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

2021 PRO SWIM SERIES – SAN ANTONIO

Saturday’s preliminary sessions from San Antonio will be the busiest of the meet with five different events on the slate: 200 fly, 50 free, 200 breast, 100 back and 400 free.

There was already a lot of intrigue coming into the meet in the women’s 100 back with such a loaded field, but the expectation has only heightened after several of them had strong swims on Friday.

Regan Smith had a big win in the 100 fly and was second in the 200 free, Olivia Smoliga snagged a surprise third in the 200 free, and Kathleen Baker had the second-fastest 100 breast of her career to finish as the runner-up to Lilly King.

Smoliga will also race the 50 free, alongside Abbey Weitzeil, while Smith comes into the 200 fly as the top seed by over three seconds.

In the 200 breast, King leads a strong field that includes Melanie MargalisMadisyn CoxBethany Galat and Micah Sumrall.

The 400 free is headlined by the top three in Thursday’s 800: Haley AndersonErica Sullivan and Bella Sims.

You can find the heat sheet for both this morning’s women’s and men’s sessions here.

Women’s 200 Fly Prelims

  • PSS Record: 2:06.11, Hali Flickinger (USA), 2020
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:14.59
  1. Regan Smith, RIPT, 2:12.06
  2. Leah Gingrich, HURR, 2:12.10
  3. Katie Crom, MVN, 2:14.21
  4. Emma Sticklen, TEX, 2:15.49
  5. Haley Anderson, MVN, 2:15.92
  6. Ally McHugh, WA, 2:17.07
  7. Justina Kozan, MVN, 2:17.94
  8. Natalie Mannion, SYS, 2:19.58

Regan Smith got out to a great start, but it was 30-year-old Leah Gingrich who really charged towards the end of Heat 2 in the women’s 200 fly, giving the 18-year-old a run for her money as they battled for the top seed.

At the touch it was Smith getting her hands on the wall first in 2:12.06, with Gingrich just behind in 2:12.10.

Smith currently ranks eighth in the world (and first among Americans) in the event this season with her 2:08.61 from Des Moines. Gingrich owns a best of 2:09.84 from July of 2019, while her fastest swim since the beginning of 2020 stands at 2:10.69.

University of Texas freshman Emma Sticklen took Heat 1 out by storm, leading through the 150, before Mission Viejo’s Katie Crom charged down the last 50 in 33.49 to win the heat in 2:14.21. Crom, who owns a best of 2:10.31, is the now the eighth-fastest American this season with her 2:12.94 from the Irvine site of the U.S. Open (having been passed by Gingrich this morning).

The 18-year-old Sticklen held off Haley Anderson to take second in the heat in 2:15.49, earning her fourth for tonight’s final.

Women’s 50 Free Prelims

  • PSS Record: 24.17, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2016
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 25.99
  1. Abbey Weitzeil, CAL, 25.12
  2. Margo Geer, MVN, 25.58
  3. Casey Fanz, CARD, 25.74
  4. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC, 25.79
  5. Natalie Hinds, ABSC, 25.88
  6. Mallory Comerford, CARD, 26.10
  7. Marina Spadoni,  UN-FL, 26.24
  8. Bella Sims, SAND, 26.33

Abbey Weitzeil and Margo Geer made it look easy as they cruised to heat victories in the women’s 50 freestyle, qualifying first and second for tonight’s final in times of 25.12 and 25.58, respectively.

With Catie Deloof clocking 25.10 over in Richmond this morning, Weitzeil’s swim ranks her fourth among Americans in the 2020-21 season.

Cardinal Aquatics’ Casey Fanz knocked .02 off her season-best to qualify third in 25.74, while Cali Condor teammates from the ISL Olivia Smoliga and Natalie Hinds also slid under 26 seconds.

15-year-old Bella Sims established a new personal best in 26.33, dropping her 26.55 from August of 2019, to qualify eighth overall.

Women’s 200 Breast Prelims

  • PSS Record: 2:20.77, Annie Lazor (USA), 2019
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:33.29
  1. Lilly King, ISC, 2:27.87
  2. Madisyn Cox, TXLA, 2:28.93
  3. Bethany Galat, AGS, 2:31.32
  4. Micah Sumrall, GAME, 2:32.16
  5. Rachel Bernhardt, GAME, 2:34.32
  6. Gracie Weyant, SYS, 2:35.26
  7. Jaycee Yegher, VS, 2:36.65
  8. Ally McHugh, WA, 2:36.68

Lilly King charged to the front right off the hop in Heat 2 of the women’s 200 breast and essentially held Madisyn Cox at bay the rest of the way, as they qualified well ahead of the rest of the field.

King finished in a time of 2:27.87, making her the second-fastest American this season behind Cox, who was 2:27.55 at the U.S. Open in November. While this is King’s first long course 200 of the season, her time is an improvement on the 2:28.98 she produced in the prelims at the Des Moines PSS last March (where she went on to go 2:22.95 in the final).

Cox, who won the 200 free last night, was a clear second in 2:28.93, while Bethany Galat topped Heat 1 in 2:31.32 for third overall.

Melanie Margalis was a notable no-show in the event, with the 100 back also on her schedule this session.

Women’s 100 Back Prelims

  • PSS Record: 58.18, Regan Smith (USA), 2020
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 1:02.69
  1. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC, 1:00.03
  2. Kathleen Baker, TE, 1:00.18
  3. Regan Smith, RIPT, 1:00.35
  4. Olivia Stadden, UN-PC,  1:01.20
  5. Lisa Bratton, AGS, 1:01.92
  6. Phoebe Bacon, NCAP, 1:02.45
  7. Beata Nelson, WA, 1:02.46
  8. Isabel Ivey, UN-PC, 1:02.72

In what has to be considered the most loaded event at the meet, Olivia Smoliga leads the women’s 100 back prelims in 1:00.03, using a quick 30.46 back-half to move past former world record holder Kathleen Baker (1:00.18) in Heat 1.

Regan Smith, the current world record holder at 57.57, was the fastest swimmer on the opening 50 this morning (28.95), and came in to easily claim Heat 2 in 1:00.35 for the third seed tonight.

Baker (59.82) and Smith (59.95) are the only two Americans to have broken 1:00 this season, while Phoebe Bacon, who advanced in sixth (1:02.45), has been close at 1:00.18. All three did those swims at the U.S. Open.

Women’s 400 Free Prelims

  • PSS Record: 3:57.94, Katie Ledecky (USA), 2018
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 4:16.89
  1. Emma Weyant, SYS, 4:13.80
  2. Bella Sims, SAND, 4:15.18
  3. Haley Anderson, MVN, 4:18.35
  4. Evie Pfeifer, TEX, 4:18.53
  5. Olivia McMurray, SWIM, 4:18.60
  6. Erica Sullivan, SAND, 4:20.08
  7. Katie Crom, MVN, 4:20.42
  8. Katie Grimes, SAND, 4:20.93

Emma Weyant, the fastest American in this event so far in 2020-21, pulled away from Bella Sims late to win the final heat of the women’s 400 free in 4:13.80, with Sims just over a second back in 4:15.18.

Weyant, 19, swam to a time of 4:10.38 at the U.S. Open to rank her first in the country.

The 15-year-old Sims’ performance stands up as her second-fastest ever, having gone a PB of 4:11.62 back at the 2019 U.S. Open.

Haley Anderson led throughout the majority of Heat 1, doing just enough to touch first in 4:18.35, followed closely by Evie Pfeifer (4:18.53) and Olivia McMurray (4:18.60) as they qualify third, fourth and fifth.

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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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