2021 Pro Swim Series – San Antonio: Day 2 Women’s Prelims Live Recap


Following victories from Haley Anderson and Zane Grothe in Thursday night’s 800 frees, the first preliminary session from the San Antonio Pro Swim will feature only the women’s events, with the men to go off approximately 90 minutes after the female heats wrap up.

Things kick off with the 200 freestyle, where Melanie Margalis, a gold medalist on the American women’s 800 free relay at the 2016 Olympics, comes in as the top seed. Margalis, 29, will notably hit the water for the first time since leaving the ISL bubble mid-season for unknown reasons.

A few swimmers who didn’t compete in Budapest at all, including Mallory ComerfordMadisyn Cox and Regan Smith, will also contest the event.

The 200 free will be the only event of the session with more than two heats (THREE!).

Smith and Comerford are also slated to race the 100 fly, coming in as two of the top three seeds, with Olivia Bray also in the mix. Cox is seeded second in the 400 IM, trailing 19-year-old Emma Weyant. 2018 U.S. National Champion Ally McHugh will swim alongside Weyant in the second heat as the third seed.

With just 11 entrants, don’t expect reigning Olympic and World Champ Lilly King to put much effort into her morning swim in the women’s 100 breast (maybe a negative split?). Kathleen Baker will also dabble in this race.

Women’s 200 Free Prelims

  • PSS Record: 1:54.43, Katie Ledecky (USA), 2016
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:01.69
  1. Regan Smith, RIPT, 2:00.35
  2. Emma Weyant, SYS, 2:00.75
  3. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 2:00.87
  4. Bella Sims, SAND, 2:01.14
  5. Abbey Weitzeil, CAL, 2:01.18
  6. Justina Kozan, MVN, 2:01.33
  7. Melanie Margalis, 2:01.55
  8. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC / Isabel Ivey, UN-PC, 2:01.75

Regan Smith put together a strong swim from the third and final heat to claim the top seed in the women’s 200 free, clocking 2:00.35 to outpace Abbey Weitzeil (2:01.18), Justina Kozan (2:01.33) and Melanie Margalis (2:01.55), who all safely advanced fifth, sixth and seventh.

Smith, 18, holds a best time of 1:58.44 from June of 2019, and was just a half-second off her prelim time from the Knoxville PSS one year ago (1:59.85). At that meet, the reigning 200 back world champion went on to swim a time of 1:58.67 in the final.

Emma Weyant topped the first heat in 2:00.75 to qualify second, improving on her season-best 2:00.85 from the U.S. Open, and Madisyn Cox (2:00.87) prevailed out of Heat 2. Cox currently holds down 25th spot in the 2020-21 world rankings with her 1:58.97 from the U.S. Open.

Olivia Smoliga and Isabel Ivey ended up tying for eighth in 2:01.75, setting up a potential swim-off. Smoliga, more known for her sprinting prowess, was notably the fastest swimmer in the field over the last 50: 30.02.

Women’s 100 Breast Prelims

  • PSS Record: 1:05.57, Rebecca Soni (USA), 2011
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 1:10.99
  1. Lilly King, ISC, 1:08.19
  2. Micah Sumrall, GAME, 1:09.44
  3. Kathleen Baker, TE, 1:09.67
  4. Rachel Bernhardt, GAME, 1:09.89
  5. Bethany Galat, AGS, 1:09.94
  6. Jaycee Yegher, VS, 1:10.56
  7. Emma Weber, TOPS, 1:11.14
  8. Liz Roberts, GAME, 1:11.37

Lilly King did not attempt to negative split this race, as someone had suggested was a possibility.

The current world record holder in the event got out fast in 31.88, closing with a solid 36.30 for a final time of 1:08.19. That gives her the top seed for tonight’s final by over a second, where she’ll possibly take a run at the top time in the world this year — Benedetta Pilato‘s 1:06.02.

Micah Sumrall closed in 36.42 to take second in King’s heat (and overall) in 1:09.44, while backstroke specialist Kathleen Baker qualified third in 1:09.89 after a quick opening 50 of 32.31. This swim marks Baker’s fifth time sub-1:10, having gone a best of 1:07.90 at the Des Moines PSS in March.

The remaining five ‘A’ final qualifiers all came from Heat 1, led by Rachel Bernhardt (1:09.89) who edged out Bethany Galat (1:09.94).

Women’s 100 Fly Prelims

  • PSS Record: 56.38, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2016
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 1:00.69
  1. Olivia Bray, UN-ST, 59.29
  2. Regan Smith, RIPT, 59.32
  3. Beata Nelson, WA, 1:00.07
  4. Leah Gingrich, HURR, 1:00.48
  5. Emma Sticklen, TEX, 1:00.69
  6. Phoebe Bacon, NCAP, 1:01.09
  7. Isabel Ivey, UN-PC, 1:01.61
  8. Bella Sims, SAND, 1:01.72

University of Texas swimmer Olivia Bray led the 100 fly prelims in a time of 59.29, just off her season-best of 58.95 from the U.S. Open. Bray, 19, was the only swimmer in the field out under 28 seconds (27.56).

Shortly after establishing the top time in the 200 free, Regan Smith was back in the water to easily take the #2 seed here in 59.32, winning Heat 2 with a quick 31.24 back-half. Smith put up a time of 58.09 at the U.S. Open, and her PB stands at 57.34.

Those two were the only ones sub-1:00, with Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson snagging third overall in 1:00.07.

In a tight race for the ‘A’ final spots, Ivey (1:01.61) and Sims (1:01.72) narrowly out-touched Natalie Hinds (1:01.75) for seventh and eighth in Heat 1. The swim for the 15-year-old Sims is just a few tenths outside of her lifetime best (1:01.30), set last month.

Mallory Comerford, the third seed coming in, misses her second ‘A’ final of the day in 1:02.14.

Women’s 400 IM Prelims

  • PSS Record: 4:31.07, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2015
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 4:51.79
  1. Emma Weyant, SYS, 4:41.92
  2. Ally McHugh, WA, 4:42.62
  3. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 4:47.90
  4. Evie Pfeifer, TEX, 4:48.34
  5. Justina Kozan, MVN, 4:50.97
  6. Haley Anderson, MVN, 4:52.27
  7. Emma Barksdale, GAME, 4:53.59
  8. Katie Grimes, SAND, 4:53.65

Emma Weyant and Ally McHugh set a quick pace in Heat 2 of the women’s 400 IM, with Weyant holding her half-second lead at the 300 on the freestyle for a final time of 4:41.92, just over a second slower than her swim from November’s U.S. Open (4:40.84).

McHugh, the 2018 national champion, was seven-tenths back in 4:42.62, going under her season-best of 4:43.00 from the U.S. Open to qualify second overall.

Weyant’s 4:40.84 currently ranks her fourth in the world for 2020-21, while McHugh’s swim moves her up one spot to 11th this season.

In Heat 1, Madisyn Cox cruised to the win in 4:47.90, holding off fellow Texas swimmer Evie Pfeifer, as they qualify third and fourth for the final.

Women’s 200 Free Swim-off

  1. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC, 2:01.47
  2. Isabel Ivey, UN-PC, 2:02.46

After tying for eighth in the prelims, both clocking 2:01.75, Olivia Smoliga and Isabel Ivey duked it out in a swim-off for the eighth spot in the tonight’s 200 free ‘A’ final.

Smoliga, who took things out relatively easy in the heats, used her patented sprint speed to her advantage. The 26-year-old improved on her morning swim in 2:01.47, notably flipping almost three seconds faster at the 100m mark (57.69 to 1:00.41).

At the Des Moines PSS in March, Smoliga went 2:00.21 in the heats before going 1:59.61 in the final — just off her 2019 PB of 1:59.02.

Ivey was in the race the whole way, but was slightly out-split by Smoliga on all four 50s to settle for second in 2:02.46. The Cal swimmer’s prelim time improved on her fastest of the season, a 2:02.01 from the Stanford Invite in November.

Men’s prelims will begin at approximately 11:38 AM Central time.

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Fiend Farris
1 year ago

Okay so when is THE Dean Farris swimming. I need an exact time.

Reply to  Fiend Farris
1 year ago

He had a gorilla on his back the last 50m.

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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