2023 U.S. Trials: Day 2 Finals Live Recap


Day 2 Finals Heat Sheet

It’s the second night of finals at the 2023 U.S. World Trials. We’ve got another action packed session in store, which includes finals of the 200 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 backstroke, and 50 butterfly.

Relay spots are back up for grabs in the first event of the night: the 200 freestyle. On the women’s side, Katie Ledecky leads the way after going sub-1:56 this morning. Behind her, the race is littered with teenagers as Claire Weinstein, Erin Gemmell, Bella Simsand Alex Shackell are all hoping to punch their tickets to Fukuoka. Weinstein and Gemmell separated themselves from the pack this morning, but Sims to make a move as she tries to secure her first individual roster spot on a senior international team.

Carson Foster scratched out of the men’s 200 free ‘A’ final, but past and present Longhorns still occupy three lanes in the final. That includes Luke Hobson, who dropped a second from his personal best to post the top time in prelims (1:45.12). Watch for Gators Kieran Smith and Jake Mitchell to try and break up the Texas party.

Then, it’s Kate Douglass time in the 200 breaststroke. The 100 freestyle champion looked totally in control this morning, swimming 2:23.87 to grab lane 4 for the final. The men’s breaststroke heralded a changing of the guard this morning as Matt FallonJosh Matheny, and Jake Foster took the top three spots. We’ll see if they stay on top in finals or if veterans Nic Fink and Will Licon will make their move.

In the 200 backstroke, Regan Smith looks to make the team in this event for the first time since 2019, while Phoebe Bacon and Rhyan White look to keep their streak alive. Ryan Murphy holds down the top seed on the men’s side, just out-touching Jack Aikins this morning. Murphy’s Cal teammate Destin Lasco aims to secure an individual event at Worlds after making the 4×100 free relay team last night.

Finally, it’s sprinting time with the 50 butterfly. Gretchen Walsh was on fire this morning, hitting 25.54. She exorcised her demons and made the Worlds team yesterday, now she’ll try to add an individual event. Cal’s Dare Rose is top seed for the men, ahead of 2022 Worlds medalists Michael Andrew and Caeleb Dressel.



  • World Record: 1:52.98, Federica Pellegrini (ITA) — 2009
  • American Record: 1:53.61, Allison Schmitt — 2012
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:54.13, Summer McIntosh (CAN) — 2023
  • Championship Record: 1:54.40, Allison Schmitt — 2012
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 1:58.66
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 4 Time: 1:57.53
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 1:56.25

Top 8:

  1. Claire Weinstein (SAND) — 1:55.26
  2. Katie Ledecky (GSC) — 1:55.28
  3. Bella Sims (SAND) — 1:56.08
  4. Erin Gemmell (NCAP) — 1:56.23
  5. Alex Shackell (CSC) — 1:56.70
  6. Leah Smith (TXLA) — 1:56.91
  7. Anna Peplowski (ISC) — 1:57.59
  8. Alex Walsh (NAC) — 1:58.16

Flashback to this race in 2022– 15-year-old Claire Weinstein surprised us all by finishing second and securing an individual swim and a spot on the relay. It was one of the biggest surprises of the meet. Now a year later, she’s surprised us all again by winning the race.

Weinstein had a monster split on the third 50 (29.47) to move up from fourth to second, trailing Katie Ledecky. Then, she powered home in 29.35, the fastest split in the field to pass Ledecky for the win. It’s a lifetime best for Weinstein, cutting another 1.01 seconds off her lifetime best she swam this morning.

Ledecky finished second, well ahead of Bella Sims, who also dropped about a second to punch her ticket to Fukuoka. This is the third straight time the 18-year-old has made the senior international team in the 4×200 free relay.

Four teenagers finished in the top six. Along side Weinstein and Sims, Erin Gemmell and Alex Shackell finished fourth and fifth. This is both of their first Worlds teams, with Gemmell finally securing a spot after getting left home last year after Ledecky dropped the individual race.

Shackell cut more time off her best, dropping 1.04 seconds from the 1:57.74 she swam this morning. Coming into the meet, her best was a 1:59.49. The swim moves her up to fifth all-time in the 15-16 age group, while Weinstein improves her third place.

MEN’S 200 FREESTYLE — Finals

  • World Record: 1:42.00, Paul Biedermann (GER) — 2009
  • American Record: 1:42.96, Michael Phelps — 2008
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:44.10, Michael Phelps (USA) — 2008
  • Championship Record: 1:44.10, Michael Phelps (USA) — 2008
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 1:47.06
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 4 Time: 1:46.69
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 1:44.98

Top 8:

  1. Luke Hobson (TXLA) — 1:45.18
  2. Kieran Smith (RAC) — 1:45.63
  3. Drew Kibler (CSC) — 1:45.75
  4. Jake Mitchell (FLOR) — 1:46.25
  5. Baylor Nelson (AGS) — 1:46.51
  6. Henry McFadden (JW) — 1:47.02
  7. Zane Grothe (BCH) — 1:47.07
  8. Coby Carrozza (TXLA) — 1:47.10

Through 150 meters, this was Kieran Smith‘s race. He flipped for home in first at 1:18.22 after having led at the 50 and the 100. Drew Kibler was running second, with Luke Hobson in third. Hobson made his move on the final 50, splitting 26.56 to go by both Smith and Kibler for the win. He touched in 1:45.18, just six-hundredths off the personal best he swam this morning.

Smith and Kibler held on for second and third. Smith clocked 1:45.63, dropping about half a second from his prelims time, while Kibler was right on his morning swim with a 1:45.75.

After going sub-1:46 for the first time in prelims, Jake Mitchell took fourth in 1:46.25, earning a spot on the 4×200 freestyle relay. It’s a big swim for him, getting back on the senior international team after he missed 2022 Trials due to illness. It’s also a new event added to his repertoire–he qualified for the Olympics in the 400 free.

Baylor Nelson had to go to a meet earlier this month to specifically qualify to swim the 200 free at this meet. Now, he’ll likely be named to the Worlds team after he finished fifth. He cut even more time off his best with his 1:46.51. Over the course of the meet, he’s dropped 2.65 seconds.

17-year-old Henry McFadden is another likely first time qualifier. He touched sixth in 1:47.02.


  • World Record: 2:17.55, Evgeniia Chikunova (RUS) — 2023
  • American Record: 2:19.59, Rebecca Soni — 2012
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:20.38, Rebecca Soni (USA) — 2012
  • Championship Record: 2:20.38, Rebecca Soni (USA) — 2012
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 2:25.91
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 2:21.43
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 2:23.20

Top 8:

  1. Lilly King (ISC) — 2:20.95
  2. Kate Douglass (NYAC) — 2:21.22
  3. Annie Lazor (ISC) — 2:25.86
  4. Kaitlyn Dobler (TROJ) — 2:26.47
  5. Anna Keating (CA-Y) — 2:26.71
  6. Emma Weber (CA-Y) — 2:27.08
  7. Isabelle Odgers (TROJ) — 2:27.59
  8. Piper Enge (BC) — 2:29.41

Lilly King and Kate Douglass made it clear very early on that everybody else was racing for third. They separated themselves from the field quickly, already about half a second up on the rest of the field at the 50.

King led from start to finish, but Douglass pushed her the whole way, outsplitting the 2022 Worlds gold medalist on the last three 50s. In the end, King’s opening split of 31.41 made the difference and she touched first in 2:20.95. Douglass earned second with a personal best 2:21.22. That means that both the 2022 Worlds gold and bronze medalists will have a chance to defend their medals this year.

Annie Lazor was seventh at the 50, but moved through the field over the middle 100. She turned in third at the 150, and that was where she touched, clocking 2:25.86. Kaitlyn Dobler dropped more time here in the final, taking fourth in 2:26.47. Coming into the meet, she hadn’t broken 2:30 in her career.


  • World Record: 2:05.95, Zac Stubblety-Cook (AUS) — 2022
  • American Record: 2:07.17, Josh Prenot — 2016
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:07.17, Josh Prenot (USA) — 2016
  • Championship Record: 2:07.17, Josh Prenot (USA) — 2016
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 2:10.32
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 2:08.84
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 2:08.38

Top 8:

  1. Matt Fallon (ABSC) — 2:07.71
  2. Josh Matheny (ISC) — 2:08.32
  3. Jake Foster (RAYS) — 2:09.10
  4. Nic Fink (MAAC) — 2:09.20
  5. Will Licon (TXLA) — 2:10.13
  6. Charlie Swanson (NOVA) — 2:10.43
  7. Tommy Cope (CW) — 2:11.39

DSQ: AJ Pouch

Matt Fallon took off after the 100-meter turn, splitting 32.06 on the third 50 to go from sixth to first. It was the fastest third 50 split by over a second. He didn’t look back, splitting a field-best 33.19 on the final 50 to make his first Worlds team. Fallon, who dealt with a back injury earlier this year, swam a lifetime best 2:07.71. That makes him the sixth fastest American all-time in the event, passing Andrew Wilson.

Make it two swimmers in this event making the Worlds team for the first time; Josh Matheny took second in a big swim of his own. Matheny swam 2:08.32, dropping a second from the lifetime best 2:09.34 he swam in prelims.

Jake Foster finished third about eight-tenths back in a season best of 2:09.10. He held off a charging Nic Fink, who finished a tenth back of Foster for fourth.

About a second behind Fink was the veteran Will Licon, while last year’s co-champion Charlie Swanson finished sixth in 2:10.43.


  • World Record: 2:03.14, Kaylee McKeown (AUS) — 2023
  • American Record: 2:03.35, Regan Smith — 2019
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:04.76, Regan Smith (USA) — 2023
  • Championship Record: 2:05.08, Phoebe Bacon (USA) — 2022
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 2:11.08
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 2:05.13
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 2:06.96

Top 8:

  1. Regan Smith (SUN) — 2:03.80 (U.S. Open Record)
  2. Rhyan White (WOLF) — 2:05.77
  3. Claire Curzan (ALTO) — 2:06.35
  4. Kennedy Noble (WOLF) — 2:06.54
  5. Phoebe Bacon (WISC) — 2:06.59
  6. Reilly Tiltmann (CA-Y) — 2:08.65
  7. Isabelle Stadden (CAL) — 2:08.65
  8. JoJo Ramey (FAST) — 2:10.58

Regan Smith clearly wanted (at least) that American record, but as she said in the post-race interview, she hasn’t been 2:03 in four years. So, even though she was short of her own American record, it’s still a great swim for her as she gets a spot on an international team in the 200 back for the first time since 2019.

She established herself early in the race, leading from start to finish. She clocked new U.S. Open and Championship records with her 2:03.80. Smith won the race by almost two seconds as Rhyan White took second with a 2:05.77. White was a 2022 Worlds bronze medalist, which she’ll now get a chance to defend in Fukuoka.

Claire Curzan finished third with a new personal best time of 2:06.35. That’s almost a second faster than her old best, which she swam in 2022. And Kennedy Noble continues to impress, chopping another .55 seconds off her best time. Noble finished fourth in 2:06.54 and coming into today, had never broken 2:10. In one day, she’s taken 3.99 seconds off her best.

2022 Worlds silver medalist ant Tokyo Olympian Phoebe Bacon was fifth in a season-best 2:06.59.


  • World Record: 1:51.92, Aaron Piersol (USA) — 2009
  • American Record: 1:51.92, Aaron Piersol — 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:53.08, Aaron Piersol (USA) — 2009
  • Championship Record: 1:53.08, Aaron Piersol (USA) — 2009
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 1:58.07
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 1:55.46
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 1:55.35

Top 8:

  1. Ryan Murphy (CAL) — 1:55.03
  2. Destin Lasco (CAL) — 1:55.63
  3. Jack Aikins (SA)/Daniel Diehl (CUY) — 1:56.04
  4. (tie)
  5. Ian Grum (DYNA) — 1:56.32
  6. Keaton Jones (NEP) — 1:56.93
  7. Hunter Tapp (WOLF) — 1:57.88
  8. Tommy Janton (ND) — 1:59.42

Cal backstroke is at it again. Ryan Murphy and Destin Lasco went 1-2 in the 200 backstroke, making it so that both the U.S. representatives in the event are Golden Bears. Murphy came on during the back half of the race to qualify for his fifth Worlds team in 1:55.03.

Lasco also had a strong back-half, splitting 29.68 on the last 50 (second only to Murphy) to get his hand on the wall in second place with a personal best 1:55.63. His previous best was 1:56.81 from Olympic Trials. Lasco earned his spot on the Worlds team on day 1 with a fourth place finish in the 100 freestyle, but now he’s added an individual event to his lineup.

Jack Aikins and Daniel Diehl tied for third, both swimming a personal best of 1:56.04. Aikins was first through the first 100 meters and though the Cal Bears went by him, this is a PB for him by .25 seconds. Diehl was the only one in the field other than Murphy and Lasco to be sub-30 on the final 50, as he split 29.72 to move up from fifth.

Ian Grum and Keaton Jones posted personal bests of their own, both getting under 1:57 for the first time.


  • World Record: 24.43, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 2014
  • American Record: 25.38, Torri Huske — 2022
  • U.S. Open Record: 25.46, Rikako Ikee (JPN) — 2017
  • Championship Record: 25.48, Kelsi Dahlia (USA) — 2018
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 26.32
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 25.68
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 25.32

Top 8:

  1. Gretchen Walsh (NAC) — 25.11 (American Record)
  2. Torri Huske (AAC) — 25.33
  3. Claire Curzan (ALTO) — 25.74
  4. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) — 25.78
  5. Beata Nelson (WISC) — 25.95
  6. Natalie Hinds (GSC) — 26.20
  7. Oliva Bray (TXLA) — 26.33
  8. KitKat Zenick (OSU) — 26.58

It seems like the dam has broken for Gretchen Walsh. Yesterday, she made her first Worlds team via her third place finish in the 100 freestyle. Now, she’s not only punched her ticket in an individual event but she’s the new American record holder in the 50 fly.

Walsh blazed down the pool, stopping the clock in 25.11. She undercuts the American record by .27 seconds and becomes the third fastest performer in history. Torri Huske was also under her old American record by five-hundredths with a 25.33 to finish second. Given that she finished fifth in the 100 freestyle, chances are good that she’ll be named to the team in this event later this week.

Make that two third places in this session for Claire CurzanEarlier, she finished third in the 200 back and now she’s third here as well.

Abbey Weitzeil broke 26 seconds for the first time with her fourth place finish, touching in 25.78.


  • World Record: 22.27, Andrii Govorov (UKR) — 2018
  • American Record: 22.35, Caeleb Dressel — 2019
  • U.S. Open Record: 22.84, Caeleb Dressel (USA) — 2022
  • Championship Record: 22.84, Caeleb Dressel (USA) — 2022
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 23.53
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 22.87
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 22.79

Top 8:

  1. Michael Andrew (MASA) — 23.11
  2. Dare Rose (CAL) — 23.20
  3. Caeleb Dressel (GSC) — 23.35
  4. Jonny Kulow (SUN) — 23.43
  5. Zach Harting (CARD) — 23.45
  6. Ryan Held (NYAC) — 23.59
  7. Finn Brooks (ISC) — 23.67
  8. Aidan Stoffle (AU) — 23.79

Michael Andrew punched his ticket to Fukuoka with a win here in the 50 butterfly. Andrew dropped seven-hundredths from his prelims time to take the win in 23.11.

Finishing second was Dare Rose, who was just four-hundredths off his personal best from prelims with a 23.30. He and Andrew both held off a late surge from 2022 Worlds gold medalist Caeleb Dressel. Dressel came on in the closing meters to grab third in 23.35, dropping .44 seconds from his prelims swim.

Sun Devil Jonny Kulow logged another personal best with his fourth place finish. Kulow took another .19 seconds off his best with a 23.43. Coming into the meet, his best stood at 23.91 from his swim at the Mission Viejo Pro Series earlier this year. He finished two-hundredths ahead of Zach Harting, who was fifth in 23.45.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 months ago

I was very impressed with Rhyan White. She had a rough last NCAAs, so to see her bounce back so well is encouraging.

5 months ago

How many people are glad that the world champion team selection is this year compared to the ones in the past where they have nationals followed by pan pacs!

5 months ago

Yeh ugh no we can have 4 sub 1:45 splits no problemo. As long as someone doesn’t add 2 seconds to their flat start time I’m looking at you Thomas then the world record is going down

Beginner Swimmer at 25
5 months ago

As of now I would put Jake Mitchell ahead of Foster

5 months ago

If Dressel can go out with that speed in the 100fly, he could make the team!

Awsi Dooger
5 months ago

** I don’t know why Rowdy was touting a comeback by Douglass. King won that race via greater urgency over the first 50. I knew it was over. There’s no way Douglass can spot King nearly a second when King is so superior approaching the walls. Douglass gives away at least a half second every race via the long glide, in contrast to King who can sense when she’s 1.25 strokes from the wall and will quickly adapt to a 3/4 stroke followed by 1/2 pop stroke

** Ledecky will have more flat races later in her career.I said the same thing entering Tokyo, that at least one of her races would disappoint. Thankfully it’s mostly reserved for the 200… Read more »

5 months ago

W chat today

Reply to  phelpsfan
5 months ago

shush dumbass

5 months ago

OK guys. I just caught up on all the races. What a night! Here are my thoughts.

– Katie Grimes: Looks off at this meet.. I feel like the 400 IM is now pretty open between her, Weyant, Hayes, and A Walsh. One of the races I’m most looking forward to at this meet.
– Ledecky: She didn’t win the 200, but whatever. She’ll prob drop the individual, giving BELLA SIMS a shot at an individual race. Yay Bella.
– Alex Shackell: She’s gonna be a force over the next 14 months
– Alex Walsh: Slower than she was at trials last year… seems like she’s having a flat season in general. We’ll learn a lot from… Read more »

Reply to  moonlight
5 months ago

Katie Grimes looked better in the consolation final of the 200 FR. Hopefully, that will spark her confidence for the rest of the meet.

Katie Ledecky has enough on her plate:

400 FR (heats, final)
1500 FR (heats, final)
4 X 200 FR-R (final)
800 FR (heats, final)

5600 meters

Alex Shackell has a lot of potential going forward in the 100 FR, 100 FL, 200 FL.

Alex Walsh and Leah Hayes are IMers.

Lilly King exhibited a lot of grit in that race.

Kate Douglass now gets to navigate the 100 FR/200 BR double.

Regan Smith is BACK. End of discussion.

Rhyan White underwhelmed at the 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. Rhyan… Read more »

Reply to  moonlight
5 months ago

You forgot Rowdy Gaines

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

Read More »