2023 Mission Viejo Pro Swim Series – Day 2 Finals Live Recap



It’s the first full night of finals at the Mission Viejo stop of the 2023 Pro Swim Series. This session features finals of the 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 50 backstroke, 200 butterfly, and 400 freestyle.

Both the women’s and men’s 100 freestyles should be excellent races to get the session started. The women’s race features five U.S Olympians, with Abbey Weitzeil leading the way as the only woman to dip under 54 seconds in prelims. She’s followed by ASU training partners Olivia Smoliga and Simone Manuel, who swam 54.90 and 54.91 this morning. Further back are Stanford teammates Claire Curzan and Torri Huske, kicking off both their long-course season and their Olympic redshirt years.

In the men’s race, all eight ‘A’ finalists are within half a second of each other. Ryan Held is the top qualifier in 49.31, but NCAA stars Youssef RamadanJonny Kulow, and Jack Alexy all posted 49.3 this morning as well. Destin Lasco and Bjorn Seeliger also made it back in the ‘A’ final, promising an intriguing race where the win could come from anywhere.

In the men’s 50 backstroke though, it’s likely to come down to two men: Hunter Armstrong and Justin Ress. Armstrong holds the world record in the event, while Ress is the defending world champion. This is definitely a preview of what’s to come at U.S. World Trials, but could also be a sneak peek at this summer’s Worlds.

After winning the 1500 freestyle on Day 1, Jillian Cox looks to win her second event of the meet, the 400 freestyle. She posted the fastest time this morning, but it will be another close race with Kayla Han, as well as Bella Sims and Madi Mintenko.


  • World Record: 51.71 – Sarah Sjostrom (2017)
  • American Record: 52.04 – Simone Manuel (2019)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 53.12 – Sarah Sjostrom (2016)
  • U.S Open Record: 52.54 – Simone Manuel (2018)

Top 8:

  1. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) — 53.26
  2. Torri Huske (UN) — 54.27
  3. Simone Manuel (SUN)/Claire Curzan (UN) — 54.50
  4. (tie)
  5. Olivia Smoliga (SUN) — 54.76
  6. Sarah Fournier (TQ) — 55.32
  7. Kelly Pash (TXLA) — 55.44
  8. Chloe Stepanek (TAMU) — 55.61

Abbey Weitzeil took control of the women’s 100 freestyle from the start. She blasted out in 25.21, opening up a lead by about eight-tenths ahead of Torri Huske, who flipped second. Weitzeil continued to expand her lead over the second 50 and stopped the clock at 53.26.

It’s a new season-best for Weitzeil, chopping a tenth off the time that she went at the last Pro Series stop in Westmont. After the race, Weitzeil talked about how happy she was with the time, and how her consistency over this part of the season has made her excited about what’s to come this summer. The time moves her into a tie for seventh-fastest in the world this season.

Huske finished just over a second behind Weitzeil, clocking 54.27. The runner-up took 1.04 seconds off her time from prelims. Behind Huske, Simone Manuel and Claire Curzan tied for third. It’s Manuel’s fastest time of the season, improving on the 54.55 she swam in Ft. Lauderdale.


  • World Record: 46.86 – David Popovici (2022)
  • American Record: 46.96 – Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 48.00 – Nathan Adrian (2016)
  • U.S Open Record: 47.39 – Caeleb Dressel / Ryan Held

Top 8:

  1. Ryan Held (NYAC) — 48.74
  2. Bjorn Seeliger (CAL) — 48.80
  3. Hunter Armstrong (NYAC) — 49.13
  4. Jack Alexy (CAL) — 49.14
  5. Justin Ress (MVN) — 49.18
  6. Jonny Kulow (SUN) — 49.29
  7. Destin Lasco (CAL) — 49.29
  8. Youssef Ramadan (VT) — 49.47

After being separated by about a half second after prelims, the eight ‘A’ finalists were a bit more spread out here in the final. It was still a close race though: Bjorn Seeliger flipped first in 22.95 and was leading down the stretch, but Ryan Held used a powerful back half to get the better of Seeliger at the wall, out-touching him by six-hundredths. Held closed in 25.64 to Seeliger’s 25.85.

Their times, 48.74 and 48.80 were season-bests for both of them. For Held, this marks the first time that he’s been sub-49 this season, which is a good sign for him as we’re about six weeks out from U.S. World Trials. Outside smoke Hunter Armstrong grabbed third in 49.13, getting the better of Jack Alexy by a hundredth.


  • World Record: 1:04.13 – Lilly King (2017)
  • American Record: 1:04.13 – Lilly King (2017)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:05.32 – Lilly King (2021)
  • U.S Open Record: 1:04.45 – Jessica Hardy (2009)

Top 8:

  1. Lilly King (ISC) — 1:06.67
  2. Kaitlyn Dobler (TROJ) — 1:07.63
  3. Piper Enge (BC) — 1:09.05
  4. Isabelle Odgers (TROJ) — 1:09.15
  5. Skyler Smith (UNC) — 1:09.24
  6. Diana Petkova (BAMA) — 1:09.96
  7. Raya Mellott (CROW) — 1:10.50
  8. Ana Adame (SUN) — 1:11.05

Kaitlyn Dobler made things interesting in the middle of the second 50, but Lilly King powered away and took home the win in the 100 breaststroke. King touched in 1:06.67, which is right on the 1:06s she posted at the Pro Swim stops in Ft. Lauderdale and Westmont.

In her long-course season debut, Dobler finished just under a second behind King in 1:07.63. Her best is a 1:06.19 from U.S. World Trials in April 2022. King and Dobler had distanced themselves from the rest of the field, and 16-year-old Piper Enge touched third in 1:09.05, a tenth ahead of Isabelle Odgers.


  • World Record: 56.88 – Adam Peaty (2019)
  • American Record: 58.14 – Michael Andrew (2021)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 58.58 – Adam Peaty (2017)
  • U.S Open Record: 58.14 – Michael Andrew (2021)

Top 8:

  1. Nic Fink (MAAC) — 59.77
  2. Jake Foster (RAYS) — 1:00.81
  3. Brandon Fischer (TRIV) — 1:01.19
  4. Luke Rodarte (CAL) — 1:01.75
  5. Andy Dobrzanski (SUN) — 1:01.94
  6. Jason Louser (CAL) — 1:02.54
  7. Luke Barr (UN) — 1:02.75
  8. Noah Cakir (TS) — 1:02.84

In his post-race interview, Nic Fink said that one of the things he wanted to work on in this race was the back half. He did just that, as after turning third at the halfway point, the 29-year-old roared home in 31.27 to take the win in 59.77. He won the race decisively–the only one in the field to break a minute.

It was Jake Foster who turned first at the 50, taking the race out in 28.35. After setting a new lifetime best in the prelims, Foster chipped even more time off that mark here in finals. He earned second in 1:00.81, breaking 1:01 for the first time in his career. He’s taken more than a second off his best time today; coming into the meet, his best was a 1:01.85 from 2019.


  • World Record: 26.98 – Xiang Liu (2018)
  • American Record: 27.12 – Katharine Berkoff (2022)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 27.38 – Kylie Masse (2023)
  • U.S Open Record: 27.12 – Katharine Berkoff (2022)

Top 8:

  1. Isabelle Stadden (CAL) — 27.88
  2. Rhyan White (BAMA) — 28.13
  3. Claire Curzan (UN) — 28.14
  4. Olivia Smoliga (SUN) — 28.48
  5. Olivia Peebles (NZL) — 29.20
  6. Janelle Rudolph (UN) — 29.24
  7. Torri Huske (UN) — 29.28
  8. Amy Tang (UN) — 29.58

“I’m just exploring the 50 a little bit,” said winner Isabelle Stadden, who is the reigning U.S. national champion in the 200 backstroke. Stadden hit the wall at 27.88, just eight-hundredths off the lifetime best she swam at the Pro Series in Westmont.

Rhyan White finished second in 28.13, adding time from prelims but just getting her hand on the wall ahead of Claire Curzan. Curzan, Olivia Smoliga, and Torri Huske all competed in the 100 freestyle ‘A’ final earlier in the session. Smoliga, the 2019 World Champion, finished fourth while Huske touched seventh.

After setting a lifetime best in prelims, New Zealand’s Olivia Peebles swam another best of 29.20.


Top 8:

  1. Justin Ress (MVN) — 24.79
  2. Hunter Armstrong (NYAC) — 24.91
  3. Hugo Gonzalez (CAL) — 25.05
  4. Lamar Taylor (UN) — 25.45
  5. Quintin McCarty (PPA) — 25.50
  6. Jack Dolan (SUN) — 25.60
  7. Brett Pinfold (SHAC) — 26.03
  8. Keaton Jones (NEP) — 26.04

Justin Ress came out on top in front of a home crowd here in the men’s 50 backstroke. Both he and Hunter Armstrong (and Jack Dolan and Brett Pinfold) all raced the 100 freestyle about half an hour ago. Ress and Armstrong have been battling it out through the Pro Series in this event, and this time Ress got the better of Armstrong by .12 seconds, 24.79 to 24.91.

Cal’s Hugo Gonzalez took third in 25.05, which is faster than any of the 50 backstrokes he swam at the 2022 World Championships. Lamar Taylor took fourth in 25.45, resetting his own Bahamian national record of 25.52 that he swam in Westmont about a month ago.


  • World Record: 2:01.81 – Zige Liu (2009)
  • American Record: 2:04.14 – Mary Descenza (2009)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 2:05.05 – Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • U.S Open Record: 2:05.05 – Summer McIntosh (2023)

Top 8:

  1. Kelly Pash (TXLA) — 2:08.20
  2. Dakota Luther (TXLA) — 2:08.25
  3. Bailey Hartman (CROW) — 2:12.47
  4. Rachel Klinker (CAL) — 2:13.67
  5. Lillie Nordmann (UN) — 2:13.78
  6. Lizzy Cook (CAL) — 2:14.15
  7. Lucy Bell (UN) — 2:14.85
  8. Caroline Bricker (PPA) — 2:15.26

The Texas duo of Kelly Pash and Dakota Luther separated themselves from the field, but at the 100 meter mark, Luther looked comfortably in control of the race; she turned in 1:01.54, a second ahead of her teammate. Pash made her move over the second 100–by the final turn, she had brought the gap down to .58 seconds. She brought it home on the 50 in 32.72 to Luther’s 33.35, which gave her just enough room to get her hands on the wall five-hundredths ahead of Luther.

Pash touched in 2:08.20, which is a new lifetime best for her, erasing the 2:08.39 she swam at U.S. Nationals last summer. Luther clocked 2:08.25, while UVA commit Bailey Hartman rounded out the top three in 2:12.47, improving from her prelims time by over two seconds.


  • World Record: 1:50.34 – Kristof Milak (2022)
  • American Record: 1:51.51 – Michael Phelps (2009)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:53.84 – Luca Urlando (2019)
  • U.S Open Record: 1:52.20 – Michael Phelps (2008)

Top 8:

  1. Trenton Julian (MVC) — 1:56.51
  2. Jack Dahlgren (TRI) — 1:57.77
  3. Dare Rose (CAL) — 1:58.37
  4. Hector Ruvalcaba (AGS) — 1:58.95
  5. Yeziel Morales (PUR) — 2:00.13
  6. Gabriel Jett (CAL) — 2:00.17
  7. Jose Martinez (AGS) — 2:00.18
  8. Cooper Lucas (LAC) — 2:00.61

Trenton Julian went for his usual tactic in the 200 fly: take out the race fast and try to hold on. He opened the race in 25.50, then turned at the 100 in 54.28. The field began to catch up to him in the closing meters, but he’d established too much of a lead over the first three 50s for them to erase and Julian took the win in 1:56.51.

Jack Dahlgren made a huge push on the final 50, which powered him to second place in 1:57.77. That’s a second off the lifetime best that he swam at U.S. Nationals last summer. Dare Rose finished third in 1:58.37, three-hundredths off his own lifetime best. Hector Ruvalcaba was the other swimmer in the field to get under 2:00, touching fourth in 1:58.95.


  • World Record: 3:56.08 – Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • American Record: 3:56.46 – Katie Ledecky (2016)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 3:57.94 – Katie Ledecky (2018)
  • U.S Open Record: 3:57.94 – Katie Ledecky (2018)

Top 8:

  1. Bella Sims (SAND) — 4:06.41
  2. Jillian Cox (TXLA) — 4:10.22
  3. Kayla Han (RMDA) — 4:10.56
  4. Madi Mintenko (PPA) — 4:13.03
  5. Aurora Roghair (UN) — 4:13.87
  6. Abby Grothe (TAMU) — 4:15.87
  7. Chloe Stepanek (TAMU) — 4:19.27
  8. Marlene Kahler (TROJ) — 4:21.16

This race was all Bella Simsthe 17-year-old Sandpiper shot out from the start of the race–splitting 57.77 on her first 100–and never looked back. She split 1:02.45, 1:03.52, and 1:02.67 over the next three 100s to take the win with a new personal best of 4:06.41. That takes two-tenths off her best, which she swam at U.S. World Trials last April.

Sims had the win locked up early, but there was a close battle for second between yesterday’s 1500 free champion Jillian Cox and the runner-up Kayla Han. Cox got the better of Han by about three-tenths, 4:10.22 to 4:10.56. Han’s 4:10.56 is a new personal best for her.

Madi Mintenko touched next in 4:13.03, making the top four swimmers in this event all teenagers.


  • World Record: 3:40.07 – Paul Biedermann (2009)
  • American Record: 3:42.78 – Larsen Jensen (2008)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 3:43.55 – Sun Yang (2016)
  • U.S Open Record: 3:43.53 – Larsen Jensen (2008)

Top 8:

  1. Marwan Aly ElKamash (EGY) — 3:49.65
  2. Coby Carrozza (TXLA) — 3:50.90
  3. Alec Enyeart (TST) — 3:51.86
  4. David Johnston (TXLA) — 3:51.91
  5. Yigit Aslan (WISC) — 3:53.01
  6. Charlie Hawke (BAMA) — 3:57.27
  7. Andrew Matejka (UN) — 3:57.42
  8. Sean Grieshop (CAL) — 3:58.91

Marwan Aly ElKamash collected his second win here in Mission Viejo by touching first in the men’s 400 freestyle. Yesterday’s 1500 free champion, El Kamash touched in 3:49.65, about two seconds slower than he went in Ft. Lauderdale but still cleared the rest of the field by over a second.

Texas flexed it’s middle distance depth, taking second through fourth. Coby Carrozza led the Longhorns, swimming a season-best 3:50.90. Representing Tsunami Swim Team, Alec Enyeart out-touched his Longhorn teammate David Johnston by five-hundredths, 3:51.86 to 3:51.91. Of the two, Enyeart was closer to his lifetime best (3:50.18).

As a whole, the field made big drops from their prelims times. ElKamash chopped 6.62 seconds off his prelims mark, Yigit Aslan improved by 5.26 seconds, and both Enyeart and Johnston improved by over four seconds.

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1 year ago

KIng, what’s her best time these days?? How fast can King swim at this stage in her career.
I hate outdoor pools. I hate outdoor pools for swimming competitions.

Reply to  Stephen
1 year ago

She was 105.67 last trials. I wouldn’t expect her to go faster than 1:05.5

Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

She went a 1:04.72 two years ago at US Olympic trials, which would’ve won the Olympics. And then she had covid six weeks before World Champs last year. We’ve probably already seen the end of her ‘reign’, but I don’t think she’s out of the conversation for gold medals in any of the 3 distances (so long as Russia remains banned)

he's backevoy
1 year ago

Is that a national record for Jillian Crooks in the 100 free? 56.30 down from her 56.44 from a few weeks ago.

Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

Manuel wasn’t notably faster than Florida but she was notably thinner. That’s the first trend in that direction.

Otherwise I’m sure Rowdy’s blunder with Bella Sims has been spotlighted. I followed those splits closely and it wasn’t even close to even splitting. She probably walked away from that interview thinking one thing, and then quite another once she found out he had a dunderhead moment.

Bella took it out fast. I was thinking sub-2 midway. It was barely above that then basically 2 flat, 1:03 and 1:03. Her final three hundreds were similar but the first hundred made it very lopsided toward the front half.

1 year ago

Looks like you got an autocorrect in the women’s 400 free rankings 😅

1 year ago

2024 Junior Pan Pacs to be at the AIS in Canberra, Australia.


1 year ago

2023 World Aquatics Championships
Swimming Qualification Standards
“A” Cut, W 100 FR – 54.25


The results speak for themselves sans Abbey Weitzeil.

1 year ago

In the women’s 100 free it really looks like Weitzeil is getting most of her lead in the open 30 meters or so. I’m not sure if its her start, or breakout, or just early speed. But she was a body length ahead pretty early.

Manuel, in contrast seems slow off the start in most of her races this year. Maybe it just looks that way because she’s often next to Weitzeil, who has been swimming lights out this season. Anyway, I don’t remember Simone having a “bad” start before. I’m wondering if that is new? She looked pretty good on top of the water, I thought, once the race got going.

1 year ago

Is Bella Sims really only 17?

Reply to  Zippo
1 year ago

she’s in high school still so yeah, I think 18 within a month tho

Reply to  Zippo
1 year ago

DOB – 25 May 2005

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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