2023 U.S. Trials: Day 4 Finals Live Recap


Day 4 Finals Heat Sheets

It’s night four of finals at 2023 U.S. Trials, the session start time is back to 7:00pm (EST), and we’ve got finals of the 400 free, 100 breast, and 100 back headed our way.

Katie Ledecky cruised a 4:01.88 during prelims of the women’s 400 free, cementing her status as the race favorite. There’s a big battle brewing for second though, as Claire Weinstein, Leah Smith, Bella Sims, and Erin Gemmell are separated by less than 1.5 seconds after prelims.

Ross Dant leads the way on the men’s side (3:48.50). In finals, Tokyo Olympians Kieran Smith and Jake Mitchell will be sure to challenge him, as will the Longhorn pair of Luke Hobson and David Johnston, who both swam personal bests in the heats. Also in the mix are juniors Rex Maurer and Aaron Shackell.

In the final heat of the women’s 100 breaststroke, Kaitlyn Dobler out-touched Lilly King for the top time of the morning, 1:05.86 to 1:05.85. King is aiming for the breaststroke sweep her in Indianapolis but she and Dobler will both have to contend with Tokyo gold medalist Lydia Jacoby, who’s still trying to secure a Worlds spot.

As the only man under a minute this morning, Nic Fink is the favorite in the men’s breaststroke race. There’s some logistics to bear in mind here as the ‘A’ cut stands at 59.75. Josh Matheny has been under that mark in the qualifying period. But, Jake Foster, Matt Fallon, and Noah Nichols are all aiming to crack the 1:00 barrier for the first time tonight.

Regan Smith posted 58.04 in prelims of the women’s 100 backstroke. She leads a stacked championship final and she’ll be flanked in the final by two Wolfpack members: Katharine Berkoff and Kennedy Noble. Berkoff swam 58.39 to tie Claire Curzan for fifth-fastest American woman all-time, while Noble blitzed past 1:00 for the first time, nearly going sub-59 as well.

The last event of the session is the men’s 100 backstroke. Ryan Murphy and Destin Lasco will try to repeat their 1-2 finish from the 200 backstroke. Hunter Armstrong aims to spoil the Golden Bears party though–he’s sitting third (53.11) and is still aiming for a Worlds roster spot.



  • World Record: 3:56.08, Summer McIntosh (CAN) — 2023
  • American Record: 3:56.46, Katie Ledecky — 2016
  • U.S. Open Record: 3:57.94, Katie Ledecky (USA) — 2018
  • Championship Record: 3:58.44, Katie Ledecky (USA) — 2017
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 4:10.57
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 4:03.15
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 4:02.08

Top 8:

  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC) — 4:00.45
  2. Bella Sims (SAND) — 4:03.25
  3. Leah Smith (TXLA) — 4:03.85
  4. Paige Madden (NYAC) — 4:06.78
  5. Erin Gemmell (NCAP) — 4:06.93
  6. Cavan Gormsen (LIAC) — 4:08.12
  7. Claire Weinstein (SAND) — 4:09.94
  8. Kensey McMahon (BAMA) — 4:10.27

Katie Ledecky wasn’t that thrilled with the time, saying post-race that she “didn’t feel like she got into her rhythm right from the start.” It seems that after her 800 free, which was her fastest time since 2016, she wanted to be faster tonight. However, she was in rhythm enough to win the women’s 400 freestyle by almost three seconds in 4:00.88.

Ledecky took over the race after the 100, passing Bella Sims who blitzed out to an early lead with a 57.42 split at the 100. Sims needed all of that early speed, as she held off Leah Smith for second in the race. Sims stopped the clock at 4:03.25, a 3.61 second drop from the PB she swam at the Mission Viejo Pro Series in May.

The 18-year-old Sims has been a member of the Tokyo Olympic and Budapest Worlds roster, but this is the first time that she’s  qualified for an individual event.

Smith was third in 4:03.85. After not making the ‘A’ final in the 200 free, Paige Madden bounced back to get fourth here in 4:06.78. On her social media, she’s talked about working to love the 400 free again. It’s a season best for her by a substantial amount–it’s the first time she’s been sub-4:10 this year.

MEN’S 400 FREESTYLE — Finals

  • World Record: 3:40.07, Paul Biedermann (GER) — 2009
  • American Record: 3:42.78, Larsen Jensen — 2008
  • U.S. Open Record: 3:43.53, Larsen Jensen (USA) — 2008
  • Championship Record: 3:43.53, Larsen Jensen (USA) — 2008
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 3:48.15
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 3:46.93
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 3:43.31

Top 8:

  1. David Johnston (TXLA) — 3:45.75
  2. Kieran Smith (RAC) — 3:46.11
  3. Jake Mitchell (FLOR) — 3:46.87
  4. Ross Dant (WOLF) — 3:47.87
  5. Rex Maurer (ROSE) — 3:48.18
  6. Aaron Shackell (CSC) — 3:49.43
  7. Luke Hobson (TXLA) — 3:50.41
  8. James Plage (WOLF) — 3:51.62

Last summer, we began to get hints that a David Johnston breakthrough was coming–he lit up the short course meters pool, including setting a new American record in the SCM 800 free. Now, that has finally materialized in the long-course pool, as Johnston swam the race he called “the highlight of [his] career.”

It was Johnston’s teammate Luke Hobson who took the race out. Hobson set a personal best in prelims and attacked the race, flipping at the 200 in 1:49.66, under world record pace. Kieran Smith and David Johnston were running second and third.

By the 300 meter mark, both Smith and Johnston had gone by Hobson. Johnston made his move on the final 100 meters, splitting 56.85, to pass Smith and get his hand on the wall first. Johnston’s prelims time 3:49.07 was a personal best. Now, he’s shattered that with his winning time of 3:45.75.

Smith took second in a season-best 3:46.11. His Olympic teammate Jake Mitchell also made his move on the back half, moving from fifth at the 300 to third in 3:46.87.

Rex Maurer clocked a 3:48.18 to continue his climb up the American boys’ 17-18 all-time rankings. After moving into eighth after prelims, he now jumps to fifth.

Hobson faded down to seventh with a 3:50.41.


  • World Record: 1:04.13, Lilly King (USA) — 2016
  • American Record: 1:04.13, Lilly King — 2016
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:04.45, Jessica Hardy (USA) — 2009
  • Championship Record: 1:04.72, Lilly King (USA) — 2021
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 1:07.35
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 1:06.12
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 1:06.02

Top 8:

  1. Lilly King (ISC) — 1:04.75
  2. Lydia Jacoby (STSC) — 1:05.16
  3. Kaitlyn Dobler (TROJ) — 1:05.48
  4. Emma Weber (CA-Y) — 1:07.39
  5. Rachel Bernhardt (TEAM) — 1:07.76
  6. Annie Lazor (ISC) — 1:07.77
  7. Hannah Bach (OSU) — 1:08.18
  8. Skyler Smith (NCAC) — 1:08.65

It was clear early into the championship final that the race was in the middle of the pool between Lilly KingLydia Jacoby, and Kaitlyn Dobler. In lane 4, it was Dobler who turned first in 30.44, with Jacoby second (30.70) and King running third (30.72).

At the 75 meter mark, both Jacoby, who’s known for her back half, and King had pulled even with Dobler. They swam in a line down the home stretch, until King and Jacoby pulled away from the Trojan in the closing meters. King gained enough distance to take the win clearly, going 3-for-3 in breaststroke races this week. Her 1:04.75is just three-hundredths off her championship record.

Jacoby took second in 1:05.16, which is the fastest she’s been since she won gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Dobler took even more time off her best, dropping another .38 seconds in 1:05.48 for third. Over the day, she’s dropped .71 seconds.

These times stand up as the first, third, and fourth fastest times in the world this year.


  • World Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR) — 2019
  • American Record: 58.14, Michael Andrew — 2021
  • U.S. Open Record: 58.14, Michael Andrew (USA) — 2021
  • Championship Record: 58.14, Michael Andrew (USA) — 2021
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 59.75
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 58.51
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 58.65

Top 8:

  1. Nic Fink (MAAC) — 58.36
  2. Josh Matheny (ISC) — 59.20
  3. Noah Nichols (CA-Y) — 59.40
  4. Cody Miller (SAND) — 59.85
  5. Mitch Mason (LSU) — 59.87
  6. Charlie Swanson (NOVA) — 59.89
  7. Matt Fallon (ABSC) — 1:00.18
  8. Jake Foster (RAYS) — 1:00.31

Deep breaths everyone, we are not going to have to try and parse the World Aquatics and USA Swimming rulebooks. 50 breaststroke winner Nic Fink doubled up, leading from start to finish and taking the win here in the 100 with 58.36. That stands up as the second fastest time in the world this season.

Fink was the only one in prelims to get under a minute, but that certainly wasn’t the case here in finals. Five other men joined him under the barrier, with three of them breaking a minute for the first time.

Josh Matheny, the second place finisher in the 200 breast, charged in the closing meters to grab second. He hit a personal best 59.20, about two-tenths faster than his mark from 2022 U.S. Nationals. He hit the wall two-tenths ahead of Noah Nichols, who was one of the swimmers going sub-1:00 for the first time. He’s dropped 1.45 seconds from his time today.

The other two swimmers breaking 1:00 for the first time were Mitch Mason and Charlie Swanson, who finished fifth and sixth with 59.87 and 59.89.

Though he didn’t break 1:00, Matt Fallon also swam a personal best, taking four-hundredths off his PB from prelims.


  • World Record: 57.45, Kaylee McKeown (AUS) — 2021
  • American Record: 57.57, Regan Smith — 2019
  • U.S. Open Record: 57.76, Regan Smith (USA) — 2022
  • Championship Record: 57.76, Regan Smith (USA) — 2022
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 1:00.59
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 58.39
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 58.67

Top 8:

  1. Regan Smith (SUN) — 57.71 (U.S. Open Record)
  2. Katharine Berkoff (WOLF) — 58.01
  3. Claire Curzan (ALTO) — 58.59
  4. Olivia Smoliga (SUN) — 58.92
  5. Isabelle Stadden (CAL) — 59.07
  6. Kennedy Noble (WOLF) — 59.45
  7. Rhyan White (WOLF) — 59.50
  8. Phoebe Bacon (WISC) — 1:00.03

Regan Smith earned her third national title of the week in U.S. Open record fashion. She was out in 27.82, under world record pace. She came home in 29.89, stopping the clock in 57.71. That time is the second fastest in the world this year, and resets the U.S. Open and Championship records that she swam last year.

Katharine Berkoff gave Smith a race down the stretch, splitting 29.77 on the second 50, closing the gap on the Sun Devil. Berkoff cut another .38 seconds off her personal best from prelims (58.39), swimming 58.01. That moves her up to third fastest American all-time, and fifth-fastest in history.

She won the 50 backstroke last night and was just a hundredth off her own American record. Now, she’s added another event to her Worlds lineup when last year she only swam the 50 backstroke (where she earned silver).

Claire Curzan earned another third place finish, hitting 58.59, which is about two-tenths off her personal best. Olivia Smoliga qualified for the final in eighth, but moved all the way up to fourth with a 58.92. That’s her first time sub-59 in two years, when she swam her lifetime best 58.31.


  • World Record: 51.60, Thomas Ceccon (ITA) — 2022
  • American Record: 51.85, Ryan Murphy — 2016
  • U.S. Open Record: 51.94, Aaron Piersol (USA) — 2009
  • Championship Record: 51.94, Aaron Piersol (USA) — 2009
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 54.03
  • 2022 U.S. Trials Top 2 Time: 52.46
  • 2022 Worlds Medal Time: 51.98

Top 8:

  1. Hunter Armstrong (NYAC) — 52.33
  2. Ryan Murphy (CAL) — 52.39
  3. Justin Ress (MVN) — 52.90
  4. Destin Lasco (CAL) — 53.20
  5. Adam Chaney (FLOR) — 53.34
  6. Wyatt Davis (MICH) — 53.43
  7. Christopher O’Connor (TXLA) — 53.70
  8. Jack Aikins (SA) — 54.00

Hunter Armstrong is on the team and we are officially at 25 men on the U.S. roster. Armstrong was leading the way from early in the race, flipping at the 50 tied with Ryan Murphy in 25.39. Armstrong charged home in 26.94, the only man in the field to go sub-27 on the second 50. He won the national title with a season best 52.33, just six-hundredths ahead of Murphy.

This is the same top two finish order that we had last year at 2022 Trials.

Justin Ress took third in 52.90, meaning the entire podium was sub-53. After breaking that 53 second barrier in prelims, Destin Lasco was a bit off his morning swim in finals with a 53.20 to finish fourth.

Adam Chaney swam a personal best (53.34) to finish fifth. Wyatt Davis also hit a personal best with 53.43 for sixth. That time hacks another half-second off his personal best from prelims. Coming into the meet, he hadn’t swum a best time in this event since 2019 and his fastest time was 54.31.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
chlorine in my veins
4 months ago

maybe I’ve missed something, but casas seems to have had a particular down meet this time? cracking stuff at ncaas and the like. Saw him fling his cap out the pool after one of the races.

Last edited 4 months ago by chlorine in my veins
4 months ago

So by my count the men are only at 25 and that includes Michael Andrews in the 50 breast which is Priority 5 according to the selection criteria. I’ve done this math 3 times now…who on earth am I missing??? {sorry for the crappy formatting copying from excel)

Baylor Nelson Bobby Finke Carson Foster Charlie Clark Chase K Chris Guiliano Dare Rose David Johnston Destin Lasco Drew Kibler Henry McFadden Hunter Armstrong Jack Alexy Jake Mitchell Josh Matheny Justin Ress Kieran Smith Luke Hobson Matt Fallon Matt King Michael Andrew Nic Fink Ryan Held Ryan Murphy Thomas Heilman

4 months ago

Bella ate

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Swimmerj
4 months ago

I loved that. Early speed should be rewarded. Last week I picked her for the second spot based on that criteria, saying that youth and adrenaline would carry that speed to the finish.

I always root against closers in swimming and track. Far more often than not they are overmatched at higher level. You cannot cede ground. Rowdy has a hilarious tendency to spotlight closers who are doing nothing. Tonight he twice screamed here comes Lasco as Lasco was stuck in reverse.

4 months ago

Is Michael Andrew off the team if he doesn’t finish top 2 in the 50 free?

4 months ago

At some point some of the 100 back women should seriously consider switching focus to the 100 free in the hopes of making the relay next year. Smith is looking good to take one of the spots. The second US backstroker is likely going sub 58 next year whereas you might still be able to get on the free relay with a 53 low.

Smoliga has made the team via a ‘decent’ 53.28 while Curzan is not yet on the team despite going a 58 mid. Madi Wilson switched focus from the back to free and has consistently medaled and has 5 current relay WRs.

Reply to  Laps
4 months ago

It is possible to focus on more than 1 event and stroke.

Reply to  Laps
4 months ago

That’s such a defeatist attitude.

Reply to  Laps
4 months ago

I think Smoliga has the right idea now – can focus on 100fr and 100bk. Going all-in on a non-relay event for most swimmers would be foolish though (unless they are a distance swimmer or a non-freestyle mid-D, in which case not much choice).

Last edited 4 months ago by MTK
The Mayor of Casterbridge
4 months ago

Luka will break a WR before trials next year but the looks of it. Lmao

4 months ago


Last edited 4 months ago by KSW
Reply to  KSW
4 months ago

That’s bad form. Can he be dqd from the meet for not scratching?

4 months ago

luka 3:53 😵‍💫

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 »