2022 U.S. National Championships: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap



The first session of the 2022 U.S. Nationals kicks off this morning in Irvine. This morning’s prelims session features the 200 fly and 100 free. Times finals of the men’s 1500 free and women’s 800 free are also taking place today. The fastest heats of each event will swim in finals tonight, while the early heats of the distance events will be kicking off at 2:15pm local time.

Dakota Luther enters as the top seed in the women’s 200 fly, coming in at 2:07.85, which she swam earlier this year. With no Hali Flickinger or Regan Smith in the field, Luther has Texas teammates Emma Sticklen and Kelly Pash to contend with, as well as Arizona State’s Lindsay Looney and Australian Brittany Castelluzzo, all of whom have been 2:08.

U.S. World Championships Team member Trenton Julian is the top seed by a comfortable margin in the men’s 200 fly, entering with the 1:54.22 he swam at the International Team Trials in April, which also stands as his lifetime best. Julian’s former Cal teammate 19-year-old Gabriel Jett is the #2 seed, coming in with a 1:56.58.

The women’s 100 free will be one of the more interesting events of the day. The American women are in desperate need of new sprint aces who will be able to compete with Australia’s formidable sprint group on the international stage. Natalei Hinds comes in as the top seed today, entering at 53.55. Catie DeLoof is the only other swimmer in the field entered under 54 seconds, coming in at 53.77. Notably, 16-year-old Anna Moesch just swam a 54.33 at the LCM YMCA Nationals last week, but she’s not competing in Irvine this week.

Russian national and Stanford Cardinal Andrei Minakov leads the field in the men’s 100 free, entering at 47.71, just 0.01 seconds ahead of Zach Apple. At the International Team Trials, Apple didn’t have a great meet, missing out on the World Championships team, and swimming well off his personal bests. He was only 48.52 at Trials in April, so we’ll see what he has in the tank for this meet.


  • World Record – 2:01.81, Zige Liu (2009)
  • American Record – 2:04.14, Mary Descenza (2009)
  • U.S. Open Record – 2:05.85, Hali Flickinger (2021)
  • LC Nationals Record – 2:05.85, Hali Flickinger (2021)
  • World Junior Record – 2:05.20, Summer McIntosh (2022)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Dakota Luther (TXLA) – 2:08.10
  2. Lindsay Looney (SUN) – 2:08.80
  3. Tess Howley (LIAC) – 2:08.98
  4. Kelly Pash (UN-ST) – 2:09.17
  5. Emma Sticklen (UN-ST) – 2:09.45
  6. Rachel Klinker (CAL) – 2:10.31
  7. Brittany Castelluzzo (AUS) – 2:10.77
  8. Callie Dickinson (ABSC) – 2:11.00

The 5th and final heat this morning saw a thrilling race between Dakota Luther, Kelly Pash, and Tess Howley. Luther led the heat, posting a 2:08.10, making her the top seed for tonight’s ‘A’ final. That came in just off her season best of 2:07.85, setting her up nicely for tonight. Long Island Aquatic Club 17-year-old Tess Howley was the lone teenager to qualify for the ‘A’ final, clocking a new lifetime best of 2:08.98, dipping under 2:09 for the first time in her young career. With the performance, Howley is now the #12 performer all-time in the 17-18 age group among Americans, and she’s just 17.

Arizona State’s Lindsay Looney didn’t waste an opportunity to push the pace, dominating heat 4 with a 2:08.80, just off her personal best of 2:08.40. Looney took the race out aggressively, splitting 1:01.06 on the first 100. She paid for it a bit on the back half, splitting 33.58 and 34.16 on the final two 50s, for a 1:07.74 on the 2nd 100.

Texas’ Emma Sticklen led the pace in heat 3, posting a solid morning swim of 2:09.45. Sticklen’s personal best of 2:08.41 was set at the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrum Tour back in late May. She had a phenomenal NCAA season this year, establishing a new yards personal best of 1:51.45 in the 200 fly.


  • World Record – 1:50.34, Kristof Milak (2022)
  • American Record – 1:51.51, Michael Phelps (2009)
  • U.S. Open Record – 1:52.20, Michael Phelps (2008)
  • LC Nationals Record – 1:52.20, Michael Phelps (2008)
  • World Junior Record – 1:53.79, Kristof Milak (2017)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Gabriel Jett (UN-PC) – 1:56.35
  2. Jack Dahlgren (UMIZ) – 1:56.78
  3. Max Litchfield (DVSC) – 1:56.88
  4. Brooks Fail (FORD) – 1:57.28
  5. Sterling Crane (UN-ST) – 1:57.32
  6. Ilya Kharun (SAND) – 1:57.47
  7. Mason Laur (GSC) – 1:57.90
  8. Kevin Vargas (RMDA) – 1:58.11

Mizzou’s Jack Dahlgren had a fantastic race to take heat 5, roaring to a new personal best of 1:56.78 Dahlgren’s previous best sat at 1:57.51, a time which had stood since 2019 Nationals. Additionally, Dahlgren had yet to break 2:00 in the event this year.

Cal rising sophomore Gabriel Jett took heat 6 in a personal best as well, swimming a 1:56.35 to chip off his previous best of 1:56.58 from the International Team Trials in April. Great Britain’s Max Litchfield was in the heat as well, pushing Jett, but ultimately finishing just behind with a 1:56.88. Sandpipers of Nevada 17-year-old Ilya Kharun touched 3rd in the 6th heat, blasting a new personal best of 1:57.47. With that swim, Kharun is now the #13 performer all-time in the 17-18 boys age group in the U.S.

Sterling Crane took the final heat, pulling away on the last 50. Crane clocked a new personal best of 1:57.32, taking the 5th seed for tonight’s final. Notably, top seeded Trenton Julian missed out on the ‘A’ final, swimming a 1:58.49 to take 9th this morning.


  • World Record – 51.71, Sarah Sjostrom (2017)
  • American Record – 52.04, Simone Manuel (2019)
  • U.S. Open Record – 52.54, Simone Manuel (2018)
  • LC Nationals Record – 52.54, Simone Manuel (2018)
  • World Junior Record – 52.70, Penny Oleksiak (2016)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Natalie Hinds (GSC) – 54.12
  2. Mallory Comerford (TS) – 54.28
  3. Gabi Albiero (UOFL) – 54.47
  4. Erika Pelaez (EA) – 54.65
  5. Chloe Stepanek (LIAC) – 54.68
  6. Erin Gemmell (NCAP) – 54.76
  7. Gretchen Walsh (NAC) – 54.77
  8. Lillie Nordmann (ALTO) – 54.98

Gretchen Walsh got out to a great start in heat 8 and was still leading at the 75m mark. However, she lost a bit of steam on the final stretch, while Mallory Comerford sped home, taking the heat in 54.28. Gabi Albiero also got her hand onto the wall just ahead of Walsh, touching in 54.47 to Walsh’s 54.77. Notably, Walsh was racing in a normal training suit, keeping her promise that she would do so.

Eagle Aquatics 16-year-old Erika Pelaez tore to victory in heat 8, throwing down a massive new personal best of 54.65. The swim was a lifetime best by 1.01 seconds, catapulting Pelaez up to #7 all-time in the 15-16 girls rankings. Her speed was on display, as she took the race out in 26.20 on the first 50.

Top seeded Natalie Hinds retained her place, swimming the fastest time of the morning with a 54.12 out of heat 8. The final tonight will be tightly packed, as all 8 swimmers were 54-points this morning.

Swimming out of heat 4, Texas’ Bridget Semenuk had a phenomenal race this morning, crushing her previous best of 56.08 with a 55.56. Similarly, Anna Peplowski of Indiana University cracked 56 seconds for the first time, taking heat 5 with a 55.67. Both swimmers qualified for the ‘C’ final


  • World Record – 46.91, Cesar Cielo (2009)
  • American Record – 46.96, Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • U.S. Open Record – 47.39, Ryan Held/Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • LC Nationals Record – 47.39, Ryan Held/Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • World Junior Record – 47.13, David Popovici (2022)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Shaine Casas (TXLA) – 48.28
  2. Matt King (CA-Y) – 48.33
  3. Zach Apple (ISC) – 48.47
  4. Kieran Smith (RAC) – 48.96
  5. Justin Ress (MVN) – 48.98
  6. Luke Maurer (ALTO) – 49.02
  7. Destin Lasco (UN-PC) – 49.06
  8. Danny Krueger (UN-ST) – 49.12

Shaine Casas took heat 7 in 48.28, touching just off his personal best of 48.23, which he set 2 weeks ago in Texas. Matt King had a fantastic race in heat 7 as well, roaring to a new personal best of 48.33.

Zach Apple had a solid prelims swim of 48.47, taking heat 8 and comfortably advancing to the ‘A’ final tonight. Apple is coming off a fairly rough International Team Trials in April, so we’ll see what he can do tonight in finals.

The final heat turned out to be a great race, although it was a bit slower, seeing Justin Ress take the heat in 48.98. Stanford’s Luke Maurer swam a personal best 49.02 in the final heat to qualify for the ‘A’ final as well.

Entering as the top seed, Andrei Minakov swam a 49.15 this morning, which put him 9th, just out of the ‘A’ final.

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Octavio Gupta
4 months ago

Pacific time, bleh

4 months ago

Has anything been published on 2022-23 national team qualification? Was curious I couldn’t find it on USA swimming website and its an interesting thing to follow who the top 6 end up being in each event.

Reply to  Taa
4 months ago

I assume it’ll just be the top 6 swimmers in each event that make national team as usual

Reply to  Will
4 months ago

What about the swimmers that aren’t at nationals? Like the ones that were at worlds and not competing here?

Reply to  Swam9
4 months ago

its the fastest times from the whole season not just this meet

4 months ago

Is Comerford training with Bowman now? I noticed her wearing an ASU cap in a picture

Reply to  USA
4 months ago

That’s actually a Triton Swimming of Louisville cap. It’s a local USA Swimming club.

Her and Clark just bought a house in Louisville together, so I’d imagine she’s planning to stay put there.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

Her golf swing is not bad. Too long and loose at the top but excellent tempo and swing plane

Douglass Wharrram Fan Club
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

Who is her coach? Is the Burckle taper a real thing???

4 months ago

So russian cant swim at worlds but can swim at us nationals?

Reply to  mcswammerstein
4 months ago

Correct. There were also Russian swimmers at French Nationals.

In some countries, national laws would preclude their exclusion. In other cases, it’s probably just not worth the headache to the NGBs.

4 months ago

Pretty fast (by American standards) prelim results in W100FR.
Erin Gemmell improved her PB by 0.49sec. Slowly by surely she is getting faster. Will be happy to see her 1:56 in 200 FR. It looks that she has already enough raw speed to get there.

crimson chin
4 months ago

That Kaiser Neverman kid is insane! He absolutely spanked that fraud of a NCAA champion Brendan Burns in the 200 fly!

B Finalists Don’t Matter
Reply to  crimson chin
4 months ago

They’re both in the B(lah) final tonight…

Joel Lin
4 months ago


Sherry Smit
4 months ago

On another note, Leah Degeorge is entered in the 800 this afternoon. Degeorge is a huge open water specialist, and I’m excited to see what she has in store in the LC 800/1500. She’s a nationals qualifier from her SC times, so I’m excited to see if she can take her LC swims down as well!