2023 U.S. Pro Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2023 U.S. Pro Championships

We have come to the last session of competition of the 2023 U.S. Pro Championships in Irvine. Day 4 will consist of the fastest heats of the 1500 free, A/B/C finals of the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, and 200 fly, and timed finals of the 400 free relay.

After a 3rd-place finish in the 100 back, Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon is poised to claim the 200 title with the top time in prelims of 2:11.63. NYAC’s Catie Deloof is seeking the sprint free sweep; after having won the 50 free on Day 2, she is top seed headed into the 100 free final. Her 53.98 this morning was almost half a second ahead of Olympic and World champion Simone Manuel (54.44) of Sun Devil Swimming, the second qualifier. Australia’s Ella Ramsay (2:29.54) and Trojan Swim Club’s Isabelle Odgers (2:29.92) will battle for the 200 breast title in a rematch from last night’s 100 breast final, where they finished 1-2, respectively. Longhorn Aquatics’ Dakota Luther (2:08.71), Emma Sticklen (2:09.86), and Kelly Pash (2:10.09) will occupy the middle lanes in the 200 fly final.

100 back champion Jack Aitkins of SwimAtlanta (1:59.19), second seed in the 200 back, will try to sweep the backstrokes but will have to get past Australia’s Ty Hartwell (1:58.85), who qualified first this morning. It will be an exciting race in the 100 free with Brooks Curry (48.29) of LSU, Indiana’s Blake Pieroni (48.69), and Australia’s Maximillian Giuliani (48.63) and Jamie Jack (48.97) in the middle lanes. Longhorn Aquatics’ Will Licon (2:11.74), Max Reich of Indiana (2:11.74), Nick Mahabir of Team Ealite Coronado (2:11.87), and Jake Foster (2:11.91) will repeat the excitement of last night’s 100 breast final in the 200 breast tonight. Mahabir broke the Singaporean national record in prelims. 100 fly champion Aiden Hayes of Wolfpack Elite (1:58.51) and Cal’s Colby Mefford (1:58.66) were the top qualifiers in the 200 fly.


Women’s 1500 Meter Freestyle – Fastest Heat

  • World Record: 15:20.48 – Katie Ledecky (2018)
  • American Record: 15:20.48 – Katie Ledecky (2018)
  • U.S. Open Record: 15:20.48 – Katie Ledecky (2018)
  • Pro Swim Record: 15:20.48 – Katie Ledecky (2018)
  • World Junior Record: 15:28.36 – Katie Ledecky (2014)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 16:45.69


  1. Erica Sullivan (TXLA), 16:21.47
  2. Paige McKenna (WISC), 16:23.92
  3. Maddie Waggoner (JW), 16:25.17
  4. Caroline Pennington (TAC), 16:27.74
  5. Paige Madden (NYAC), 16:29.63
  6. Rachel Stege (ABSC), 16:31.52
  7. Alivia Lindorfer (WISC), 16:34.87
  8. Maya Geringer (OSU), 16:47.05

Caroline Pennington of TAC Titans was the early leader, establishing the pace from the outset. Just behind her was Wisconsin’s Paige McKenna. Her teammates Elle Braun and Alivia Lindorfer, in lanes 7 and 8, were with the leaders through the first 100. Maddie Waggoner from Jersey Wahoos moved from 5th to 3rd place on the second 100. The top 5 swimmers continued to move in formation through the first 500 meters.

McKenna began closing in on Pennington and finally got past her at the 700 wall. She held the lead through the 1250. Erica Sullivan, who had been trailing in 6th place at the 500, moved to 5th at the 600, 4th at the 650, and 3rd at the 800. Ousplitting the leaders by 1 second per 100, she eventually moved to 2nd place at the 1100 and took over the lead at the 1300.

From there it was no looking back, and Sullivan cruised to a 16:21.47 victory with two bodies of clear water in her wake. McKenna held her spot at 2nd, finishing with 16:23.92. Waggoner came from behind to take 3rd with 16:25.17.

Men’s 1500 Meter Freestyle – Fastest Heat

  • World Record: 14:31.02 – Yang Sun (2012)
  • American Record: 14:36.70 – Bobby Finke (2022)
  • U.S. Open Record: 14:42.81 – Bobby Finke (2023)
  • Pro Swim Record: 14:53.12 – Jordan Wilimovsky (2016)
  • World Junior Record: 14:46.09 – Franko Grgic (2019)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 15:39.89


  1. Matthew Galea (AUS), 14:57.19
  2. Michael Brinegar (TST), 14:59.54
  3. Daniel Matheson (SUN), 15:01.95
  4. Will Gallant (WOLF), 15:18.94
  5. Mason Edmund (OSU), 15:20.18
  6. Alex Axon (OSU), 15:20.18
  7. Dylan Porges Avila (TST), 15:36.17
  8. Trey Dickey (AGS), 15:36.38

Swimming in lane 3, Matthew Galea of Australia jumped out to an early lead, followed by Daniel Matheson of Sun Devil Swimming, Michael Brinegar from The Swim Team, and Tennessee’s Jake Narvid at the 100. Brinegar moved into 2nd place at the 200, followed by Matheson and Narvid.

Galea, Brinegar, and Matheson began little by little to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Will Gallant of Wolfpack Elite was with them at the 300, 400, 500, and 600, but the gap began to get wider from then on.

Brinegar began to press Galea on the middle 500. Matheson was pushing the leaders, as well. Brinegar took over the lead at the 900, but Galea took it back at the 1000. Brinegar was back in front at the 1100 and the 1200. But Galea kicked into another gear at the 1300, breaking away with 29-mids, then 29-lows, to win by 2 body lengths in 14:57.19. It was a best time by 13 seconds for the Australian.

Brinegar followed with his first sub-15 (14:59.54), while Matheson hung on for third in 15:01.95, a PB by 18 seconds.

Women’s 200 Meter Backstroke – Finals

  • World Record: 2:03.14 – Kaylee McKeown (2023)
  • American Record: 2:03.35 – Regan Smith (2019)
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:03.80 – Regan Smith (2023)
  • Pro Swim Record: 2:04.76 – Regan Smith (2023)
  • World Junior Record: 2:03.35 – Regan Smith (2019)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:13.59


  1. Phoebe Bacon (WISC), 2:09.30
  2. Hannah Fredericks (AUS), 2:09.87
  3. Josephine Fuller (TNAQ), 2:11.81
  4. Alicia Wilson (MVN), 2:13.08
  5. Anna Freed (ISC), 2:13.16
  6. Caroline Bentz (VT), 2:13.69
  7. Natalie Mannion (ALTO), 2:16.77
  8. Elyse Heiser (ISC), 2:18.17

Hannah Fredericks of Australia got out to a quick start to lead at the 50, flipping at 30.31 ahead of Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon (30.55). Bacon answered with a strong second 50, outsplitting Fredericks, 32.3 to 32.7. They both split 33.6 on the third 50 and headed into the final 50 meters separated by just a couple of tenths. Bacon upped her tempo down the stretch and moved out of reach of the Australian. At the touch, it was Bacon with 2:09.30 and Fredericks with 2:09.87.

Josephine Fuller of Tennessee Aquatics held her spot at third from lane 3 throughout, going 2:11.81 for third. Alicia Wilson of Mission Viejo, who had been in 6th place at the halfway point, came in 4th with 2:13.08, just squeaking by Caroline Bentz and Anna Freed on the last 50.

Men’s 200 Meter Backstroke – Finals

  • World Record: 1:51.92 – Aaron Peirsol (2009)
  • American Record: 1:51.92 – Aaron Peirsol (2009)
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:51.92 – Aaron Peirsol (2009)
  • Pro Swim Record: 1:55.04 – Xu Jiayu (2017)
  • World Junior Record: 1:55.14 – Kliment Kolesnikov (2017)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:01.69


  1. Jack Aikins (SA), 1:57.82
  2. Ty Hartwell (AUS), 1:58.05
  3. Ian Grum (ABSC), 1:58.52
  4. Sam Powe (ABSC), 1:59.86
  5. Landon Driggers (TNAQ), 2:00.19
  6. Tristan Jankov (OSU), 2:01.57
  7. Tim Gallagher (UH), 2:02.23
  8. Thomas Hauck (AUS), 2:05.18

Swimming in lane 5 with the second-fastest qualifying time, SwimAtlanta’s Jack Aikins went after the 200 back with gusto. He led from the first 50 (27.50). Ian Grum of Athens Bulldog Swim Club followed closely with 27.60, while Ty Hartwell from Australia flipped in third with 27.93. Grum’s teammate Sam Powe was another tenth back; the rest of the field was half a body behind already.

Grum pulled even with Aikins on the second 50; they both turned in 57.5. Hartwell was half a body back with 58.0.

It was Aikins, followed by Grum, followed by Hartwell on the third turn. All of the sudden, Hartwell turned on the jets and came roaring home on the fourth 50. He split 29.6, or more than six-tenths faster than Aikins. Hartwell passed Grum and would have caught Aikins if he’d had more pool, but Aikins got his hand to the wall just in time to complete the backstroke sweep.

Aikins finished with 1:57.82, touching out Hartwell by .23. Grum was another .47 back with 1:58.52 for third place.

Women’s 100 Meter Freestyle – Finals

  • World Record: 51.71 – Sarah Sjostrom (2017)
  • American Record: 52.04 – Simone Manuel (2019)
  • U.S. Open Record: 52.54 – Simone Manuel (2018)
  • Pro Swim Record: 53.12 – Sarah Sjostrom (2016)
  • World Junior Record: 52.70 – Penny Oleksiak (2016)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 55.79


  1. Catie Deloof (NYAC), 54.06
  2. Simone Manuel (SUN), 54.21
  3. Grace Cooper (TXLA), 54.86
  4. Kristina Paegle (ISC), 54.98
  5. Chloe Stepanek (LIAC), 55.10
  6. Alexandria Perkins (AUS), 55.16
  7. Isabel Ivey (GSC), 55.36
  8. Katherine Zenick (OSU), 55.53

It was a wire-to-wire win for NYAC’s Catie Deloof in the 100 free, adding her second sprint title of the meet after the 50 free on Day 2. Deloof was out in 25.92, with a clear advantage over the field as no one else broke 26 seconds on the front half.

Behind Deloof at the 50 wall were Longhorns’ Grace Cooper (26.03), Indiana’s Kristina Paegle (26.27), and Simone Manuel from Sun Devil Swimming (26.38).

Manuel smoked the field over the back half, splitting the only sub-28 (27.83) and passing Cooper and Paegle en route to a a second-place finish with 54.21.

Manuel fell .15 short of catching Deloof, but the nearly half-second deficit she’d had at the halfway point proved too much.

Deloof’s back half was the second-fastest; she came home in 28.1 to finish with 54.06 and the 100 free title.

Men’s 100 Meter Freestyle – Finals

  • World Record: 46.86 – David Popovici (2022)
  • American Record: 46.96 – Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • U.S. Open Record: 47.39 – Ryan Held/Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • Pro Swim Record: 48.00 – Nathan Adrian (2016)
  • World Junior Record: 46.86 – David Popovici (2022)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 49.99


  1. Maximillian Giuliani (AUS), 48.21
  2. Brooks Curry (LSU), 48.36
  3. Jonny Kulow (SUN), 48.61
  4. Blake Pieroni (ISC), 48.70
  5. Brett Pinfold (SHAC), 49.08
  6. Jezze Gorman (AUS), 49.20
  7. Jamie Jack (AUS), 49.39
  8. Luke Maurer (ROSE), 49.46

For the second time in as many events, an Australian swimmer came from seemingly out of nowhere to challenge the leader over the final meters of the race. This time, he got him.

LSU’s Brooks Curry took it out very fast, nearly two-tenths faster than he’d gone on the front half this morning. In prelims, he had split 22.91/25.3 for 48.29. Tonight, he led off with 22.75 and flipped a shoulder ahead Sun Devil Swimming’s Jonny Kulow (23.06). Indiana’s Blake Pieroni (23.31) was just a tick ahead of Australia’s Maximillian Giuliani (23.35).

Giuliani picked them off, one by one, on the second half. His split was 24.86, more than seven-tenths faster than Curry’s. Giuliani had the momentum going into the wall. He stopped the clock at 48.21. Curry, whose second 50 was the sixth-fastest, took second in 48.36. Kulow and Pieroni finished third and fourth with 48.61 and 48.70. No one else broke 49 seconds.

Women’s 200 Meter Breaststroke – Finals

  • World Record: 2:17.55 – Evgeniia Chikunova (2023)
  • American Record: 2:19.59 – Rebecca Soni (2012)
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:20.38 – Rebecca Soni (2009)
  • Pro Swim Record: 2:20.77 – Annie Lazor (2019)
  • World Junior Record: 2:19.64 – Viktoria Gunes (2015)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:31.69


  1. Ella Ramsay (AUS), 2:27.41
  2. Mikayla Smith (AUS), 2:27.63
  3. Isabelle Odgers (TROJ), 2:28.15
  4. Kaitlyn Nguyen (NOVA), 2:29.86
  5. Emma Weyant (GCS), 2:30.62
  6. Josie Panitz (OSU), 2:31.61
  7. Channing Hanley (TXLA), 2:32.49
  8. Brearna Crawford (ISC), 2:35.63

Australia’s Mikayla Smith went out quickly from lane 3, establishing an early lead over the field, in much the same way she’d done in last night’s 100 breast final. Smith turned at 32.3 for the first 50, putting a full body length between herself and the rest of the field. The next wave consisted of Kaitlyn Nguyen from the host team Irvine Novaquatics, (33.61), Australia’s Ella Ramsay (33.67), and Trojan Swim Club’s Isabelle Odgers (33.77).

It was Odgers who nearly ran down Smith in the 100 final last night. She and Ramsay moved past Nguyen on the second 50, clocking 1:11.3s to trail Smith by 1.8 seconds.

Ramsay put on an astonishing display of speed on the final 50, though, coming home in 37.63, matching her second split and outpacing the field by between 1 and 2 seconds. She erased the 2.01-second lead Smith had held over her at the 150 wall and finished in front by .22.

The Aussie’s went 1-2 with Ramsay going 2:27.41 and Smith, 2:27.63.

Odgers came in third with 2:28.15, while Nguyen notched an Olympic Trials cut with 2:29.86 for fourth.

Men’s 200 Meter Breaststroke – Finals

  • World Record: 2:05.48 – Qin Haiyang (2023)
  • American Record: 2:07.17 – Josh Prenot (2016)
  • S. Open Record: 2:07.17 – Josh Prenot (2016)
  • Pro Swim Record: 2:08.95 – Andrew Wilson (2018)
  • World Junior Record: 2:08.83 – Zhihao Dong (2023)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:15.99


  1. Jake Foster (RAYS), 2:08.23
  2. Will Licon (TXLA), 2:09.51
  3. Max Reich (ISC), 2:11.35
  4. Nick Mahabir (CSTE), 2:12.24
  5. Jason Louser (CAL), 2:12.35
  6. Charlie Swanson (NOVA), 2:13.01
  7. Ben Dillard (TROJ), 2:13.95
  8. Joshua Yong (AUS), 2:15.99

Jake Foster from Mason Manta Rays completed the breaststroke sweep, going 2:08.23 to add the 200 breast to his 100 title from last night. He was also 2-for-2 with personal bests. After breaking 1:00 in the 100 on Friday, he clocked a massive 2:08.23 to shave .77 seconds off his previous best and take down the Pro Swim record in the process.

The fourth-seeded Foster took it out right away from lane 6, staying in front of the field from start to finish. He split 28.96/32.6/33.1/33.4 for a 1:01.5/1:06.6.

Behind Foster, Charlie Swanson from Nova of Virginia, Cal’s Jason Louser, Longhorn’s Will Licon, Elite Coronado’s Nick Mahabir, and Indiana’s Max Reich were all bunched at the 50.

Licon moved into second place at the 100 (1:02.31), followed by Louser (1:02.75). While Licon stuck to Foster, the rest of the field battled for third place. Reich passed Swanson and pulled even with Louser on the third 50. Then Mahabir made his move on the fourth 50.

Women’s 200 Meter Butterfly – Finals

  • World Record: 2:01.81 – Liu Zige (2009)
  • American Record: 2:03.87 – Regan Smith (2023)
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:03.87 – Regan Smith (2023)
  • Pro Swim Record: 2:05.05 – Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • World Junior Record: 2:04.70 – Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:13.69


  1. Dakota Luther (TXLA), 2:06.79
  2. Kelly Pash (TXLA), 2:08.00
  3. Emma Sticklen (TXLA), 2:08.96
  4. Alyssa Graves (OSU), 2:11.31
  5. Lillie Nordmann (ALTO), 2:11.95
  6. Greta Pelzek (GAME), 2:12.20
  7. Brittany Castelluzzo (AUS), 2:12.23
  8. Leah Gingrich (KA), 2:12.56

Longhorn Aquatics swept the podium, much as expected, with Dakota Luther (2:06.79) winning gold and teammates Kelly Pash (2:08.00) and Emma Sticklen (2:08.96) taking home silver and bronze.

Luther led at the 50 (28.71), with Alto Swim Club’s Lillie Nordmann (28.80) and Australia’s Brittany Castelluzzo (28.83) keeping close company. Sticklen moved past Nordmann and Castelluzzo on the second 50, turning in second place behind Luther (1:01.08) with 1:01.38. Nordmann was in third place with 1:01.61.

The second half of the race saw Pash move past Nordmann into third place at the 150 wall, then past her teammate Sticklen down the stretch. Pash had the fastest final 50 in the field, splitting 32.93 to finish nearly a full second ahead of Sticklen.

Men’s 200 Meter Butterfly – Finals

  • World Record: 1:50.34 – Kristof Milak (2022)
  • American Record: 1:51.51 – Michael Phelps (2009)
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:52.20 – Michael Phelps (2008)
  • Pro Swim Record: 1:53.84 – Luca Urlando (2019)
  • World Junior Record: 1:53.79 – Kristof Milak (2017)
  • 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 2:00.49


  1. Trenton Julian (MVN), 1:56.91
  2. Colby Mefford (CAL), 1:58.01
  3. Jay Litherland (SUN), 1:58.31
  4. Aiden Hayes (WOLF), 1:58.92
  5. Cotton Fields (DM), 1:59.65
  6. Sam Artmann (TXLA), 1:59.70
  7. Trey Dickey (AGS), 1:59.94
  8. Ascanio Fernandez Pinto Urbina (MEX), 2:00.95

Wolfpack Elite’s Aiden Hayes seemed to use the same strategy he had done in winning the 100 fly on Friday night: take it out hard and hang on. This time it was less effective.

Hayes had a distinct advantage at the 50, turning in 25.48 to lead Colby Mefford (25.77) and Trenton Julian (25.87) by a few tenths. He was still ahead at the 100 with 55.01, but Julian had outsplit him by a tenth with 29.43 on the second 50, and was closing the gap. Julian passed Mefford at the halfway point and was in second place at the start of the third 50.

Julian went 30.36 on the third 50, but Mefford was even faster (30.2). Hayes, while still in second place at the 150 wall, had faded with a split of 30.8. Meanwhile, Sun Devil Swimming’s Jay Litherland was moving up to catch the lead pack. He split 30.5 on his third 50 and his fourth 50 was the fastest of the group; he outsplit Hayes by 2 full seconds on the final 50 and wound up in third place, nearly overtaking Mefford.

Julian increased his lead over Mefford on the final 50 and notched a final time of 1:56.91.

Women’s 400 Meter Freestyle Relay


  1. Australia, 3:41.40
  2. Alto Swim Club, 3:42.38
  3. Wisconsin Aquatics, 3:46.20
  4. California Aquatics, 3:47.28
  5. Ohio State A, 3:47.46
  6. Missouri, 3:47.96
  7. Indiana Swim Club, 3:48.27
  8. Ohio State B, 3:57.63

Mia O’Leary (55.68), Alexandria Perkins (54.74), Lily Price (55.67), and Brittany Castelluzzo (55.31) combined for 3:41.40 to win the lone 400 free relay heat. Alto Swim Club was in furious pursuit, trading stroke for stroke with the Australians throughout the race. Aurora Roghair (55.89), Lillie Nordmann (54.79), Kristi McEnroe (55.75), and Gigi Johnson (55.95) contributed to Alto’s effort.

Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle Relay


  1. Indiana Swim Club, 3:17.08
  2. Australia, 3:17.23
  3. Wisconsin Aquatics, 3:19.85
  4. Athen Bulldog Swim Club, 3:20.24
  5. Ohio State A, 3:22.16
  6. Alto Swim Club, 3:23.07
  7. Aggie Swim Club, 3:24.00
  8. Missouri, 3:25.89

Indiana’s Luke Barr (50.23), Blake Pieroni (48.85), Gavin Wight (49.43), and Brendan Burns (48.57) robbed Australia of a clean sweep of the relays.

After Australia led off with Thomas Nowakowski (49.77), Pieroni made up the half-second deficit by outsplitting Jezze Gorman (49.35) to put Indiana in front by .04, 1:39.08 to 1:39.12.

On the third 100, Jamie Jack (49.35) got the lead back for Australia, 2:28.47 to 2:28.51.

Brendan Burns was two-tenths faster than 100 free champion Maximillian Giuliani (48.76), giving Indiana the victory, 3:17.08 to 3:17.23.


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Bobo Gigi
1 month ago

Again I see in the splits that many Australians have that ability to change gear in the last 50. They come home like bullets on freestyle and backstroke. It’s obvious at worlds with Chalmers, O’Callaghan, Titmus or McKeown and it’s the case with several swimmers of that Australian B-team in Irvine too.

1 month ago

Pretty much all of the Aussie squad seems to have benefitted from this experience.

Thanks for having us!

1 month ago

Huge swims for Jake this weekend would have made the world’s team and will have another opportunity to go faster at Pan-am’s let’s see if he can put himself in a great position to make the US Olympic team for next year.

Underachieving swimmer
1 month ago

Jake Foster with a 2:08.23. He’s been crushing this meet. Maybe he missed his taper a few weeks ago?

Licon with a 2:09.51. Solid swim but his best years are clearly past. Hoping he can win a medal at Pan-Ams.

Reply to  Underachieving swimmer
1 month ago

Foster would have made the WC team over Matheny with that time.

1 month ago

Curry needs to figure out a 100 free race strategy that gets him home better in the back half. A good 200 freestyler like him ought to be able to come back in sub 25 and certainly better than 25.6.

Reply to  swimfan717
1 month ago

He went out like a rocket and paid dearly for it. The announcer got pretty excited there with 25 to go, then…

Underachieving swimmer
1 month ago

Jack Kelly has such an aesthetic, long, and smooth breaststroke.

Jay Ryan
Reply to  Underachieving swimmer
1 month ago

Brown Univ swimmer had a good meet

1 month ago

What a meet Giuliani has had 48.21 🔥🔥

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

May get confusing in future chats when Aussies talking about him and Murricans talking about their sprinter GIuliano lol

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

like leah neale and lia neal

1 month ago

Giuliani with 48.21 👀

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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