2023 PRO SWIM SERIES – KNOXVILLE
- January 11-14, 2023
- Knoxville, Tennessee
- LCM (50 meters)
- Prelims: 9:00 AM (EST)
- Finals: 6:00 PM (EST), Day 1 4:00 PM
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- SwimSwam Day 1 Prelims Live Recap
After the first night of swimming was only timed finals of the 800 freestyle, Day 2 features the first full finals session of the meet. It’s a packed schedule, with finals of the 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 50 backstroke, 100 butterfly, and 400 IM.
Katie Ledecky and Katie Grimes will both take on a tough 200 freestyle/400 IM double. Ledecky is the top seed heading into finals for both events tonight after cruising to a 1:57.05 in the 200 free and 4:41.87 in the 400 IM. Grimes, who recently turned 17-years-old, squeaked into the 200 free ‘A’ final in eighth; the 400 IM will likely be a much closer race between her and Ledecky, as they’re separated by just .17 seconds after prelims.
The women’s 50 backstroke should also be an exciting race between world champion Kylie Masse, the resurgent Regan Smith, and American record holder Katharine Berkoff. All three were under 28 seconds this morning in prelims, setting up for a great race in finals. Pro Swim record holder Olivia Smoliga, who’s racing for the first time since U.S. World Trials, could also be in the mix.
In the men’s 200 freestyle, we’ll see club swimmer and Stanford commit Henry McFadden try to hold off a loaded field. McFadden swam 1:48.91 to grab lane 4 for finals and the rest of the field is all college and pro swimmers, including Olympians Kieran Smith and Drew Kibler. There’s also Gabriel Jett to keep an eye on–the Cal Golden Bear had a breakout 2022.
WOMEN’S 200 FREESTYLE — FINALS
- World Record: 1:52.98 – Federica Pellegrini, ITA (2009)
- World Junior Record: 1:54.79 – Summer McIntosh, CAN (2022)
- American Record: 1:53.61 – Allison Schmitt (2012)
- U.S. Open Record: 1:54.40 – Allison Schmitt, USA (2012)/ Katie Ledecky, USA (2021)
- Pro Swim Series Record: 1:54.40 – Katie Ledecky, USA (2021)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Katie Ledecky (GSC) – 1:55.47
- Bella Sims (SAND) – 1:57.87
- Erin Gemmell (NCAP) – 1:57.97
- Katie Grimes (SAND) – 1:59.08
- Ella Jansen (CAN) – 1:59.09
- Valentine Dumont (BEL) – 1:59.17
- Claire Weinstein (SAND) – 2:00.08
- Brooklyn Douthwright (TENN) – 2:00.54
Katie Ledecky picked up her first individual win of the meet in the women’s 200 free. Bella Sims and Erin Gemmell were with her through the first 50 meters, but Ledecky began to distance herself after that, turning at the 100 in 56.66. Ledecky easily took the win in 1:55.47, over two seconds ahead of second-place Sims and just over a second off her Pro Swim record of 1:54.40 set last year.
It was Sims and Gemmell vying for second through the whole race. Gemmell made a push on the last 50 meters to try and catch Sims; she split 29.83 to Sims’ 30.09, but ultimately ran out of room to catch her and took third in 1:57.97, a tenth back from the Sandpiper.
Regan Smith was expected to be in the final, but was a late scratch. She’s slated to race the 50 backstroke later in the session.
MEN’S 200 FREESTYLE — FINALS
- World Record: 1:42.00 – Paul Biedermann, GER (2009)
- World Junior Record: 1:42.97 – David Popovici, ROU (2022)
- American Record: 1:42.96 – Michael Phelps (2008)
- U.S. Open Record: 1:44.10 – Michael Phelps, USA (2008)
- Pro Swim Series Record: 1:44.82 – Sun Yang, CHN (2016)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Henry McFadden (JW) – 1:47.23
- Kieran Smith (RACT) – 1:47.33
- Gabriel Jett (UN) – 1:47.41
- Robin Hanson (UN) – 1:48.81
- Drew Kibler (CSC) – 1:49.59
- Zane Grothe (BCH) – 1:50.01
- Jay Litherland (SUN) – 1:51.02
- Jack Dahlgren (UMIZ) – 1:52.19
It was a thrilling final 50 in the men’s 200 freestyle. 17-year-old Henry McFadden turned fourth at the 150, but came blazing home in a 26.66, passing Kieran Smith, Gabriel Jett, and Robin Hanson for the win. His 1:47.23 is a new lifetime best, surpassing the 1:48.27 he swam at Junior Nationals in August 2022. He also moves up to #6 all-time in the boys’ 17-18 age group.
It was Hanson who was first at the 50, while Smith made his move over the middle 100, turning first at the 100 (52.41) and the 150 (1:19.85).
Jett’s time is a new lifetime best, clipping his old mark by .04 seconds.
Drew Kibler, who scratched into the ‘A’ final, finished fifth in 1:49.59, a two second improvement from his prelims time.
WOMEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE — FINALS
- World Record: 1:04.13 – Lilly King, USA (2017)
- World Junior Record: 1:04.35 – Ruta Meilutyte, LTU (2013)
- American Record: 1:04.13 – Lilly King (2017)
- U.S. Open Record: 1:04.45 – Jessica Hardy, USA (2009)
- Pro Swim Series Record: 1:05.32 – Lilly King, USA (2021)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Mona McSharry (TENN) – 1:06.80
- Miranda Tucker (TFA) – 1:07.98
- Sophie Angus (CAN) – 1:08.75
- Byanca Melissa (Reveles) – 1:09.21
- Olivia Andersen (AQJT) – 1:10.25
- Adalene Robill (RAYS) – 1:10.81
- Cecilla Viberg (CARD) – 1:10.88
- Emily Santos (Montverde) – 1:11.19
Tennesee’s Mona McSharry was in control of the women’s 100 breast the whole way, giving the home team their first win of the night. It was a great swim for the Tokyo Olympic finalist, as it was less than a second off her lifetime best of 1:06.29.
McSharry pulled away from the field on the back half of the race, and it was Miranda Tucker who touched second in 1:07.98. Approximately another second back was Canada’s Sophie Angus, who rounded out the podium in 1:08.75. While the front part of the race was quite spaced out, fifth through ninth was separated by less than a second.
MEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE — FINALS
- World Record: 56.88 – Adam Peaty, GBR (2019)
- World Junior Record: 59.01 – Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA (2017)
- American Record: 58.14 – Michael Andrew (2021)
- U.S. Open Record: 58.14 – Michael Andrew, USA (2021)
- Pro Swim Series Record: 58.86 – Adam Peaty, GBR (2017)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Lyubomir Epitropov (TENN) – 1:01.35
- Thomas Cope (CW) – 1:01.82
- Brandon Fischer (TRIV) – 1:01.92
- James Dergousoff (CAN) – 1:01.95
- Chase Kalisz (SUN) – 1:02.01
- Finlay Knox (CAN) – 1:02.09
- Michael Houlie (TENN) – 1:02.38
- Brayden Taivassalo (CAN) – 1:02.40
It was Tennessee’s Michael Houlie who was out first at the 50, turning in 27.90. However, in the final 15 meters, the field came back together and it was anybody’s race to win. At the touch, it was Houlie’s teammate Lyubomir Epitropov who gave Tennessee the win in back to back events, clocking 1:01.35. That’s another strong swim for the Vols, as it’s just over a second off Epitropov’s lifetime best.
Canada was well represented in the final, with James Dergousoff, Finlay Knox, and Brayden Taivassalo all wearing the Canadian cap. They finished fourth, sixth, and eighth respectively. Dergousoff was the fastest of the three, clocking 1:01.95.
WOMEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE — FINALS
- World Record: 26.98 – Xiang Liu, CHN (2018)
- World Junior Record: 27.49 – Minna Atherton, AUS (2016)
- American Record: 27.12 – Katharine Berkoff (2022)
- U.S. Open Record: 27.12 – Katharine Berkoff, USA (2022)
Pro Swim Series Record: 27.43 – Olivia Smoliga, USA (2018)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Kylie Masse (CAN) – 27.38 (PRO SWIM RECORD)
- Katharine Berkoff (NCS) – 27.80
- Olivia Smoliga (SUN) – 28.07
- Josephine Fuller (TENN) – 28.19
- Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) – 28.20
- Kira Toussaint (TNAQ) – 28.70
- Emma Kern (AQJT) – 28.95
- Danielle Hanus (CAN) – 29.17
Instead, it was a head-to-head between Masse and Berkoff. Masse won by almost half a second, setting a new Pro Swim series record in 27.38, breaking Olivia Smoliga‘s record of 27.43, which she set in 2018.
Smoliga was in this heat as well, swimming in her first meet since last April’s U.S. World Trials. Now training at Arizona State, Smoliga finished third in 28.07, .27 seconds back from Berkoff’s second place swim.
In an off event for her, Abbey Weitzeil swam well, clocking 28.20, her second time going sub-30 in the event. Before prelims where she swam 28.46, her best was 30.22, swum at the San Antonio Pro Series in 2021.
MEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE — FINALS
- World Record: 23.71 – Hunter Armstrong, USA (2022)
- World Junior Record: 24.00 – Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS (2018)
- American Record: 23.71 – Hunter Armstrong (2022)
- U.S. Open Record: 23.71 – Hunter Armstrong, USA (2022)
Pro Swim Series Record: 24.66 – Michael Andrew, USA (2019)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Justin Ress (MVN) – 24.49 (PRO SWIM RECORD)
- Hunter Armstrong (CAL) – 24.70
- Daniel Diehl (CUY) – 25.28
- Bjorn Seeliger (UN) – 25.38
- Hunter Tapp (NCS) – 25.55
- Ryan Held (NYAC) – 25.68
- Destin Lasco (UN) – 25.93
- Manuel Martos (ESP) – 25.93
2022 World Champion Justin Ress got it done here in Knoxville, getting the better of world record holder Hunter Armstrong. Ress, who moved to train at Mission Viejo in the spring of last year, set a new Pro Swim Series record, taking about two-tenths of Michael Andrew‘s former record of 24.66 from 2019.
Armstrong finished second in 24.70 and was the only other swimmer to get under 25 seconds. Daniel Diehl, who lit up the Winter Juniors – East meet in December, took third in 25.28, which is a new best time for him by .04 seconds.
Bjorn Seeliger, who burst onto the yards backstroke scene last NCAA season, took fifth in 25.38.
WOMEN’S 100 BUTTERFLY — FINALS
- World Record: 55.48 – Sarah Sjoestrom, SWE (2016)
- World Junior Record: 56.43 – Claire Curzan, USA (2021)
- American Record: 55.64 – Torri Huske (2022)
- U.S. Open Record: 55.78 – Torri Huske, uSA (2021)
- Pro Swim Series Record: 56.38 – Sarah Sjoestrom, SWE (2016)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Ella Jansen (CAN) – 58.92
- Bella Sims (SAND) – 59.86
- Sara Stotler (TENN) – 1:00.36
- Kiley Wilhelm (LIFE) – 1:00.40
- Levenia Sim (TNT) – 1:00.93
- Danielle Hanus (CAN) – 1:01.02
- Emily Thompson (GSCY) – 1:01.17
- Victoria Raymond (CAN) – 1:01.38
The only swimmer under the minute mark in prelims, 17-year-old Ella Jansen had set herself up as the favorite heading into finals. The Tennessee commit backed that up here, winning the women’s 100 butterfly in a lifetime best of 58.92. It’s her first time sub-59, as her previous best was a 59.27 from April 2022.
In her second swim of the session, Bella Sims earned another second-place, touching in 59.86 and the only other swimmer under 1:00. Her time is a lifetime best as well, and marks her first time breaking the minute barrier.
Tennessee’s Sara Stotler rounded out the podium with a 1:00.36, continuing the Vols’ strong session.
MEN’S 100 BUTTERFLY — FINALS
- World Record: 49.45 – Caeleb Dressel, USA (2021)
- World Junior Record: 50.62 – Kristof Milak, HUN (2017)
- American Record: 49.45 – Caeleb Dressel (2021)
- U.S. Open Record: 49.76 – Caeleb Dressel, USA (2021)
- Pro Swim Series Record: 50.92 – Caeleb Dressel, USA (2020)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Luke Miller (NCS) – 52.24
- Ryan Murphy (CAL)/Trenton Julian (MVN) – 52.41
- Ilya Kharun (SAND) – 52.53
- Clement Secchi (UMIZ) – 52.56
- Zach Harting (CARD) – 52.59
- Dare Rose (UN) – 52.79
- Nicolas Albiero (CARD) – 52.95
It was Olympic backstroke gold medalist Ryan Murphy who was out first at the 50, turning in 24.46. However, NC State’s Luke Miller, who turned fifth in 24.93, stormed home with a 27.31 on his back half to earn the win in 52.24. That’s a solid swim for Miller, backing up his win at the U.S. Open at the end of November.
Murphy still had a great swim, tying for second with Trenton Julian in 52.41, which is less than half a second off his lifetime best of 52.04, which he set in May 2021.
Sandpipers’ Ilya Kharun, who had a breakout meet at SC Worlds last month, touched fourth in 52.53. That’s just .22 seconds off the ASU commit’s lifetime best of 52.31.
WOMEN’S 400 IM — FINALS
- World Record: 4:26.36 – Katinka Hosszu, HUN (2016)
- World Junior Record: 4:28.61 – Summer McIntosh, CAN (2022)
- American Record: 4:31.12 – Katie Hoff (2008)
- U.S. Open Record: 4:28.61 – Summer McIntosh, CAN (2022)
- Pro Swim Series Record: 4:31.07 – Katinka Hosszu, HUN (2015)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Katie Grimes (SAND) – 4:35.92
- Katie Ledecky (GSC) – 4:36.09
- Leah Smith (TXLA) – 4:43.20
- Kathryn Hazle (NCA) – 4:46.90
- Alexis Yager (TNAQ) – 4:51.25
- Campbell Chase (COR) – 4:53.24
- Emily Thompson (GSCY) – 4:54.79
- Fernanda Goejj (UMIZ) – 4:56.95
Katie Grimes, the 2022 Worlds silver medalist in this event, built up an absolutely massive lead over the first half of this race. Out in 1:01.21 on the butterfly leg, by the halfway point she had a 5.31 second gap over second place Katie Ledecky, and a six second gap over third-place Leah Smith.
The breaststroke leg was where Ledecky made her move though, splitting 1:19.64 to Grimes’ 1:22.95, which cut the Sanpiper’s lead to just two seconds. On the freestyle leg, Ledecky continued to eat into the gap, until they were essentially neck and neck coming down the stretch in the final 15 meters.
The 17-year-old Grimes managed to hold onto the lead and got the win in 4:35.92, .17 seconds ahead of Ledecky. 4:36.09 is a great swim for Ledecky, as it’s less than a half-second off the lifetime best she swam to win U.S. Nationals. She came home in a blazing 59.75 on the freestyle leg.
Smith kept her hold on third place for the whole race and touched in 4:43.20.
MEN’S 400 IM — FINALS
- World Record: 4:03.84 – Michael Phelps, USA (2008)
- World Junior Record: 4:10.02 – Ilya Borodin, RUS (2021)
- American Record: 4:03.84 – Michael Phelps (2008)
- U.S. Open Record: 4:05.25 – Michael Phelps, USA (2008)
- Pro Swim Series Record: 4:08.92 – Chase Kalisz, USA (2018)
Top 8 Finishers:
- Bobby Finke (SPA) – 4:17.64
- Jay Litherland (SUN) – 4:17.97
- Kieran Smith (RACT) – 4:19.67
- Sean Grieshop (UN) – 4:24.47
- Trenton Julian (MVN) – 4:24.41
- Landon Driggers (TENN) – 4:25.60
- Ilya Kharun (SAND) – 4:26.99
- Matthew Mortenson (RIPT) – 4:30.75
For half of the field, this was the second swim of the night. Trenton Julian and Ilya Kharun, who’d just swum the ‘A’ final of the 100 fly, were 1-3 after the fly leg, but quickly fell back to the rest of the field.
Over the middle 200, it was Bobby Finke in the lead after backstroke, with Jay Litherland about 1.4 seconds behind him. Litherland, who’s one of the many pros who moved to ASU last year, took over on the breaststroke leg with a 1:14.25 split.
In the 800 freestyle on Day 1, Finke didn’t seem to have his trademark closing speed, but he found it for tonight. He closed the gap to Litherland over 75 meters of freestyle, and the two came towards the final touch together. At the end, Finke got the better of Litherland, splitting 57.79 to the Sun Devil’s 58.96, giving him a winning time of 4:17.64.
In his second swim of the night, Kieran Smith pulled himself into third over the breaststroke leg and extended his grip on that position on the freestyle leg. He touched in 4:19.67, well back of the top two but 4.80 seconds ahead of fourth-place Sean Grieshop.