2021 US Open: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


The first prelim session of the 2021 US Open get under way at 10 AM EST this morning in Greensboro. Swimmers will compete in the 400 free, 200 IM and 50 free today.

Highlighting the morning session is Katie Ledecky, who lit up the pool last night in the 800 free in her first race after switching her training base to the University of Florida. Joining her in the 400 free will be fellow US Tokyo Olympian Paige Madden. The Florida distance group will also be the focus in the men’s 400 free, where Bobby Finke and Trey Freeman will look to impress but may also be challenged by Malaysia’s 19 year-old Hoe Yean Khiew.

Another pro with a new training home, Leah Smith, comes in as the top seed in the women’s 200 IM, while high school senior and Texas A&M commit Baylor Nelson of SwimMac is the top seed in the men’s 200 IM. A pair of veterans come in as the top seeds in the 50 free, as 33 year old Madison Kennedy and 32 year old Bruno Fratus will look to hold off a field of younger challengers.

Women’s 400 free

  1. Katie Ledecky (Unattached): 4:01.64
  2. Sierra Schmidt (SAC): 4:13.61
  3. Erin Gemmell (NCAP): 4:14.06
  4. Katrina Bellio (ESWIM): 4:14.52
  5. Ella Jansen (ESWIM): 4:14.99
  6. Paige Madden (Unattached): 4:16.16
  7. Julia Mrozinski (TENN): 4:16.24
  8. Jillian COX (Unattached): 4:16.57

In no surprise, Katie Ledecky cruised to the top seed for tonight’s 400 free final, winning the final heat in 4:01.64. She looked very in control over the first 300 meters before dropping a blazing 58.40 on the final 100. If her final 100 is any indication, Ledecky has plenty left in the tank for tonight’s final.

Qualifying second was Scottsdale’s Sierra Schmidt, who finished second in the final heat in 4:13.61.

16 year old Ella Jansen of Canada’s Etobicoke Swim Club won heat 2 in a huge lifetime best of 4:14.99, a 4.7 second drop to take the fifth seed into tonight’s finals. ESwim, located in suburban Toronto, is one of Canada’s top clubs and has produced some of the nation’s top talent including current teenage distance phenom Summer McIntosh. Another ESwim teenager, 17 year old Katrina Bellio, qualified fourth in 4:14.52.

Winning the first circle seeded heat was 16 year old Erin Gemmell, who won in 4:14.06, over two seconds ahead of Virginia pro and Tokyo Olympian Paige Madden, who qualified 6th in 4:16.16.

Men’s 400 free

  1. Trey Freeman (FLOR): 3:50.53
  2. Hoe Yean Khiew (Malaysia): 3:54.60
  3. Bobby Finke (FLOR): 3:56.27
  4. Charlie Clark (OSU): 3:56.87
  5. Eric Brown (PCSC): 3:57.24
  6. Zach Ward (BKYS): 3:57.65
  7. Tommy-Lee Camblong (Unattached): 3:58.52
  8. Matthew Chai (FAST): 3:59.24

Florida’s Trey Freeman dominated the final heat to take the top seed into the final in 3:50.53.

Malaysia’s Hoe Yean Khiew impressed in the second heat, coasting to the win in 3:54.60, notably topping Olympic gold medalist Bobby Finke. Finke finished third overall this morning in 3:56.27. Coming in close behind him was Ohio State’s Charlie Clark who qualified fourth in 3:56.87.

Women’s 200 IM

  1. Leah Smith (TXLA): 2:12.92
  2. Summer Smith (TENN): 2:15.11
  3. Camille Spink (NCAP): 2:16.31
  4. Abby Hay (UOFL): 2:16.40
  5. Emily Thompson (GSCY): 2:16.45
  6. Sophie Duncan (NCAP): 2:16.86
  7. Mabel Zavaros (FLOR): 2:16.93
  8. Anya Mostek (PAY): 2:17.49

Leah Smith dominated the final heat of the 200 IM, touching first in in 2:12.92 to take the final seed for tonight by over two full seconds. That swim marks a new lifetime best for the Rio Olympian, whose previous personal best was 2:13.13 from the 2020 Des Moines Pro Swim.

Qualifying second was University of Tennessee freshman Summer Smith, who also posted a lifetime best of 2:15.11.

A quartet of high schoolers also qualified for the final, with NCAP’s Camille Spink finishing 3rd, Greater Somerset County YMCA’s Emily Thompson finishing firth, NCAP’s Sophie Duncan qualifying 6th and Phoenixville YMCA’s Anya Mostek qualifying 8th.

Men’s 200 IM

  1. Baylor Nelson (MAC): 2:01.35
  2. Collyn Gagne (SFU): 2:02.44
  3. Max Seidel (CSTE): 2:04.53
  4. Joaquin Gonzalez Pinero (FLOR): 2:05.03
  5. Josh Parent (ABF): 2:05.43
  6. Caleb Maldari (MAC): 2:05.73
  7. Diego Nosack (THSC): 2:05.75
  8. Zach Ward (BKYS): 2:05.87

Top seed Baylor Nelson cruised to victory in the morning’s final heat to take the overall top seed into tonight’s final in 2:01.35. That swim comes in just off his own personal best of 2:01.08 from last summer’s Speedo Summer Championships East. Nelson will be joined in the final by his club teammate Caleb Maldari, who dropped nearly a second and a half to qualify sixth in 2:05.73.

Simon Fraser University’s Collyn Gagne swam next to Nelson in the prelims and will reprise that this evening after qualifying second overall in 2:02.44.  Coronado Swimming’s Max Seidel will flank Nelson in lane three tonight after dropping nearly three quarters of a second to finish third in 2:04.53.

Women’s 50 free

  1. Mallory Comerford (CARD): 25.37
  2. Camille Spink (NCAP): 25.57
  3. Arina Openysheva (UOFL): 25.71
  4. Madison Kennedy (Unattached): 25.73
  5. Anna Kotonen (Unattached): 25.78
  6. Bella Cothern (UARK): 25.83
  7. Talia Bates (FLOR): 25.90
  8. Tatum Wall (NCAP): 25.95

Cardinal Aquatics’ and Louisville-based pro Mallory Comerford qualified first in the 50 free, touching in 25.37. Her lifetime best stands at 24.80 from the 2018 Pan Pacs. Her training partner at Louisville Arina Openysheva will swim next to her in lane three this evening after qualifying third in 25.71.

Shortly after qualifying third in the 200 IM, high schooler Camille Spink of Nation’s Capital will race in lane 5 tonight, touching in 25.57 and just off of her lifetime. Spink is the #5 ranked recruit in the class of 2023 and has committed to join the University of Tennessee. Her club teammate and fellow high schooler Tatum Wall will also join her in the final after qualifying 8th in 25.95.

The field’s veteran top seed Madison Kennedy qualified fourth in 25.73.

Men’s 50 free 

  1. Andrej Barna (CARD): 22.31
  2. Adam Chaney (FLOR): 22.54
  3. Gus Borges (PRVT): 22.56
  4. Bruno Fratus (CSSC): 22.58
  5. Nikola Acin (Unattached): 22.69
  6. Artyom Machekin (SDSA): 22.79
  7. Sem Andreis (OSU): 22.92
  8. Thomas Heilman (CAY): 22.99

Andrej Barna made it a 50 free prelim sweep for the Louisville post-grads, as he qualified first in 22.31, just off his seed of 22.29. Florida sophomore Adam Chaney will swim in lane five this evening after qualifying second in 22.54, while Pinnacle Racing Virginia Tech’s Gus Borges qualified third in 22.56.

Tokyo bronze medalist Bruno Fratus qualified fourth in 22.58, well off his seed of 21.57.

The big storyline from this morning’s prelim comes from the 8th place finisher, however, as Cavalier Aquatics’ 14 year old Thomas Heilman blasted a new 13-14 National Age Group Record of 22.99. He undercuts Michael Andrew’s 2014 record of 23.19 and becomes the first American 14 and Under ever under 23 seconds. That swim cuts a quarter second off his previous lifetime best of 23.23.

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9 months ago

Has Mallory Comerford had some sort of health issue this past year? Seems a bit strange that she was going 52’s and missed Olympic team… amazing talent, hope she gets back to form!

Reply to  Mia
9 months ago

If it would be a comeback for Mallory then she will be remembered like a girl who didn’t want to swim at Olympic Games.
2016 – 54.46

2017 – 52.59
2021 – 54.43

Last edited 9 months ago by Yozhik
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

She ain’t a “girl.”

9 months ago

Ledecky 5 seconds off finke

10 months ago

So Ledecky’s new training seems to be working

Konner Scott
10 months ago

Someone born in TWO THOUSAND AND SEVEN just went a 22 in the 50 free…

Reply to  Konner Scott
9 months ago

I still remember Cielo doing 23.2 at 16…it was a damn great time in 2003! The second place was almost a full second behind…

10 months ago

58.4 closing, seesh. Finals are going to be blazing. Any reason why Leah scratched 400? Also, where is Tuggle?

Reply to  Mia
10 months ago

Seems like Leah is having an IM focus for the day? For the Olympics, the 400 IM and 400 free double is a tough back to back so maybe she is toying around with a schedule of 200/800 free and the 400 IM.

10 months ago

She finally learned how to kick the last 100 again #stanfordcurse #floridabeast 🥳🎉

Genevieve LeQueen
10 months ago

4:01 in prelims wow! Katie this is for you 💍💍

10 months ago

Ledecky with the negative split… very interesting

Reply to  redradiant
10 months ago

She is just trying to copy Finke

Farson coster
Reply to  Taa
10 months ago

You mean Finke copies ledecky 🐐

Last edited 10 months ago by Farson coster