2022 U.S. National Championships: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap



The 3rd day of U.S. Nationals is here, and with it we have a relatively short day. Today’s action features only two events per gender: the 400 IM and 100 fly. British Olympian Max Litchfield hasn’t made a huge splash here so far in Irvine, however, he’s the top seed in the men’s 400 IM. Litchfield finished 4th in the 400 IM at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and has won two European Championships medals in the event.

After a solid performance in the women’s 200 back yesterday, Leah Smith is set as the top seed in the women’s 400 IM today. Smith is entered at 4:34.55, well ahead of the #2 seed, who happens to be Katie Ledecky.

Claire Curzan is the top seed in the women’s 100 fly, entering the meet as the top seed by well over a second. 200 fly champion Dakota Luther is seeded pretty far back with her entry time of 59.17.

Shaine Casas comes into the meet as the top seed in the men’s 100 fly, although there’s plenty of talent in this field to push the 22-year-old. Veteran Tom Shields is slated to race next to Casas in the final prelims heat this morning.


  • World Record – 4:26.36, Katinka Hosszu (2016)
  • American Record – 4:31.12, Katie Hoff (2008)
  • U.S. Open Record – 4:31.07, Katinka Hosszu (2015)
  • LC Nationals Record – 4:31.12, Katie Hoff (2008)
  • World Junior Record – 4:32.04, Summer McIntosh (2022)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Leah Smith – 4:37.46
  2. Katie Ledecky – 4:41.84
  3. Kathryn Ackerman – 4:46.13
  4. Mariah Denigan – 4:46.87
  5. Kathleen Golding – 4:46.93
  6. Lindsay Looney – 4:47.64
  7. Felicia Pasadyn – 4:48.47
  8. Ella Nelson – 4:48.59

UPDATE: Kathleen Golding was originally disqualified after swimming a 4:46.93 in the early heats. The disqualification was overturned shortly after the conclusion of the event this morning, and as such, Golding will be advancing to the ‘A’ final tonight as the #5 seed. 

It was all Leah Smith this morning in the women’s 400 IM. Smith quickly took over the final heat of the event, getting out to a lead, which she would only grow as the race progressed. She put together a really nice swim this morning, splitting 1:02.91 on fly, 1:10.61 on back, 1:20.54 on breast, and 1:03.40 on freestyle.

Katie Ledecky took control of the 1st circle seeded heats, posting the 2nd fastest time of the morning in 4:41.84. Ledecky was slower than Smith on fly, back, and breast, and just 0.06 seconds faster on freestyle. She was 1:03.34 coming home this morning, which we know she’ll be faster than tonight. This should be a really fun race to watch as we’ll get to witness a bit of a role reversal. We’ve seen Smith chasing Ledecky in the freestyle events plenty of time before, but tonight it’s more than likely Ledecky will be the one doing the chasing.

Behind Smith and Ledecky, the field was tight this morning. Michigan’s Kathryn Ackerman clocked the 3rd fastest swim of the morning, pulling ahead of Indiana’s Mariah Denigan on breaststroke, and holding onto the lead.

200 breast champion Mac Looze of Indiana grabbed the final spot for tonight’s ‘A’ final, so we’ll see if she can sneak in and grab another medal to add to her haul tonight. Looze was originally the 8th place qualifier for the ‘A’ final, but with Golding’s DQ being overturned, she’s been bumped down into the ‘B’ final.


  • World Record – 4:03.84, Michael Phelps (2008)
  • American Record – 4:03.84, Michael Phelps (2008)
  • U.S. Open Record – 4:05.25, Michael Phelps (2008)
  • LC Nationals Record – 4:05.25, Michael Phelps (2008)
  • World Junior Record – 4:10.02, Ilia Borodin (2021)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Max Litchfield – 4:14.07
  2. Kevin Vargas – 4:14.27
  3. Kieran Smith – 4:16.51
  4. David Johnston – 4:17.41
  5. Baylor Nelson – 4:17.63
  6. Sean Grieshop – 4:18.22
  7. Jake Foster – 4:19.10
  8. Elliot Rogerson – 4:19.42

In the first of the circle seeded heats, Baylor Nelson had a fantastic morning swim, touching just 0.05 seconds off his personal best. Nelson was battling with Sean Grieshop the entire way, and briefly with Jake Foster as well. Foster made a strong push on breaststroke, pulling up with the leading duo, but he fell behind on the first 50 of freestyle, and would end up 3rd in the heat. Nelson swam a very well-rounded race, splitting 58.49 on fly, 1:04.87 on back, 1:13.95 on breast, and 1:00.32 on freestyle.

Gator Swim Club’s Mason Laur also had a great race this morning, shredding his previous best time with a 4:20.16. Unfortunately, Laur finished 9th this morning, and therefore just missed out on the ‘A’ final.

Swimming early, Kieran Smith clocked a very solid morning swim of 4:16.51. That swim was very close to Smith’s personal best of 4:15.17, which he set at the 2019 Summer Nationals.

British Olympian Max Litchfield led the field this morning, swimming a 4:14.07. He was pushed the whole way by Kevin Vargas, but managed to get his hands on the wall first in the last heat by 0.20 seconds. Litchfield is, of course, a great IM’er, but he’s particularly lethal on the freestyle leg of the race, as displayed by his 59.19 closing split this morning.

After scratching the 1500 on the first day of the meet due to a non-COVID illness, Olympic and World Champs Gold medalist Bobby Finke was back in action this morning in the 400 IM. He still didn’t look quite 100%, but he was able to swim a 4:20.34, putting him 11th and in tonight’s ‘B’ final.


  • World Record – 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom (2016)
  • American Record – 55.64, Torri Huske (2022)
  • U.S. Open Record – 55.66, Torri Huske (2021)
  • LC Nationals Record – 55.66, Torri Huske (2021)
  • World Junior Record – 56.43, Claire Curzan (2021)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Gabi Albiero – 57.92
  2. Gretchen Walsh – 57.99
  3. Ai Soma – 58.35
  4. Claire Curzan – 58.82
  5. Dakota Luther – 59.06
  6. Beata Nelson – 59.07
  7. Callie Dickinson – 59.20
  8. Rachel Klinker – 59.21

It took until heat 7, the first of the circle seeded heats, before someone got under 1:00, but things picked up quickly from there. In the first of the circle seeded heats, Ai Soma nearly beat her personal best, roaring to victory in 58.35. That swim comes in just 0.03 seconds off her best time.

200 fly champion Dakota Luther had a big swim as well in the first circle seeded heat, touching 2nd in 59.06. The performance marks Luther’s fastest LCM 100 fly since she swam her lifetime best of 58.48 at the 2019 Nationals.

The 2nd circle seeded heat was electric, seeing Gabi Albiero and Gretchen Walsh tear it up in a thrilling battle. Albiero got the better of Walsh at the finish, touching in 57.92 to Walsh’s 57.99. For Albiero, it was a monumental swim, marking her first time under 58 seconds in the event. Walsh was half a second off her personal best of 57.43, signaling what was a really good prelims performance for her.

The final heat was a touch slower, seeing Claire Curzan touch first in 58.82. That swim would be good to put the World Junior Record holder into tonight’s ‘A’ final with the 4th seed.


  • World Record – 49.45, Caeleb Dressel (2021)
  • American Record – 49.45, Caeleb Dressel (2021)
  • U.S. Open Record – 49.76, Caeleb Dressel (2021)
  • LC Nationals Record – 49.76, Caeleb Dressel (2021)
  • World Junior Record – 50.62, Kristof Milak (2017)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Shaine Casas – 51.04
  2. Gabriel Jett – 52.17
  3. Shuan Champion – 52.32
  4. Ilya Kharun – 52.35
  5. Andrei Minakov – 52.37
  6. Camden Murphy – 52.40
  7. Trenton Julian – 52.52
  8. Marius Kusch – 52.60

Sandpipers Ilya Kharun keeps impressing, as he took heat 7 of the men’s 100 fly this morning in a new personal best of 52.35. The swim takes half a second off his previous best of 52.83, which he set in March of this year. With the performance, Kharun has now vaulted to #4 all-time in the 17-18 boys age group, behind only Michael Phelps, Luca Urlando, and Ian Crocker.

Gabriell Jett, who has been having a great meet so far, undercut Kharun in the next heat, speeding to a new personal best of 52.17. Australian Shaun Champion would also beat out Kharun’s time in that heat, swimming a 53.32.

All that led up to Shaine Casas blowing the field away in the final heat, blasting a 51.04. The swim puts him into the ‘A’ final as the top seed by over a second. Casas put together an awesome race this morning, splitting 24.48 on the frist 50, then coming home in a blistering 26.56.

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HOO love
1 year ago

Did G. Walsh wear a practice suit this morning?

1 year ago

my prediction for the Mens 400 IM is Litchfield, Smith, Foster with a 4:11 to win and Bobby Fink wins the B final in a time fast enough for a show in the A final…

eL eL
Reply to  oldswimdad
1 year ago

The Varg.

AI With The Braids
Reply to  eL eL
1 year ago


eL eL
Reply to  AI With The Braids
1 year ago

Indeed 💅

1 year ago

26.5 backhalf for Casas, what on earth

Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 year ago

Good lord 51.0 total what is world ranking this year for that swim?

Reply to  Austinpoolboy
1 year ago

I mean he’s been 50.5 which is third for this season.

Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 year ago

The touch pads at the 50 wall seemed to be wrong. It certainly looked like he was out in 23 something.

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
1 year ago

He glides into the walls a lot.

BB Aggie '91
Reply to  anonymous
1 year ago

I timed (lane 4) his PB at the Austin Sectionals a few weeks ago. He definitely glided into the finish!

1 year ago

Jett still on a tear! Woot.
Was hoping to see Rose too but I guess he’s not swimming at this meet?

Last edited 1 year ago by BearlyBreathing
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 year ago

What a find by Dave Durden

1 year ago

Looks like Finke didn’t pull out of the meet entirely – he made the B final of the 400 IM.

Joel Lin
1 year ago

Doesn’t like to make a big deal out of it but Shaine Casas has elite water activities skills.

Grimes the True GOAT
1 year ago

There’s a guy in the 4th heat of the 400 IM whose name is Cotton Fields. I looked at his profile on the SMU Mustangs website, and apparently he has a brother named Barley Fields too.

Reply to  Grimes the True GOAT
1 year ago

No wheat?

Reply to  Grimes the True GOAT
1 year ago

>Cotton Fields
>Barley Fields
I’m sure these two young men are fine people but that’s low key child abuse on the part of the parents.

Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 year ago

I feel like someone told me that these aren’t actually their real names, but they’ve become so ingrained that they might as well be. But I can’t verify that so might be wrong.

Imagine being their sister and being named “Karsten” and wondering if your parents love you the same way.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

so *ingrained* lollll

Michael Andrew Wilson
Reply to  4IM
1 year ago


Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago
Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

I thought they’d have a sister named Strawberry

Grimes the True GOAT
1 year ago

Ledecky’s breaststroke is atrocious. There’s no way that she can be the GOAT with such a lacking technique.

Reply to  Grimes the True GOAT
1 year ago

breaststroke isn’t a real stroke…many say the 4 most important are (in order) free, fly, back, underwater…and as the 5th most consider “relay exchange” to be the lock (even if T Huske doesn’t agree).

NornIron Swim
Reply to  Meathead
1 year ago

Oooh… touchy… 😂

Go Bucky
Reply to  Grimes the True GOAT
1 year ago


Reply to  Grimes the True GOAT
1 year ago

Home girl goes 3:56 sc 4 Im so it can’t be that bad

Go Bucky
Reply to  kwrb77
1 year ago

Lol yeah didn’t she have the American Record for awhile? 😂 clearly this person doesn’t know what they’re talking about.