2023 U.S. Open Championships – Day 2 Prelims Live Recap

2023 U.S. OPEN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Good morning, folks. The first preliminary session of the 2023 U.S. Open Swimming Championships is about to be underway. Today’s morning session will see the women’s and men’s 400 free, 200 IM, and 50 free.

Last night, we saw the timed finals of the 800 free, where Katie Ledecky won decisively in a time of 8:15.91. Ledecky will be looking to earn top billing tonight in the 400 free but enters as the 2nd seed as the top spot is held by the 17-year-old Canadian, Summer McIntosh. McIntosh, the Junior World Record holder, is entered with a 3:56.08, two full seconds ahead of Ledecky’s 3:58.73. The two raced each other at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, with the American coming out on top 3:58.73 (good for silver) to 3:59.94 (which placed 4th).

In the men’s 400 free, the US men will be looking to crack the top-10 world rankings as the top seed, David Johnston sits 14th in the list with his 3:45.75. Johnston, who placed 17th in Fukuoka, touched 2nd in the 800 last night, finishing in a time of 7:53.87, three seconds behind OSU’s Charlie Clark. For his part, Clark enters as the 3rd seed in the 400 (3:49.54). Sandwiched between the pair is Kieran Smith. Smith enters with a seed time of 3:45.77, which he swam to finish 9th at the 2023 World Champs.

The women’s 200 IM will be the event of the morning as not only are both Americans from Worlds entered but the pair and training partners, Kate Douglass and Alex Walsh, won the gold and silver medals in Fukuoka. The two, however, will not be able to rest on their laurels as the pair will have to contend with a loaded field that includes compatriots Regan Smith, Torri Huske, Beata Nelson, and Phoebe Bacon. Internationally, the event brings in even more talent in the form of Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko, the Canadian pair of Mary-Sophie Harvey and Ella Jansen, and South African and UVA swimmer Aimee Canny.

The men’s 200 IM sees the American pair from Fukuoka also return as the top seeds. Shaine Casas holds down the top seed with a time of 1:56.06, while Carson Foster sits just behind in a 1:56.19. Looking to break up the pair will be a large group of established talent and up-and-comers as Chase Kalisz, Trenton Julian, and Grant House will look to fight for a spot in the A -final against the younger talents of Ilya Kharun, Baylor Nelson, Hubert Kos and Daniel Diehl.

The session ends with the splash and dash, the 50 free. One length of the pool will decide who moves on to tonight’s final with Abbey Weitzeil (24.00) holding down the top spot. The 50 will be very tight as the top 12 seeds are all entered with times under 24.90. The 50 see a strong mix of collegiate and professional swimmers as Gretchen Walsh (Virginia), Gabi Albiero (Louisville), and Grace Cooper (Texas) will look to contest with Siobhan Haughey, Melanie Henique, and Olivia Smoliga. The pair of Douglass and Huske are pulling double duty, who enter as the 4th and 5th seed, respectively.

The last race of the morning may be the most anticipated as it heralds the return of Caeleb Dressel. Dressel entered with a time of 22.57 and finds himself in heat 9 lane 6, well outside of the circle-seeded heats. Sitting in pole position is Ryan Held, who is entered with a time of 21.50. Joining Held near the top of the rankings are Michael Andrew, Matt King, and Josh Liendo, who all sit within .30 of a second of Held.

Scratches for this morning can be viewed here, and heat sheets for this morning’s session can be viewed here

You can view all of this morning’s excitement live on YouTube:

WOMEN’S 400 FREESTYLE – Prelims

  • World Record: 3:55.38 – Ariarne Titmus (2023)
  • American Record: 3:56.46 – Katie Ledecky (2016)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 3:59.71 – Katie Ledecky (2022)
  • 2022 Time to Advance to A-Final: 4:12.78

Top 8 Qualifiers

  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC) – 4:04.06
  2. Summer McIntosh (SYS) – 4:06.82
  3. Leah Smith (TXLA) – 4:08.87
  4. Paige Madden (NYAC) – 4:09.26
  5. Siobhan Haughey (HKG) – 4:11.42
  6. Anna Peplowski (IU) – 4:13.02
  7. Erin Gemmell (TEX) – 4:13.15
  8. Cavan Gormsen (UVA) – 4:13.41

The fastest time from the first three heats came from the 3rd heat, where Summer Cardwell of the University of Louisville posted a time of 4:16.12, dropping more than half a second off their seed team and was just off the Olympic Trial cut of 4:15.49. Of note, Cardwell finished 32nd in the 400 at Summer Nationals in a time of 4:19.57.  Charging had to finish 2nd in that heat was fellow collegiate swimmer Lindsay Looney of ASU, who finished in 4:16.12.

Heat 4,  saw a massive personal best from Indiana swimmer Anna Peplowski. Peplowski, who made the Worlds team in the 800 free relay, touched in a time of 4:13.02, well under her entry time of 4:15.50 and also getting under the Olympic Trials cut of 4:15.49.

Heat 5, the first of the circle-seeded heats (the published heat sheets circle-seeded the last three heats) saw American record holder Katie Ledecky cruise to the take over the top time, touching in 4:04.06. Ledecky looked very smooth turning at the halfway point in 1:59.86. Last night’s runner-up in the 800, Paige Madden, touched in 2nd at 4:09.26 and Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey touched in 3rd at 4:11.42.

The sixth and final head saw Canadian and Sarasota Sharks swimmer Summer McIntosh take the win in a time of 4:06.82. The World Junior Record holder turned at the 200 in 2:00.48 and finished in a relaxed 1:03.50. The Canadian was never under much pressure as she finished more than two full seconds ahead of Leah Smith, who nabbed 2nd in 4:08.87.

MEN’S 400 FREESTYLE – Prelims

  • World Record: 3:40.07 – Paul Biederman (2009)
  • American Record: 3:42.78 – Larsen Jensen (2008)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 3:45.63 – Zane Grothe (2016)
  • 2022 Time to Advance to A-Final: 3:55.20

Top 8 Qualifiers

    1. Kieran Smith (RAC) – 3:50.69
    2. Drew Kibler (SUN) – 3:51.09
    3. Luca Urlando (DART) – 3:51.45
    4. Illia Sibirtsev (UOFL) – 3:51.55
    5. Carson Foster (RAYS) – 3:51.82
    6. Rex Maurer (UN-PC) – 3:51.99
    7. Charlie Clark (OSU) – 3:52.27
    8. David Johnston (TST) – 3:52.47

Through the halfway point, the early leader is Louisville swimmer Illia Sibirtsev, who stormed to the finish, touching in 3:51.55. Of note, it took a 3:55.20 to make the A-final last year, in fact, the fastest time from prelims last year was just 3:52.13. Sibirtsev is just a few weeks removed from the OSU invite, where he posted a PB in the 500 in a time of 4:16.05.

A loaded Heat 6 and (not even circle-seeded) saw the likes of Henry McFadden, Cason Foster, and Bobby Finke duke it out with the win going to Foster in a time 3:51.82. McFadden would touch ahead of Finke for 2nd, 3:52.53 vs Finke’s 3:53.43. Of note, Age Group phenom and 14-year-old Luka Mijatovic touched in 3:54.00 and currently sits in 5th with two heats remaining.

The first of the circle-seeded heats saw Kieran Smith and Drew Kibler go at it hard. Kibler had the lead at the 200, 1:54.01 vs 1:54.97, but Smith used a strong back half to close the gap and took the win in 3:50.69, posting the top time of the morning so far. Kibler for his part, slides into the #2 spot with a time of 3:51.09, with one heat remaining.

The last heat saw the top two swimmers in the 800 last night, Charlie Clark and David Johnston, fight for the top spot, with OSU’s Clark taking the victory in 3:52.27. Clark used an impressive last 100 of 57.49 to pass Johnston, who finished just behind in 3:52.47. Despite going 1-2 in the final heat, the speed of the previous heats means the pair just squeaked into the A-final tonight, grabbing the outside lanes. To qualify for the A -final this year, required a time nearly three seconds faster than last year.

Just to reinforce that point, the top 16 this morning all had times faster than what it took to qualify for the A-final last year.

WOMEN’S 200 IM – Prelims

  • World Record: 2:06.12 – Katinka Hosszu (2015)
  • American Record: 2:06.15 – Ariana Kukors (2009)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 2:08.20 – Melanie Margalis (2019)
  • 2022 Time to Advance to A-Final: 2:17.19

Top 8 Qualifiers

    1. Kate Douglass (NYAC) – 2:10.03
    2. Regan Smith (SUN) – 2:11.27
    3. Torri Huske (AAC)/Alex Walsh (UVA) – 2:11.42
    4. Anastasia Gorbenko (UN-US) – 2:11.75
    5. Mary-Sophie Harvey (TQ) – 2:11.84
    6. Ashley McMillan (CAN) – 2:13.32
    7. Beata Nelson (WISC) – 2:13.76

Through the first five heats, the top time belongs to Erika Pelaez of Eagle Aquatics. Our #5 ranked recruit in the class of 2024 and NC State commit touched in 2:16.04, posting not only a new personal best but also sliding under the Olympic Trials cut time of 2:16.09.

With only the circle-seeded heats remaining, the top time, so far, is 2:15.72 and is held by Sienna Angove of the Sarasota Sharks. Angove like Pelaez, dropped time from her seed and nabbed an Olympic Trials cut.

The first of the circle-seeded heats certainly didn’t disappoint. Olympians Regan Smith and Torri Huske traded the lead several times with Smith leading at the halfway point 58.99 vs 1:01.12. Huske used an impressive breaststroke split of 38.37 to take the lead but Smith fought back and grabbed the win in 2:11.27 while Huske finished just behind in 2:11.42.

Heat 9 saw reigning World silver medalist, Alex Walsh take to the water. Walsh lead from start to finish but was pushed at the end by Canada’s Mary-Sophie Harvey, who used a 37.69 breast split to move up on Walsh. Walsh would end up touching in 2:11.42 identical to Huske’s time, while the Canadian settled for 2nd in the heat with a time of 2:11.84.

The last heat saw 2023 Worlds gold medalist Kate Douglass, use a strong back half to surge to the win and post the top time of the morning, 2:10.03. Douglass’s 37.12 breast split was the fastest of the field and the difference maker as her nearest competitor, Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko‘s split was 38.88. Gorbenko would end up finishing 2nd in the heat in a time of 2:11.75 and slots her into 5th for tonight.

Much like the men’s 400 free, the women’s 200 IM was much faster than last year. 2:17.19 was 8th in 2022, whereas today that time would be 25th.

It seems like the breaststroke splits also caught the attention of eagle-eyed Braden Keith.

MEN’S 200 IM– Prelims

  • World Record: 1:54.00 – Ryan Lochte (2011)
  • American Record: 1:54.00 – Ryan Lochte (2011)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 1:56.52 – Chase Kalisz (2022)
  • 2022 Time to Advance to A-Final: 2:03.09

Top 8 Qualifiers

    1. Trenton Julian (MVN) – 1:59.09
    2. Hubert Kos (UN-AZ) – 1:59.19
    3. Chase Kalize (SUN) – 1:59.62
    4. Ron Polonsky (UN-US) – 1:59.97
    5. Daniel Diehl (CUY) – 2:00.10
    6. Baylor Nelson (TAMU) – 2:00.59
    7. Grant House (SUN) – 2:00.73
    8. Dominik Mark Torok (WISC) – 2:00.83

Through five heats and halfway through the event, the early leader was Sarasota’s Finn Kemp, who out of Heat 5 Lane 8 posted a time of 2:04.65, bettering his entry time of 2:05.26.

With only the circle-seeded heats remaining, the top time was taken over by Aggie Swim Club’s Anze Fers Erzen who out of Heat 7 touched in 2:01.86, dropping .4 from his seed time. With 24 swimmers remaining and five swimmers already faster than the time to make the A-final last year, much like the women’s 200 IM, this event should be much faster.

Heat 8 saw the Meet Record Holder Chase Kalisz post the first time under 2:00, touching in 1:59.62. Kalisz held off Israel’s Ron Polonsky, who closed in 29.25 (vs. Kalisz 29.51) to finish in 2nd in 1:59.97.

Not wanting to leave anything up to chance Heat 9’s Trenton Julian and Hubert Kos stormed to the top of the rankings finishing in 1:59.09 and 1:59.19 respectively. The pair kept their speed through the last 50 with Julian’s free split being a 28.66 and Kos’s a 28.57. Carson Foster, after qualifying for the 400 Free was a notable DFS.

The last heat saw 2 DNS, Hugo Gonzalez the notable of the pair. Texas A&M’s Baylor Nelson surged to the win, taking it in 2:00.59, with Sun Devil Swimming’s Grant House finishing in 2nd in 2:00.73. The US’s highest-ranked swimmer at Worlds this past summer, Shaine Casas finished 3rd in the heat in a time of 2:01.47 but fell outside of the top 8, ultimately qualifying in 9th.

WOMEN’S 50 FREESTYLE – Prelims

  • World Record: 23.61– Sarah Sjostrom (2023)
  • American Record: 23.97– Simone Manuel (2017)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 24.43 –Simone Manuel (2019)
  • 2022 Time to Advance to A-Final: 25.86

Top 8 Qualifiers

    1. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) – 24.53
    2. Kate Douglass (NYAC) – 24.54
    3. Gretchen Walsh (UVA) – 24.59
    4. Torri Huske (AAC) – 24.76
    5. Siobhan Haughey (HKG) – 24.83
    6. Melanie Henique (CNM) – 25.01
    7. Claire Curzan (TAC)/Simone Manuel (SUN) – 25.11

Through the first seven heats the lead belonged to Kayla Noelle Sanchez out of heat 5, who touched in a time 25.37, bettering her seed time by .42 of a second.

The circle-seeded heats were fast and furious, as expected for how deep the field was. Taking lane 4 tonight and only .10 off the meet record will be Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil who defended her top billing touching in a time of 24.53. Swimming next to her this morning and projected to do so as well tonight will be Kate Douglass who finished the smallest margin behind in 24.54. Her teammate at UVA Gretchen Walsh will flank Weitzeil on the other side tonight, finishing this morning’s swim in a time of 25.49.

Sneaking in tonight’s final, tying for 7th are a pair of swimmers looking to rebound and cement themselves back at the top of American sprinting, as Claire Curzan and Simone Manuel touched in an equal time of 25.11.

MEN’S 50 FREESTYLE – Prelims

  • World Record: 20.91– Cesar Cielo Filho (2009)
  • American Record: 21.04 – Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 21.59 –  Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • 2022 Time to Advance to A-Final: 22.53

Top 8 Qualifiers

    1. Quintin McCarty (NCS) – 21.94
    2. Brooks Curry (CAL) – 22.03
    3. Santo Condorelli (UN-NT) – 22.06
    4. Josh Liendo (FLOR) – 22.07
    5. Ryan Held (NYAC) – 22.14
    6. Mikel Schreuders (CNM) – 22.16
    7. Meiron Cheruti (CNM) – 22.17
    8. Michael Andrew (MASA) – 22.18

Through 8 heats, Canadian World’s swimmer Ruslan Gaziev has the top time of 22.70.

One heat later, swimming out of lane 6, with all eyes watching Caeleb Dressel took over the top time touching in 22.35. At the USA Nationals, Dressel swam a 22.72, which was good for 22nd.

Much like the women’s event, the men’s 50 free was fast and furious with the circle seeded heats battling for the coveted top 8 spots. Taking top honors for tonight’s final will be NC State’s Quintin McCarty. McCarty, who missed ACCs and NCAAs last season due to injury showed up big time. Seeded just 22nd, with an entry time of 22.23 (which placed 10th at USA Summer Nationals) McCarty dropped a monster swim, nipping under 22, to touch in 21.94.

Also posting strong swims from lower in the psych sheet were international swimmers Santo Condorelli and Mikel Schreuders who qualified for tonight’s final in 3rd and 6th, after entering the competition seeded 14th and 13th respectively.

After a disappointing summer and moving to join the Cal pro group, Brooks Curry finds himself as the 2nd seed tonight after having posted a morning swim of 22.03, .11 faster than his swim at Nationals.

Dressel (22.35) finds himself as the 13th seed and is slated to compete against the likes of Alberto Mestre (9th – 22.21), Matt King (12th – 22.30) and Chris Guiliano (t-15th – 22.42).

Like several events this morning, the men’s 50 free was fast. The top 20 swimmers from this morning all would have made the A-final last year. Tennesse’s Guilherme Santos swam 22.50 this morning, which was good for 20th. Last year, Andrej Barna swam 22.53 which qualified him for 8th.

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This Guy
2 months ago

Does anyone else think that Held is a little too bulky up top? Explains why his stroke breaks down as he has to pull much more upper body weight through the water. Balance is off and his hips drop horribly in basically every single race, even his 50. Strength is not just bulk muscle buddy

Swimmer
Reply to  This Guy
2 months ago

Nathan Adrian was a big shouldered swimmer and he did just fine

Hank
2 months ago

Disappointing swim from MA squeaking into the final. Let’s see if he can get under 22 tonight.

Pescatarian
Reply to  Hank
2 months ago

I’m sure he’s in heavy training right now. 🤪

jablo
2 months ago

Luca going 3:51 and not even getting a mention in the recap lol

Just Sayin'
Reply to  jablo
2 months ago

Agreed! First big meet and nothing…. SMH. GO LUCA!

Anything But 50 BR
2 months ago

Prediction:
Ledecky 3:59.84
McIntosh 3:59.38

Sherry Smit
Reply to  Anything But 50 BR
2 months ago

Idk… Ledecky looked cruised in prelims, McIntosh looked like she was stroking really hard at the 250 mark. If I had to guess, Ledecky 4:01.30, McIntosh 4:03.17. I am only saying this cause i think taper is different now that it’s olympic year.

YGBSM
Reply to  Anything But 50 BR
2 months ago

Prediction: the scratch-a-thon continues tomorrow.

PFA
2 months ago

For a US open meet this was one FAST 50 Free finals Time to qualify for. Yes I know there is some international competition but it really makes me wonder what it will take to make semis-finals in Indy?

Bo Swims
Reply to  PFA
2 months ago

41 sub 23s

austinpoolboy
2 months ago

lot of fast swimming! excited for finals

tea rex
2 months ago

One of the underrated benefits of being a butterflyer in IM isn’t necessarily opening up a huge lead. It’s saving energy for the breaststroke by cruising the first leg.

Diehard
Reply to  tea rex
2 months ago

More so in 4IM?

DMSWIM
Reply to  tea rex
2 months ago

I was an IMer with a strong butterfly, and I always cruised the fly leg. My split wasn’t much faster than anyone else’s but it took a lot less energy.

Hhdjhdhd
Reply to  tea rex
2 months ago

I was a breastroker with a very strong fly and free. I loved the back 100 of the 2IM. It felt like everyone was standing still whilst I had nitros on. If my backstroke had been decent I would have been a God.

Vaswammer
Reply to  Hhdjhdhd
2 months ago

Kate Douglass has joined the chat.

PFA
2 months ago

Pleasant surprise from Quintin going 21.9 was not expecting that now

claire curzan fan
Reply to  PFA
2 months ago

awesome comeback arc

Caleb
Reply to  PFA
2 months ago

he’s been having a great year. Dangerous at NCAAs and maybe even next summer.