2023 U.S. Open Championships – Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2023 U.S. Open Swimming Championships

The 2023 U.S. Open Swimming Championships commence tonight in Greensboro, North Carolina. Tonight’s session will be a short one, with just the timed finals of the men’s and women’s 800 freestyle to kick off the competition.

Three-time defending Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky highlights the women’s 800 freestyle fastest heat. She won the world title in the event this past summer (8:08.87) after posting the 3rd fastest time in history a month before in Indianapolis (8:07.07). Ledecky won the event last year in a time of 8:13.90, and holds the meet record (8:12.81) from 2021.

World Championship team member Jillian Cox will also be present in tonight’s 800 freestyle timed final, coming off a 6th place finish in Fukuoka this past summer. She recorded a personal best time of 8:19.73 en route to her 6th place finish at Worlds. Cox has had a major breakthrough in 2023, lowering her 800 best time from 8:30.38 down to 8:19.73 in less than a year.

Olympic Gold Medalist Bobby Finke headlines the fastest heat of the men’s 800 free. His entry time of 7:38.67 leads the field by over 12 seconds after this summer’s World Champion, Ahmed Hafnaoui, withdrew from the event.

Luka Mijatovic, the 14-year-old from the Pleasanton Seahawks, will be one to watch in tonight’s fastest heat. Mijatovic will swim in lane 1, seeded 7th with his 13-14 NAG record of 7:59.64.

You can catch tonight’s action live on YouTube:

Women’s 800 Freestyle – Timed Final

Podium:

  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC) –  8:15.91
  2. Paige Madden (NYAC) – 8:29.91
  3. Jillian Cox (TXLA) – 8:33.77

Katie Ledecky opened up the meet with a decisive win in the 800 freestyle, posting a time of 8:15.91 to win by exactly 14 seconds. Ledecky’s time of 8:15.91 is about 2 seconds shy of the 8:13.90 she posted to take the win at this meet last year.  Ledecky took the race out strong, splitting 4:06.10 through the first 400 before closing in 4:09.81. Ledecky will contest the 400 freestyle prelims tomorrow morning.

Paige Madden, who is currently training under Bob Bowman at ASU, posted a time of 8:29.91 to grab 2nd place. Her time checks-in just shy of her 8:27.99 best time, which she posted to win the Pan American Games last month.

TXLA’s Jillian Cox touched in 8:33.77 to place 3rd overall. Cox has been as fast as 8:19.73 in the event, which she posted en route to a 6th place finish at the World Championships last summer.

Men’s 800 Freestyle – Timed Final

  • World Record: 7:32.12 – Lin Zhang (2009)
  • American Record: 7:38.67 – Bobby Finke (2023)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 7:47.27 – Chad La Tourette (2009)

Podium:

  1. Charlie Clark (OSU) – 7:50.49
  2. David Johnston (TST) – 7:53.87
  3. Ilia Sibirtsev (UOFL) – 7:54.36

David Johnstonwho is taking a redshirt year to train under Mark Schubert in California, took an early lead through the first 550m. OSU’s Charlie Clark then took over the lead and never relinquished it, recording a final time of 7:50.49 to grab the win. The time by Clark checks-in just off his best time (7:50.07), which he recorded at the 2022 International Team Trials.

Clark spoke with USA Swimming after the completion of his race, and made the following remarks:

“That was my first 800m since the world champs back in July, so I was really just focusing on my race plan more than anything. I was trying to focus on going out pretty controlled but trying to stay relevant in the race and not getting too far behind, then building the race as I went on to see how far I could finish.” 

“My best time is about .3 faster than that so I was like right on my best unrested this time of year so I couldn’t be happier with a time like that. It’s faster than I was at [nationals] this past year.”

Johnston touched in 2nd place tonight with a time of 7:53.87. The swim is about 2 seconds shy of his best time (7:51.70), which he recorded to place 5th at this summer’s World Championship Trials.

Ilia Sibirtsev of Louisville posted a 7:54.36 in heat 3 to take 3rd overall. His swim takes over 21 seconds off his entry time of 8:15.50. Sibirtsev is a graduate student at Louisville and is a native of Barnaul, Russia.

2021 Olympic Champion Bobby Finke posted a time of 7:54.90 to grab 4rd place. The performance by Finke is on par with where he is usually at around this time of the year, having posted a similar time (7:54.07) at the 2021 U.S. Open.

Luka Mijatovic, who owns the 13-14 national age group record in the event, posted a time of 8:05.44 to place 8th overall.

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Ploki
2 months ago

Summer Mcintosh scratched the 200 IM.
Hafnaoui not in 400 free heats.

John26
2 months ago

What’s the slowest Ledecky has swam in a finals 800free since becoming Olympic champion? Also curious about the slowest prelims swim

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  John26
2 months ago

she was 8:22.41 at 2013 trials, she would have slower results if you can find an inseason time from that year

Last edited 2 months ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
Yoooc
Reply to  John26
2 months ago

She went 8:21 last year

Swimdad
2 months ago

Very difficult to evaluate performances at this meet as most top college swimmers have finals approaching so are skipping and top pros making appearances for sponsorship requirements are will have minimal rest.

Swimfan27
2 months ago

That’s a fast time and huge drop from Ilia Sibirtsev. What nation does he compete for?

I miss the ISL
Reply to  Swimfan27
2 months ago

He’s Russian

nuotofan
Reply to  Swimfan27
2 months ago

Sibirtsev was a huge prospect: at 18, at Junior Worlds19 in Budapest, he was second in the 800 free in 7.48.05 and third in the 1500 free in 15.05.17, both races won by the great 16 year-old Croatian Franko Grgic.

ScovaNotiaSwimmer
2 months ago

Big PB for Sienna Angove. I think she’s a strong sprinter too, I’ve think she’s a dark horse to make Canada’s Olympic team as a relay swimmer.

Tanner-Garapick-Oleksiak-McIntosh
Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
2 months ago

Sienna looked really smooth in her swim and that’s a great PB for her. Looking forward to seeing her swim her other events later in the meet.

On another note it looks like Summer scratched the 2IM tomorrow. SnailSpace had an inkling she may do that and he was right. Would have been a really tough double for her. I guess the big matchup between her and Douglass and Walsh will have to wait.

ScovaNotiaSwimmer
Reply to  Tanner-Garapick-Oleksiak-McIntosh
2 months ago

Yanyan will be devastated!

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Tanner-Garapick-Oleksiak-McIntosh
2 months ago

Nooooo. The 2IM was going to be way more interesting than the 400 free tbh

snailSpace
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
2 months ago

Agreed. This is my “my disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined” moment.

ACC fan
2 months ago

Ilia just bumped Finke to 4th

I miss the ISL
2 months ago

Um okay bobby looks like the Gators didn’t rest at all

chickenlamp
Reply to  I miss the ISL
2 months ago

That’s what I’m choosing to believe too.

Although to be fair I don’t think Finke’s time wasn’t too different from what he normally swims in season

Last edited 2 months ago by chickenlamp
chickenlamp
Reply to  chickenlamp
2 months ago

not able to edit, but meant to say his time wasn’t too different from his normal in season times

stefe
Reply to  I miss the ISL
2 months ago

Jesus…it’s many months away from when he needs to be at his brilliant best.

bubo
2 months ago

First night was an L

ecoach
Reply to  bubo
2 months ago

The success of this meet (being so early) will be how many new Olympic Trial cuts are achieved. And maybe some foreign Nationals getting some Olympic times. (Where are you Hafnoui?)