2023 Pro Swim Series – Knoxville: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap

PRO SWIM SERIES – KNOXVILLE

After yesterday’s distance session, today will be the first full day of racing in Knoxville. This is the first of four stops of the 2023 Pro Swim Series, with the next three being Ft. Lauderdale (FL), Westmont (IL), and Mission Viejo (CA).

This morning’s session will feature the prelims of the 200 free, 100 breast, 50 back, 100 fly, and 400 IM. The top 24 swimmers in each event will advance to finals.

Katie Ledecky leads a deep field in the 200 free, where she will take on the Sandpipers trio of Bella Sims, Katie Grimes, and Claire Weinstein. Canadian Penny Oleksiak is also entered in this event, as she makes her return to racing after getting meniscus surgery in August.

The 50s of strokes also will be contested at this meet for the first time since 2019, with the first being the 50 back today. The women’s 50 backstroke will feature what should be a good match-up between Regan Smith, 2022 World Champion Kylie Masse, and World Champs runner-up Katharine Berkoff. The men’s race is equally as exciting, as it will feature World Champion Justin Ress, World Record holder Hunter Armstrong, and age-group star Daniel Diehl.

The last event of the day is the 400 IM, where Grimes and Ledecky will face each other once again, with the addition of Leah Smith. For the men, Bobby Finke, Kieran Smith, and Jay Litherland are entered well ahead of the rest of the field.

WOMEN’S 200 FREESTYLE — PRELIMS

  • 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 (2012)/ Katie Ledecky (2021)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:54.40 – Katie Ledecky (2021)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC) – 1:57.05
  2. Erin Gemmell (NCAP) – 1:58.27
  3. Regan Smith (SUN) – 1:59.10
  4. Bella Sims (SAND) – 1:59.50
  5. Claire Weinstein (SAND) – 1:59.56
  6. Ella Jansen (CAN) – 2:00.52
  7. Brooklyn Douthwright (TENN) – 2:00.56
  8. Katie Grimes (SAND) – 2:00.70

Katie Ledecky cruised to the top seed of the morning, clocking a 1:57.05. She opened in a 57.04, then split 29.98 and 30.03 to finish out her morning swim. She is followed by 18-year-old Erin Gemmell who won heat 7 in 1:58.27.

The Sandpipers got three into the top 8, led by Bella Sims who qualified in 4th. Claire Weinstein and Katie Grimes got in at 5th and 8th, respectively. All three were well off their personal best times and could easily be faster this evening.

Brooklyn Douthwright from Tennessee was the only athlete in the top 8 who dropped time from her seed time. Though not a personal best, Douthwright had a great swim to win heat 5 in a 2:00.56.

Penny Oleksiak was a notable no-show in heat 6.

MEN’S 200 FREESTYLE — PRELIMS

  • 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 (2008)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:44.82 – Sun Yang (2016)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Henry McFadden (JW) – 1:48.81
  2. Kieran Smith (RACT) – 1:49.13
  3. Gabriel Jett (UN) – 1:49.59
  4. Robin Hansen (UN) – 1:49.61
  5. Jay Litherland (SUN) – 1:50.42
  6. Jack Dahlgren (UMIZ) – 1:50.49
  7. Zane Grothe (BCH) – 1:51.22
  8. Javier Acevedo (CAN) – 1:51.38

17-year-old Henry McFadden put up a strong swim this morning to take the top seed heading into tonight’s final. He was just under second off his personal best time of 1:48.27, which he did this past August at Summer Juniors.

Following McFadden, Kieran Smith, Gabriel Jett, and Robin Hansen all posted prelims times under the 1:50.00 mark. All three added at least a few seconds to their entry times, meaning it could be anyone’s race tonight.

Drew Kibler who came into the meet as the 2nd seed, missed the A-final and will be at the top of the B having swam a 1:51.73 this morning.

WOMEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE — PRELIMS

  • World Record: 1:04.13 – Lilly King, USA (2017)
  • World Junior Record: 1:04.35 – Ruta Meilutyte, ESP (2013)
  • American Record: 1:04.13 – Lilly King, USA (2017)
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:04.45 – Jessica Hardy (2009)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:05.32 – Lilly King (2021)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Mona McSharry (TENN) – 1:07.36
  2. Sophie Angus (CAN) – 1:09.14
  3. Miranda Tucker (TFA) – 1:09.53
  4. Byanca Villanueva (RVL) – 1:10.13
  5. Olivia Anderson (AQJT) – 1:10.58
  6. Emily Santos (MVAC) – 1:11.08
  7. Adalene Robillard (RAYS) – 1:11.27
  8. Cecilla Viberg (LOU) – 1:11.45

Tennessee’s Mona McSharry put on a dominating performance in this morning’s prelims, as she will be the top seed by nearly two seconds. She is still about a second off her personal best of 1:06.29, but it looks like it’s her race to lose tonight.

Sophie Angus and Miranda Tucker were the only other athletes under 1:10, with Angus coming in at 1:09.14 and Tucker at 1:09.53. Tucker has the stronger first half between the two of them, as she took it out in 32.39 while Angus’ first 50 was 33.00.

15-year-old Adalene Robillard from the Mason Manta Rays dropped over half a second from her seed time for a 1:11.27, qualifying her in 7th.

MEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE — PRELIMS

  • 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 (2021)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 58.86 – Adam Peaty (2017)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Thomas Cope (CW) – 1:01.66
  2. Lyubomir Epitropov (TENN) – 1:01.78
  3. Chase Kalisz (SUN) – 1:02.04
  4. Brandon Fischer (TRIV) – 1:02.73
  5. Finlay Knox (CAN) – 1:02.73
  6. James Dergousoff (CAN) – 1:02.77
  7. Michael Houlie (TENN) – 1:02.91
  8. Brayden Taivassalo (CAN) – 1:03.03

Thomas Cope came out on top of the prelims by just over a tenth ahead of Tennessee’s Lyubomir Epitropov. The two swam very similar races this morning, with Cope taking it out just 0.04 faster than Epitropov, and finishing less than a tenth faster as well.

Canada got three athletes into the top 8, led by Finlay Knox. Knox clocked a personal best time by half a second to go a 1:02.73 and qualify in 5th. 18-year-old Brayden Taivassalo rounded out the top 8 with a 1:03.03, and will be the youngest in the field by four years.

WOMEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE — PRELIMS

  • 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 (2022)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 27.43 – Olivia Smoliga (2018)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Kylie Masse (CAN) – 27.71
  2. Regan Smith (SUN) – 27.81
  3. Katharine Berkoff (NCS) – 27.95
  4. Olivia Smoliga (SUN) – 28.27
  5. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) – 28.46
  6. Kira Toussaint (TNAQ) – 28.49
  7. Josephine Fuller (TENN) – 28.62
  8. Emma Kern (AQJT) – 29.03

As expected, the final this evening looks to be a race between Kylie Masse, Regan Smith, and Katharine Berkoff. All three of them cleared 28.00 this morning, meaning it could really be anyone’s race to win this evening. Toussaint has the quickest personal best time of the field at 27.10.

Pro Series record-holder Olivia Smoliga could also be in the mix as well, as she posted a 28.27 to qualify in 4th. Behind her, the next three athletes are all within a couple tenths of each other, with Josephine Fuller in 7th at 28.62.

18-year-old Emma Kern from Aquajets rounds out the top 8 with a 29.03.

MEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE — PRELIMS

  • World Record: 23.71 – Hunter Armstrong, USA (2022)
  • World Junior Record: 24.00 – Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS (2018)
  • American Record: 23.71 – Hunter Armstrong, USA (2022)
  • U.S. Open Record: 23.71 – Hunter Armstrong, USA (2022)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 24.66 – Michael Andrew (2019)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Justin Ress (MVN) – 24.88
  2. Hunter Armstrong (CAL) – 25.03
  3. Ryan Held (NYAC) – 25.49
  4. Daniel Diehl (CUY) – 25.51
  5. Bjorn Seeliger (UN) – 25.59
  6. Manuel Martos (ESP) – 25.75
  7. Hunter Tapp (NCS) – 25.77
  8. Destin Lasco (UN) – 25.82

Justin Ress led this field this morning as the only athlete to break 25.00. He clocked a strong 24.88, becoming the top seed in tonight’s final by just over a tenth of a second. As anticipated, World Record holder Hunter Armstrong was also solid this morning, touching the wall at 25.03.

Ryan Held claimed the 3rd-fastest time with a 25.49, which he swam in the final heat of the event in lane 1. Bjorn Seeliger is another one who moved up quite a bit from his entry position, as he won an early heat with a 25.59 to land himself in 5th this morning.

WOMEN’S 100 BUTTERFLY — PRELIMS

  • 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 (2021)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 56.38 – Sarah Sjoestrom (2016)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Ella Jansen (CAN) – 59.86
  2. Bella Sims (SAND) – 1:00.74
  3. Sara Stotler (TENN) – 1:01.06
  4. Kiley Wilhelm (LIFE) – 1:01.26
  5. Emily Thompson (GSCY) – 1:01.32
  6. Danielle Hanus (CAN) – 1:01.42
  7. Victoria Raymond (CAN) – 1:01.50
  8. Levenia Sim (TNT)/Hannah Bellard (CW) – 1:01.55

This will be a young final tonight, as all but one A-finalist is under 20 years old. 17-year-old Ella Jansen from Canada had a strong morning swim to post a 59.86, just half a second off her personal best time of 59.27.

Bella Sims swam the 2nd-fastest time this morning, as she touched the wall at 1:00.74. Sims had a strong back half, splitting only a few tenths slower than Jansen despite finishing nearly a second behind her. Canada had a strong showing in this event, as they got three in again. Danielle Hanus and Victoria Raymond qualified in 6th and 7th, respectively.

There is a swim-off required for the 8th position, as Levenia Sim and Hannah Bellard tied this morning at 1:01.55.

UPDATE: Levenia Sim won the swim-off in 1:00.79, giving her the 8th spot in the A-final.

MEN’S 100 BUTTERFLY — PRELIMS

  • World Record: 49.45 – Caeleb Dressel, USA (2021)
  • World Junior Record: 50.62 – Kristof Milak, HUN (2017)
  • American Record: 49.45 – Caeleb Dressel, USA (2021)
  • U.S. Open Record: 49.76 – Caeleb Dressel (2021)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 50.92 – Caeleb Dressel (2020)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Ilya Kharun (SAND) – 53.00
  2. Clement Secchi (UMIZ) – 53.04
  3. Zach Harting (CARD) – 53.05
  4. Nicolas Albiero (CARD) – 53.06
  5. Luke Miller (NCS) – 53.08
  6. Trenton Julian (MVN) – 53.16
  7. Ryan Murphy (CAL) – 53.20
  8. Dare Rose (UN) – 53.28

This final is shaping up to potentially be the closest of the night, with the top 8 swims this morning all within 0.28 of each other. The top 5 alone are separated by just 0.08 hundredths. 17-year-old Ilya Kharun grabbed the top seed for tonight with a 53.00, taking it out in 25.04 and returning in 27.96

The Louisville duo of Zach Harting and Nicolas Albiero posted the 3rd and 4th-fastest times this morning, respectively. Both were over a second slower than their entry times.

Dare Rose, who was entered as the top seed coming into the meet, completes the top-8 with a 53.28.

WOMEN’S 400 IM — PRELIMS

  • 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 (2022)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 4:31.07 – Katinka Hosszu (2015)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC) – 4:41.87
  2. Katie Grimes (SAND) – 4:42.04
  3. Leah Smith (TXLA) – 4:44.31
  4. Alexis Yager (TNAQ) – 4:49.97
  5. Kathryn Hazle (NCA) – 4:51.07
  6. Emily Thompson (GSCY) – 4:53.86
  7. Fernanda Goeij (UMIZ) – 4:55.47
  8. Campbell Chase (COR) – 4:56.04

Katie Ledecky and Katie Grimes each cruised to victories in their respective heats this morning, with Ledecky edging Grimes overall by a few tenths. Grimes had a much stronger front half than Ledecky, splitting a 2:12.50 at the halfway point to Ledecky’s 2:16.39. Ledecky’s lead comes from the breast and free, as she was three seconds faster on the breaststroke split and two seconds faster on the freestyle split.

Leah Smith could also be in the mix tonight, as she was only a few seconds back from Grimes and Ledecky this morning. Alexis Yager grabbed the 4th-fastest time at 4:49.97, and actually had the best breaststroke split of the top 8 at 1:20.52.

17-year-old Campbell Chase took the last spot in the A-final with a 4:56.04.

MEN’S 400 IM — PRELIMS

  • World Record: 4:03.84 – Michael Phelps, USA (2008)
  • World Junior Record: 4:10.02 – Ilia Borodin, RUS (2021)
  • American Record: 4:03.84 – Michael Phelps, USA (2008)
  • U.S. Open Record: 4:05.25 – Michael Phelps (2008)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 4:08.92 – Chase Kalisz (2018)

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Jay Litherland (SUN) – 4:22.26
  2. Bobby Finke (SPA) – 4:22.33
  3. Landon Driggers (TENN) – 4:22.56
  4. Kieran Smith (RACT) – 4:25.35
  5. Trenton Julian (MVN) – 4:26.89
  6. Sean Grieshop (UN) – 4:27.70
  7. Ilya Kharun (SAND) – 4:27.84
  8. Matthew Mortenson (RIPT) – 4:31.22

It was quite the race this morning in the final heat of this event, with Jay Litherland coming out on top by just 0.07 over Bobby Finke. Tennessee’s Landon Driggers was also in the race as well, as he finished just a few tenths behind the first two at 4:22.56. Finke, unsurprisingly, had the fastest final 100 of the three, splitting a 1:00.13.

Trenton Julian shaved off over a second from his entry time, as he grabbed the 5th-fastest time of the morning at 4:26.89.

A pair of 17-year-olds, Ilya Kharun and Matthew Mortenson, snagged the final two spots in the A-final, clocking a 4:27.84 and 4:31.22, respectively.

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Andrew
14 days ago

50 back is absolutely loaded. Probably the most stacked event for the American men.

Piss Pooler
Reply to  Andrew
14 days ago

I’m so tired of hearing about the 50 back. Honestly who cares.

Admin
Reply to  Piss Pooler
14 days ago

Don’t sleep on the 50 back.

anonymous
14 days ago

5 DQ’s in the Mens 400IM…Yikes guys

Taa
Reply to  anonymous
14 days ago

Maybe that was their race plan

Virtus
Reply to  Taa
14 days ago

I used to passively seek out a dq if there were finals of a 4im at a non taper meet it’s a very respectable plan

Coach
Reply to  Virtus
14 days ago

Coaches hate this one trick

Virtus
Reply to  Coach
14 days ago

Maybe y’all shouldn’t make kids swim it at every meet after 11 years old when they show subtle signs of being natural distance swimmers with good 4 strokes 🤭

Old Sprinter
Reply to  Taa
14 days ago

We had a saying re: the 200 fly. Swim it Once, Swim it Right, Swim it Wrong: Swim Tonight

Ploki
14 days ago

The womens 400 im record info is wrong. US Open and world junior records hasn’t updated since summer McIntosh US Open swim.

Sherry Smit
14 days ago

Where is Manuel?

Hank
Reply to  Sherry Smit
14 days ago

In the 50/100 free later in the meet most likely. Is she swimming any off events?

Taa
Reply to  Sherry Smit
14 days ago

Yikes

Breezeway
14 days ago

“Masse has the quickest personal best time of the field at 27.18.” Berkoff has a 27.12

CanSwim 13
14 days ago

I believe Penny isn’t actually attending the meet

Brayden T
Reply to  CanSwim 13
14 days ago

She’s here. Not racing though

Fish
14 days ago

PB in the 200 for R. Smith tonight? Only .5 off this morning

Gummy Shark
14 days ago

Michael Andrew can swim fast at any meet during any time of the year. Change my mind.

Octavio Gupta
Reply to  Gummy Shark
14 days ago

So many people upset, you forgot to post trigger warning 😂

Jess
Reply to  Gummy Shark
14 days ago

Other than at International Championships*

Fixed it for you.

Patriot
Reply to  Jess
14 days ago

He is an individual World Champion, placed top 5 at the Olympics in 3 individual events, has 6 individual medals from international competition as well as an Olympic gold medal. I wish I would choke that hard at the biggest stages

Last edited 14 days ago by Patriot
Greg
Reply to  Gummy Shark
14 days ago

Where is he?

SwimPoke
Reply to  Greg
14 days ago

Miami for a TYR event.

Guy
Reply to  Greg
14 days ago

Surfing the pacific right now

Hank
Reply to  Gummy Shark
14 days ago

MA is not here