2021 Pro Swim Series, San Antonio – Day 1 Live Recap


Day 1 of racing gets underway tonight at the second stop of the 2021 Pro Swim Series in San Antonio, Texas. While the meet will run Wednesday – Saturday, tonight we will see the women’s and men’s 1500 freestyles. Among those racing tonight will be two-time Olympian and women’s 1500 freestyle world record holder Katie Ledecky. Her most recent long course 1500 came almost a year ago today on March 4, 2020, when she swam a 15:29.51 in Des Moines.

Tonight’s session will be streamed on USA Swimming which can be accessed here.

Women’s 1500 Freestyle – Timed Final

Heat 1:

  1. Katie Ledecky – 15:42.92
  2.  Ashley Twitchell – 16:04.29
  3.  Erica Sullivan – 16:07.66
  4.  Haley Anderson – 16:11.73
  5.  Leah Smith – 16:11.80
  6.  Ally McHugh – 16:20.27
  7.  Katie Grimes – 16:20.35
  8.  Bella Sims – 16:21.22

World record holder Katie Ledecky established an early lead in the first heat and held on the whole way through. Ledecky touched in a 15:42.92, ahead of second-place finisher in the heat Ashley Twitchell (16:04.29) and third-place Erica Sullivan (16:07.66). Ledecky’s world record currently sits at a 15:20.48 which she hit back in 2018 and this is Ledecky’s 13th fastest time according to swimrankings.com.

Ashely Twitchell hit a 16:04.29 to claim second place which was just 10 seconds off her PB of 15:54.19 from 2019. Twitchell’s swim was a season-best, improving upon her 16:18.11 from Greensboro in November 2020.

Erica Sullivan was just 3 seconds behind Twitchell, touching in a 16:07.66 to trail her best time of 15:55.25 by just over 7 seconds. Sullivan was a bit quicker last earlier in the year when she hit a 16:01.71 in Knoxville in January 2021.

Haley Anderson and Leah Smith battled it out for fourth place with Anderson getting the upper hand by 0.07 seconds, touching in 16:11.73 to Smith’s 16:11.80. That was slower than both of their bests as Anderson has been a 16:04.26 and Smith a 16:00.82.

Ally McHugh and Katie Grimes also had a battle, touching just 0.08 seconds apart for 6th and 7th, respectively. Bella Sims rounded out the first heat a 16:21.22.

Heat 2:

  1. Paige Kuwata – 16:28.18
  2. Abby Dunford – 16:39.77
  3. Caroline Pennington – 16:47.08
  4. Sophia Karras – 16:53.07
  5. Rachel Stege – 17:00.56
  6. Ayumi Macias Alba – 17:15.31

Paige Kuwata from Sandpipers of Nevada raced to a heat 2 victory and 9th place overall finish in the 1500 with a 16:28.18 to knock a decent amount of time off her previous best time of 16:46.63. Kuwata is currently a junior in high school and has committed to swim at the University of Louisville beginning in the fall of 2022.

Kuwata’s teammate Abby Dunford touched 11 seconds later, hitting a 16:39.77 for 10th place overall. Dunford narrowly missed notching a new PB, swimming just 0.23 seconds over her fastest-ever swim of 16:39.54 which she swam in November 2020.

Caroline Pennington picked up 11th overall and third in heat 2 for the TAC Titans with a 16:47.08, missing her PB in the event of 16:33.21. Pennington will graduate high school this year and has committed to swim at the University of Virginia beginning next fall.

Sophia Karras (16:53.07), Rachel Stege (17:00.56), and Ayumi Macias (17:15.31) were 4th, 5th, and 6th in the heat giving them 12th-14th overall in the event.

Men’s 1500 Freestyle – Timed Final

  • World Record: Sun Yang – 14:31.02 (2012)
  • American Record: Connor Jaeger – 14:39.48 (2016)
  • U.S Open Record: Peter Vanderkay – 14:45.54 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Franko Grgic – 14:46.09 (2019)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Jordan Wilimovsky – 14:53.12 (2016)

Final Results:

  1. Jordan Wilimovsky – 15:15.28
  2. Will Gallant – 15:20.39
  3. Marwan El-Kamash – 15:27.06
  4. Chris Wieser – 15:31.86
  5. David Heron – 15:51.36
  6. Christian Bayo – 15:54.13

Top seed going into the event, Jordan Wilimovsky won gold in the 1500 freestyle with a 15:15.28, trailing his best time in the event by 14:45.03 which he swam at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Wilimovsky has been under 15:00 in the event 9 times with his most recent being at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, where we swam a 14:59.94. Wilimovsky’s most recent long course 1500 was last year in Des Moines when he swam a 15:12.49.

Will Gallant swam a near-best time in the event, hitting a 15:20.39 to his PB of 15:18.39 from November 2020 in Greensboro. Gallant raced collegiately for the Indiana Hoosiers last year but has redshirted this year in order to train with Mission Viejo Nadadores in California.

Behind Gallant was Egyptian Olympian Marwan El-Kamash who touched with a 15:27.06 for the bronze medal. El-Kamash was just quicker than the 15:32.43 that he swam at the 2019 African Games.

Just missing the podium, Chris Wieser came in at a 15:31.86 for fourth which trailed his person best of 15:09.70 from 2016. David Heron and Christian Bayo were 5th with a 15:51.36 and 6th with a 15:54.13, respectively.

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1 month ago

Katie didn’t win the 1500 gold in 2019. She scratched the event.

Reply to  Tomek
1 month ago
1 month ago

Forgetting that Ledecky didn’t even swim the final at Gwangju is really bad. It was one of the biggest stories of the championships.