

About 48, unless he went 48 low flat he won’t be top 4
Chiereghini has a 47,6, spajari and Gabriel 47,9, Breno 48,1

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

I think it was very smart not to go back to Brasil to qualify! Their Covid numbers are crazy bad right now

Reply to  Superfan
3 years ago

I agree he should stay, but this decision of using this meet as trials should have been sooner to avoid this rushed preparation

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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