2021 Pro Swim Series – San Antonio: Day 3 Finals Live Recap


The penultimate night of finals from San Antonio will be an exciting one with five events on the docket, headlined by a pair of 100 backstroke clashes that could very well feature all four American representants at this summer’s Olympic Games.

In the women’s event, Olivia Smoliga enters as the top seed after going 1:00.03 this morning, followed closely by current and former world record-holders Regan Smith and Kathleen Baker.

In the men’s race, it’s the reigning Olympic gold medalist and WR holder Ryan Murphy taking on the upstart Shaine Casas. In the heats, it was Casas snagging the top seed in 54.38.

We’ve also got Kieran Smith versus Zane Grothe in the men’s 400 free which should be close, and Lilly King looking to put a stamp on the women’s 200 breast world rankings in that event.

It’s also worth noting that Grothe scratched out of the 200 fly final, bumping Tom Shields up into Lane 8.

Women’s 200 Fly Finals

  • PSS Record: 2:06.11, Hali Flickinger (USA), 2020
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:14.59
  1. Regan Smith, RIPT, 2:10.10
  2. Leah Gingrich, HURR, 2:10.64
  3. Katie Crom, MVN, 2:10.85

Regan Smith leaned on her front-end speed in the women’s 200 fly final, getting out about a second faster than the prelims at the 100 mark in 1:02.32. The 18-year-old held off Leah Gingrich, who made a hard charge on the last length, to win in 2:10.10, almost two seconds quicker than the morning.

Smith currently sits eighth in the world for 2020-21, having been 2:08.61 at the U.S. Open site in Des Moines.

The Riptide swimmer mentioned post-race that she’ll have some applesauce to prepare for the 100 back final a little bit later on.

Gingrich, 30, was the only swimmer to come home sub-34 in 33.61, clocking 2:10.64 for the fifth-fastest swim of her career (and second-fastest since 2009).

Katie Crom was in the fight the whole way as well, finishing in 2:10.85 to improve on her season-best of 2:12.94 and close in on her lifetime best of 2:10.31.

Shoutout to 15-year-old Michaela Mattes, who dropped nearly six seconds from the prelims out of the ‘B’ final swimming on her own. Mattes, a member of the Sarasota Sharks, clocked 2:17.81, demolishing her previous personal best of 2:21.11 set in February.

Men’s 200 Fly Finals

  • PSS Record: 1:53.84, Gianluca Urlando (USA), 2019
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:01.19
  1. Carson Foster, TEX, 1:58.60
  2. Miles Smachlo, CW, 1:59.10
  3. Zach Harting, CARD, 1:59.16

Club Wolverine’s Miles Smachlo took charge of the men’s 200 fly from the gun, leading for about 190 meters. Carson Foster, the top seed from prelims, stalked Smachlo done the last 50 and overtook him over the final few meters, claiming the win in 1:58.60.

The Texas freshman’s swim stacks up as his second-fastest ever, trailing only his 1:58.47 from the summer of 2017, and also makes him the third-fastest American this season.

Smachlo, who was 1:58.51 in November, held on for second in 1:59.10, with Zach Harting right on his heels to round out the podium in 1:59.16.

Dynamo’s Jay Litherland (2:00.17) and Gunnar Bentz (2:00.58) were both slightly slower than the heats for fourth and fifth, while Tom Shields, who only got into the heat after Zane Grothe scratched, chopped more than three seconds off from the morning for sixth in 2:01.24.

Women’s 50 Free Finals

  • PSS Record: 24.17, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2016
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 25.99
  1. Abbey Weitzeil, CAL, 24.97
  2. Margo Geer, MVN, 25.46
  3. Casey Fanz, CARD, / Olivia Smoliga, ABSC, 25.58

Abbey Weitzeil becomes the third American woman under 25 seconds this season, clocking 24.97 to sit second in the country behind only Gretchen Walsh (24.65).

Weitzeil’s last long course 50 prior to this morning came in December of 2019, where she went 24.70 at a time trial in Minnesota.

Margo Geer improved on her prelim swim by just over a tenth to claim second in 25.46, while Casey Fanz and Olivia Smoliga tied for third in 25.58.

All four members of the podium improved on season-bests set in prelims (Fanz was the only one who had raced prior to this morning).

Men’s 50 Free Finals

  • PSS Record: 21.51, Caeleb Dressel (USA), 2020
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 23.19
  1. Zach Apple, MVN, 22.69
  2. Ryan Held, NYAC, 22.76
  3. Dean Farris, VS, 23.00

Similar to one of the heats this morning, there was some confusion at the end of the men’s 50 free with incorrect readings on the clock, but when all was straightened out, Zach Apple edged out Ryan Held for the win in 22.69.

Apple, who swam his first long course 50 of the season this morning in 22.78, is notably faster than he was at this time last year at the Knoxville Pro Swim (22.75).

Held, the third-fastest American this season at 22.35, was the most explosive in the field over the first 25, but was run down by Apple over the closing meters.

Dean Farris, who was 22.88 in November, snagged third in 23.00 over Tate Jackson (23.13).

Women’s 200 Breast Finals

  • PSS Record: 2:20.77, Annie Lazor (USA), 2019
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:33.29
  1. Lilly King, ISC, 2:25.83
  2. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 2:26.52
  3. Bethany Galat, AGS, 2:30.54

As we’ve seen time and time again, Lilly King simply refused to lose as she was pressured by Madisyn Cox down the final 50 of the women’s 200 breast, booking the win in a time of 2:25.83.

Notably, King turned slightly slower than the prelims at the 100, making all of her two-second drop up on the back-half.

The time makes the Indiana swimmer the second-fastest American this season, trailing only Emily Escobedo who dropped a 2:23.46 over in Richmond.

Cox, who ranked as the top American in 2020-21 coming into the meet, took second in 2:26.52, improving on her 2:27.55 from the heats.

Bethany Galat pulled away from Micah Sumrall on the third 50 to solidify third in 2:30.54, almost eight-tenths better than the prelims.

Men’s 200 Breast Finals

  • PSS Record: 2:08.95, Andrew Wilson (USA), 2018
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:17.89
  1. Nic Fink, ABSC, 2:11.28
  2. Will Licon, TXLA, 2:11.30
  3. Cody Miller, SAND, 2:13.12

Not unlike the race we saw between Foster and Smachlo in the 200 fly, Nic Fink came on like a freight train down the stretch to sneak by Will Licon for the men’s 200 breast win in 2:11.28, with Licon just .02 back. Fink’s final 50: 33.20.

Fink, who said post-race he had to “dig very deep” to get his hand on the wall first, moves up into fourth among Americans this season in long course after setting the American Record in the SCM event during the ISL season.

Licon, who holds the national record in the yards version of the event, had extremely consistent splist throughout the race, hitting 33.78/33.77/33.80 over the last 150.

Top seed from prelims Cody Miller bettered his morning swim by seven-tenths for third in 2:13.12, breaking away from Kevin Cordes (2:14.34) on the final 50.

Women’s 100 Back Finals

  • PSS Record: 58.18, Regan Smith (USA), 2020
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 1:02.69
  1. Regan Smith, RIPT, 59.75
  2. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC, 59.94
  3. Kathleen Baker, TE, 59.97

In what will likely be a preview of this year’s Olympic Trials, Regan SmithOlivia Smoliga and Kathleen Baker battled stroke-for-stroke down the final few meters of the women’s 100 back, with Smith claiming the win in 59.75.

Coming off her 200 fly victory about an hour earlier, Smith held nothing back opening up, splitting 28.44 at the 50 before holding off the two Olympians down the stretch. The 18-year-old improves on her season-best of 59.95 from the U.S. Open, and moves her past Baker for eighth in the world.

Smoliga was the only swimmer in the field to break 31 coming home, nipping Baker at the wall by .03 in 59.94 to inch by her prelim time of 1:00.03.

Baker, who hit a 59.82 at the U.S. Open, snaps the minute-mark again in 59.97, which is slightly quicker than she was in February 2020 competing in France (1:00.03).

18-year-old Isabelle Stadden also had a nice drop from the prelims, getting down to 1:00.32 for fourth, right on track with her fastest time from 2019-20 (1:00.24).

Men’s 100 Back Finals

  • PSS Record: 52.40, David Plummer (USA), 2016
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 56.59
  1. Ryan Murphy, CAL, 53.55
  2. Shaine Casas, TAMU, 54.32
  3. Will Grant, VS, 55.09

Ryan Murphy really amped up his stroke rate coming off the turn, charging by Shaine Casas on the second 50 in 27.59 to win the men’s 100 back in 53.55, launching him to eighth in the world this season (and second among Americans following Justin Ress‘ 53.37 in Richmond).

Post-race, Murphy said: “I’m the most bought into my training plan as long as I’ve been at Cal,” which is a scary proposition for the rest of the world.

To try and contextualize Murphy’s time, he went 53.46 in January of 2016 prior to winning gold and setting the world record in Rio.

Casas, who held the slight lead at the 50 in 25.75, took a few one-hundredths off his morning swim for a new season-best in 54.32, good for third-fastest American this season.

Women’s 400 Free Finals

  • PSS Record: 3:57.94, Katie Ledecky (USA), 2018
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 4:16.89
  1. Haley Anderson, MVN, 4:11.13
  2. Emma Weyant, SYS, 4:11.81
  3. Bella Sims, SAND, 4:13.09

Haley Anderson‘s distance background came through for her on the back-half of the women’s 400 free, taking over the lead from Emma Weyant to earn the win in 4:11.13. Weyant made up some ground on the last 50, however, splitting 30.96 for a final time of 4:11.81.

The time for Anderson, who has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the 10km open water event, is her fastest since August of 2019, and also ranks her fourth among Americans this season.

Weyant came into the day as the fastest American in 2020-21 at 4:10.38, but was overtaken by Ashley Twichell, who threw down a 4:09.78 in Richmond.

15-year-old Bella Sims continues to impress here in San Antonio, producing the second-fastest 400 of her career in 4:13.09 for third place. Sims’ best time came in December of 2019 in 4:11.62.

Men’s 400 Free Finals

  • PSS Record: 3:43.55, Sun Yang (CHN), 2016
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 3:57.29
  1. Kieran Smith, UN-FL, 3:49.37
  2. Zane Grothe, BCH, 3:53.07
  3. David Johnston, TEX, 3:55.06

Kieran Smith put on a dominant display in the final of the men’s 400 free, leading from the get-go to finish in a time of 3:49.37, six-tenths off his season-best of 3:48.78 from the U.S. Open. That time ranks him first among Americans and 12th overall in the world this season.

On the fact that there’s a little more pressure on him since breaking the 500 free American Record in February, Smith said he’s ready for it heading into Trials.

“I like a little bit of pressure,” he said in his post-race interview. “Pressure makes diamonds.”

Zane Grothe, who edged out Smith in the 800 free on Thursday, took second in 3:53.07 to establish himself as the fifth-fastest in the country, while Texas freshman David Johnston hit a new lifetime best for third in 3:55.06. Johnston had previously been 3:56.20 in February.

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2 years ago

With Kieran making quips like that and displaying some actual character, swimming might just become a little more interesting to the outside eye.

Corn Pop

Nope . Not with a 3.49 . He will have to do Keller ( who at least went 3.47 ).

Reply to  Corn Pop
2 years ago

You do know that tapering exists right

Corn Pop
Reply to  Bub
2 years ago

None can say that men’s mid – dstance freestyle has not had stars with character in the last 40 years. Every Olympic champ has been.quite something .

It’s just that few have been Americans so you we’re not interested.

Last edited 2 years ago by Corn Pop
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Bub
2 years ago

Q has apparently not dropped any info about tapers.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Q said he needs 10 secs off .

Reply to  Bub
2 years ago

tbh 3:49 in season is not very impressive at world level either.

2 years ago

Where can I find the race videos

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Swammer
2 years ago

USAS will likely have them posted tomorrow sometime

Captain Ahab
2 years ago

That was a hell of a swim by Ryan Murphy and Shaine Casas. By this time next year Shaine Casas will be around .51 100 meter backstroke.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

Casas will be right with Murphy at trials and it will take under 52.4 to make the team

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

Presume the downvote crush was over the inadvertent decimal point, not the intended meaning, because that Casas dude is going to be smoking.

2 years ago

Nice interview by Ryan. His turn, on the other hand…. that is not the way you treat people. Mean, mean, mean…

Reply to  PsychoDad
2 years ago

And yet Eric Ress beat him!

Reply to  Ghost
2 years ago

Justin Ress went 53.37

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

Eric’s the one who exhales carbon monoxide.

Reply to  PsychoDad
2 years ago

What happened?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  PVSFree
2 years ago

Casas out in the lead by half to quarter body-length (his stroke is unreal), goes a little long into the turn and didn’t accelerate into it, when the two come up 15 meters later, Murphy’s in the lead and accelerating. It was like Phelps on the 4 X 100 free relay in Rio.

2 years ago

Is there prize money this year? Is it from combined results or each meet separately?

Reply to  Ghost
2 years ago

No prize money this meet.

Captain Ahab
2 years ago

I would not let my athletes wear a mask right after they race because your breathing in all the carbon monoxide that your exhaling causing your muscles to get tired.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

I just read this comment as I’m watching Lily King do her post-race interview without a mask lol

Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

It’s carbon dioxide

Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

Putting a mask on after a race has no negative effects. Masks do not lower oxygen intake or increase carbon dioxide intake.

Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

Just looking at the how all the swimmers have been sucking in air based on how rapidly their masks go in and out, I wouldn’t say there are no “negative effects”. But it’s definitely needed to be done in order to run a safe event.

Reply to  Bobthebuilderrocks
2 years ago

The mask moves because they’re breathing heavily — doesn’t mean the mask is hurting breathing. I’ve been to meets and done this, the mask after a swim can feel like a nuisance but that’s the extent of it.

Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

Glad we agree!

Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

So should they wear one when exercising anytime? Wouldn’t the argument for masks immediately after a swimming race be similar? Yet…the WHO explicitly states not to do that?

Irish Ringer
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
2 years ago

Looks like as long as they are 6ft away when doing that interview they should be OK to have it off? For swimmers post race I guess they would also have to make sure they don’t get the mask wet according to the guidance.


Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

If you’re exhaling carbon monoxide you need to go see a doctor.

Reply to  Pvdh
2 years ago

Or stop smoking

Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

wow, really impressive how none of that was correct

Pacific Whirl
2 years ago

Any free links to Olympic Channel? I appreciate that.

Reply to  Pacific Whirl
2 years ago

What’s wrong with the USA Swimming stream?

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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