2021 Pro Swim Series – San Antonio: Day 3 Men’s Prelims Live Recap


The men’s program on Saturday in San Antonio will be highlighted by the 100 backstroke, where Shaine Casas will face off with world record holder and defending Olympic champion Ryan Murphy.

Murphy is coming off a standout ISL season, while Casas is in the midst of an incredible NCAA campaign, and turned heads by going sub-52 twice in the 100 fly on Friday, winning decisively.

We’ll also see if any of the sprinters in the men’s 50 free have a response for David Curtiss21.87 this morning in Richmond, and the 400 free should be a fun rematch between Zane Grothe and Kieran Smith, who went 1-2 in the 800 on Thursday and then 1-3 in the 200 last night. 200 free runner-up Townley Haas will also be in the mix.

Both the 200 fly and 200 breast appear to be pretty wide open coming into the day with plenty of big names, including Chase Kalisz and Nic Fink who already have wins under their belt here in San Antonio. Update: Kalisz no-showed his 200 fly heat.

Men’s 200 Fly Prelims

  • PSS Record: 1:53.84, Gianluca Urlando (USA), 2019
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:01.19
  1. Carson Foster, TEX, 1:59.55
  2. Miles Smachlo, CW, 1:59.83
  3. Jay Litherland, DYNA, 2:00.08
  4. Gunnar Bentz, DYNA, 2:00.13
  5. Zach Harting, CARD, 2:00.94
  6. Zane Grothe, BCH, 2:01.48
  7. Andrew Seliskar, CAL, 2:03.24
  8. Alex Dillmann, FMC, 2:04.15

Carson Foster paced the men’s 200 fly prelims in a time of 1:59.55, finishing three-tenths outside of his season-best (1:59.26) set at the U.S. Open. That time ranks the 19-year-old sixth among U.S. swimmers in 2020-21.

Club Wolverine’s Miles Smachlo was the only other man to get under 2:00, holding off Dynamo’s Jay Litherland and Gunnar Bentz down the stretch in Heat 1 for a time of 1:59.83. Smachlo currently ranks third in the country with his 1:58.51 from the Indianapolis site of the U.S. Open.

Zane Grothe notably finished just .05 off his personal best in 2:01.48, including a quick 30.75 final 50, to qualify sixth overall.

Two highly ranked swimmers entering the event, Chase Kalisz and Tom Shields, won’t compete in tonight’s ‘A’ final barring a scratch, as Kalisz was a no-show and Shields placed ninth in 2:04.28. Kalisz is scheduled to swim the 200 breast later on.

Men’s 50 Free Prelims

  • PSS Record: 21.51, Caeleb Dressel (USA), 2020
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 23.19
  1. Zach Apple, MVN, 22.78
  2. Ryan Held, NYAC, 22.92
  3. Nathan Lile, GAME, 23.04
  4. Dean Farris, VS, / Daniel Krueger, TEX, 23.06
  5. Tate Jackson, TEX, 23.28
  6. Danny Kovac, UN-MOV, 23.32
  7. Maxime Rooney, PLS, 23.41

Zach Apple claimed the top seed in the men’s 50 free by winning the third and final heat in 22.78, slotting him into eighth among Americans this season.

After a brief moment of confusion at the end of Heat 2, when the clock read 21.85 for Maxime Rooney, Ryan Held prevailed with the other sub-23 swim of the afternoon in 22.92. Held is the third-fastest U.S. swimmer in 2020-21 after going 22.35 at the U.S. Open.

Rooney’s time was corrected to 23.41, which still gets him into the final in eighth.

Nathan Lile, who ripped a 22.67 at the Greensboro site of the U.S. Open, qualified third in 23.04, while Dean Farris and Daniel Krueger tied for the Heat 1 win in 23.06 to share fourth.

Men’s 200 Breast Prelims

  • PSS Record: 2:08.95, Andrew Wilson (USA), 2018
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:17.89
  1. Cody Miller, SAND, 2:13.81
  2. Will Licon, TXLA, 2:13.91
  3. Kevin Cordes, ABSC, 2:13.94
  4. Nic Fink, ABSC, 2:14.41
  5. Chase Kalisz, ABSC, 2:15.17
  6. Andrew Wilson, ABSC, 2:16.56
  7. Jake Foster, TEX, 2:16.92
  8. Tommy Cope, CW, 2:17.82

It was a tale of two races in the men’s 200 breast, with Cody Miller dominating Heat 1 for the top seed and four guys battling to the finish in Heat 2.

The 29-year-old Miller was strong over the first 150, cruising into the finish in 2:13.81 for the fastest time of the afternoon. Andrew Wilson was a distant second in the heat in 2:16.56, which qualifies him in sixth. Wilson and Miller currently rank second and third among Americans this season with respective swims of 2:09.83 and 2:10.22 at the U.S. Open.

In Heat 2, Kevin Cordes held the slight lead most of the way before being out-touched by Will Licon at the wall, as the two former NCAA champions takes the second and third seeds for finals in 2:13.91 and 2:13.94. Nic Fink (2:14.41) and Chase Kalisz (2:15.17) weren’t far behind, producing the two fastest final 50s in the field (34.00 for Fink, 34.33 for Kalisz).

Men’s 100 Back Prelims

  • PSS Record: 52.40, David Plummer (USA), 2016
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 56.59
  1. Shaine Casas, TAMU, 54.38
  2. Ryan Murphy, CAL, 54.88
  3. Will Grant, VS, 55.22
  4. Dean Farris, VS, 56.43
  5. Austin Katz, TEX, 56.46
  6. Bryce Bohman, PW, 56.48
  7. Sam Stewart, UN-MS, 57.07
  8. Jack Dahlgren, UN-MV, 57.47

Both Shaine Casas and Ryan Murphy looked fully in control in winning their respective heats in the men’s 100 backstroke, setting up an exciting head-to-head matchup tonight.

Casas blasted out in 26.04 in Heat 1 (had it not been for a long turn he would’ve been in the 25s), before finishing in 54.38 for the top time. That ranks the Texas A&M junior second among Americans in 2020-21, trailing only Justin Ress (54.32).

The 21-year-old Casas last raced the long course 100 back in late 2019, going 54.43 in October and then 53.14 in November at a pair of NCAA meets.

Will Grant went out fast in Heat 2, leading Murphy by over half a second in 26.18, but the world record holder made his way to the front over the second 50 and finished in 54.88. Grant, who went 54.69 in November, claimed the third seed in 55.22.

Men’s 400 Free Prelims

  • PSS Record: 3:43.55, Sun Yang (CHN), 2016
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 3:57.29
  1. Kieran Smith, UN-FL, 3:55.76
  2. David Johnston, TEX, 3:56.28
  3. Zane Grothe, BCH, 3:57.37
  4. Mitch D’Arrigo, GSC, 3:57.66
  5. Will Gallant, MVN, 3:58.23
  6. Liam Custer, SYS, 4:01.18
  7. Drew Kibler, TEX, 4:02.87
  8. Townley Haas, NOVA, 4:03.18

Reminiscent of his preliminary swim in the 200 free, Kieran Smith roared off the final turn in Heat 1 of the men’s 400 free to overtake David Johnston, doing just enough down the final length to touch first in 3:55.76 for the top seed. Smith is the fastest American this year with his 3:48.78 from the U.S. Open site in Sarasota.

Johnston, currently a freshman at Texas, finished less than a tenth off his personal best in 3:56.28 to qualify second overall.

Zane Grothe eased his way through the second heat, edging Mitch D’Arrigo at the finish as they qualified third and fourth overall in 3:57.37 and 3:57.66, respectively.

Qualifying eighth was Townley Haas, who has the capability to make things interesting tonight from the outside lane.

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3 years ago

…vs Grevers

3 years ago

King Dean Farris in 2 A-Finals

3 years ago

This has to be the most tired I have ever seen the Cal post grad guys look at a pro series meet.

Reply to  Riccardo
3 years ago

They are training at sea level in CA instead of being in Colorado this year…

Country Roads
Reply to  Lokiz
3 years ago

Doesn’t mean they aren’t training hard??

Reply to  Riccardo
3 years ago

Speaking of Cal pros, where is Prenot?

3 years ago

Cody Miller is not 27. He turned 29 this month. Happy late birthday Cody!

Coach Mike 1952
3 years ago

Some good swimming today already. Further, at least the announcer is starting to get names right today – Andrew Seliskar in particular. He started to mispronounce Will Licon, then stopped & got it right. Perhaps someone corrected him just like they did about Olivia Smoliga right after the W 100 back, when he happily apologized & corrected after that. There is hope!

Last edited 3 years ago by Coach Mike 1952

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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