2023 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
- June 27 – July 1, 2023
- Indianapolis, IN
- Indiana University Natatorium
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- Psych Sheet (updated version, 6/26)
- Live Results
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- How To Watch
- Day 1 Prelims Live Recap | Day 1 Finals Live Recap
- Day 2 Prelims Live Recap | Day 2 Finals Live Recap
- Day 3 Prelims Live Recap | Day 3 Finals Live Recap
There’s just three events on tap for this prelims session on Day 4 of U.S. Trials: the 400 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and 100 backstroke. Given how fast this meet has been though, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any surprises. All of these heats should set up for some intriguing races in finals as well.
Two of the women’s events have a clear favorite: Katie Ledecky in the 400 free, and Regan Smith in the 100 back. Behind them though, there’s tight races shaping up for second. Veteran Leah Smith looks to make the team in the 400 free for the second straight year. She’ll have to fend off a quartet of teenagers: Erin Gemmell, Bella Sims, Katie Grimes, and Claire Weinstein, the latter of whom ran down Ledecky in the 200 free.
The women’s 100 backstroke will see Claire Curzan try to set herself up to punch her ticket to Worlds in finals. Katharine Berkoff, Isabelle Stadden, and Rhyan White (just to name a few) are also aiming for that spot.
On the men’s side, Carson Foster is on the heat sheet for the 400 free, adding some intrigue to the race. Foster has been swimming very well so far in Indianapolis–if he swims the race, he could be in a position to dethrone more established names in that event like Kieran Smith or Jake Mitchell.
Nic Fink headlines the 100 breast, while there are plenty of rising stars aiming to get under a minute for the first time. One who has is Josh Matheny, who’s aiming to double up in the breaststroke events.
Finally, Hunter Armstrong is still looking to secure a spot on the Worlds roster. He’s best remaining chance is the 100 backstroke, which he won last year. Ryan Murphy is a perennial strong contender there, and Destin Lasco has shown his excellent form already.
Women’s 400 Freestyle — Heats
- 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
- Katie Ledecky (GSC) — 4:01.88
- Claire Weinstein (SAND) — 4:06.79
- Leah Smith (TXLA)– 4:07.31
- Erin Gemmell (NCAP)/Bella Sims (SAND) — 4:07.96
- Cavan Gormsen (LIAC) — 4:09.14
- Kensey McMahon (BAMA) — 4:09.30
- Paige Madden (NYAC) — 4:09.72
Times wise, it was a relatively quiet morning in the women’s 400 freestyle. The top eight, with the exception of Paige Madden, all added from their seed times. Claire Weinstein was the closest, finishing second in 4:06.79, just .55 seconds off her seed. This is Madden’s first ‘A’ final of the meet, after she was 11th in prelims of the 200 free.
As expected, Katie Ledecky took control in the last heat of the event, cruising to a 4:01.88 to lead the field by almost five seconds. The main question heading into finals is who’s going to be joining her in this event in Fukuoka as Weinstein, Leah Smith, Bella Sims, and Erin Gemmell are separated by just over a second.
Smith won heat six in 4:07.31, ahead of Sims. Sims clocked 4:07.96, which ties her with Gemmell for fourth seed heading into the final tonight.
The biggest surprise is who isn’t in the ‘A’ final. Katie Grimes, one of the favorites in this event heading into the meet, added five seconds from her seed time to finish 10th in 4:10.25, qualifying for the ‘B’ final behind Jillian Cox (4:09.81).
Men’s 400 Freestyle — Heats
- 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
- Ross Dant (WOLF) — 3:48.50
- Kieran Smith (RAC) — 3:48.81
- Rex Maurer (ROSE) — 3:48.97
- David Johnston (TXLA) — 3:49.07
- Aaron Shackell (CSC) — 3:49.19
- Luke Hobson (TXLA)/Jake Mitchell (FLOR) — 3:49.25
- James Plage (WOLF) — 3:49.87
Last year, it took 3:52.98 to make it back to the championship final in the men’s 400 free. Now, it takes 3:49.87. The final has two representatives from NC State, two from Texas, two from Florida, and two club swimmers.
Ross Dant leads the field, posting 3:48.50 as the top time of the morning. Dant was third in this event last year (3:47.11) and has put himself in a solid position to make his first Worlds team. His teammate James Plage will be in lane 8, sneaking into the final by breaking 3:50 for the first time in his career.
The two Gators–also the two Tokyo Olympians in this event–Kieran Smith and Jake Mitchell, are holding down second and sixth overall. Smith won the penultimate heat, holding off Mitchell, David Johnston, and Luke Hobson. The two Longhorns, Johnston and Hobson, both logged personal best times here in the heats. Johnston clocked 3:49.07 and Hobson’s tied with Mitchell at 3:49.25. That knocks over half a second off both their bests.
The two juniors, Rex Maurer and Aaron Shackell both had big swims. Maurer moved up ninth by our count in the American boys’ 17-18 rankings. He’s running third in 3:48.97, dropping about a second from his best. Shackell took over 3 seconds off his seed time to break 3:50 for the first time.
In the earlier heats, Luka Mijatovic lowered his own 13-14 NAG for the third time this season, hitting 3:55.74.
There were two notable no shows in the final heat. Both Carson Foster and Jake Magahey did not swim.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke — Heats
- 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
- Kaitlyn Dobler (TROJ) — 1:05.86
- Lilly King (ISC) — 1:05.95
- Lydia Jacoby (STSC) — 1:06.69
- Rachel Bernhardt (TEAM) — 1:07.38
- Annie Lazor (ISC) — 1:07.70
- Emma Weber (CA-Y) — 1:07.72
- Hannah Bach (OSU)/Skyler Smith (NCAC) — 1:08.20
Kaitlyn Dobler out-touched world record holder Lilly King in the final heat of the women’s 100 breast to claim the top time of the morning. The USC Trojan clocked 1:05.86, which marks her first time sub-1:06 and makes her the 12th fastest American all-time in the event. It’s also good for fourth in the world this season.
King sits second in 1:05.95, putting her in a solid position to go after the breaststroke sweep in finals. Lydia Jacoby will have something to say about that though. The Tokyo gold medalist is still looking for a spot on the Worlds team and she qualified third overall in a 1:06.69.
Kate Douglass was a no show for heat five.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke — Heats
- 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
- Nic Fink (MAAC) — 59.94
- Jake Foster (RAYS) — 1:00.07
- Josh Matheny (ISC) — 1:00.15
- Matt Fallon (ABSC) — 1:00.22
- Noah Nichols (CA-Y) — 1:00.29
- Cody Miller (SAND) — 1:00.57
- Charlie Swanson (NOVA) — 1:00.64
- Mitch Mason (LSU) — 1:00.71
With the only sub-1:00 time of the session, Nic Fink is the top qualifier in the men’s 100 breaststroke. Fink, who won the 50 breast yesterday, clocked 59.94.
The World Aquatics ‘A’ cut may come into play during finals. The cut stands at 59.75, and the only two in the championship final who have been under the minute mark before today are Fink, Josh Matheny, and Cody Miller. Michael Andrew has been under the cut before as well, but missed the ‘A’ final and finished 17th in 1:01.50.
The qualification window opened on March 1, 2022. Since that time, only Fink and Matheny have been under the ‘A’ cut.
There’s many young stars here who are closing in on the minute mark. Second place qualifier Jake Foster just missed the mark in prelims, clocking a personal best 1:00.07. He’ll get another chance in finals, as will Matt Fallon, Noah Nichols, and Mitch Mason, who all posted personal bests en route to a lane in the championship final.
Women’s 100 Backstroke — Heats
- 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
- Regan Smith (SUN) — 58.04
- Katharine Berkoff (WOLF) — 58.39
- Kennedy Noble (WOLF) — 59.11
- Claire Curzan (ALTO) — 59.24
- Isabelle Stadden (CAL) — 59.43
- Phoebe Bacon (WISC) — 59.61
- Rhyan White (WOLF) — 59.66
- Olivia Smoliga (SUN) — 59.79
As expected, Regan Smith is the top qualifier in the women’s 100 backstroke and also as expected, there’s a tight race for second shaping up behind her. 58.04 is faster than the 58.29 Smith posted in prelims last year and based on the way she’s swimming, she could take a crack at her U.S. Open record tonight.
In the final, Smith will be flanked by a pair from the Wolfpack. Katharine Berkoff and Kennedy Noble both swam lifetime bests in the prelims to take second and third heading into the final. Berkoff improves her lifetime best to 58.39 from 58.61 in April 2022.
Noble had a big drop in the 200 backstroke earlier in the meet, and continued to showcase her improvements here in the 100. She swam 59.11, blowing past the 1:00 barrier for the first time and nearly going sub-59. Her previous best was a 1:00.83 from earlier this month.
Claire Curzan and Isabelle Stadden are sitting fourth and fifth in 59.24 and 59.43. Interestingly, Berkoff’s time of 58.39 is Curzan’s best time, which means that she will likely need to post a PB to make the Worlds team in this event.
Men’s 100 Backstroke — Heats
- 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
- Ryan Murphy (CAL) — 52.79
- Destin Lasco (CAL) — 52.93
- Hunter Armstrong (NYAC) — 53.11
- Justin Ress (MVN) — 53.21
- Christopher O’Connor (TXLA) — 53.73
- Jack Aikins (SA) — 53.75
- Wyatt Davis (MICH) — 53.93
- Adam Chaney (FLOR) — 53.98
In the final heat of the men’s 100 backstroke, Ryan Murphy accelerated in the closing meters to touch first ahead of Justin Ress. He posted a 52.79, which is good for the top time overall. He’s closely followed by his Cal teammate Destin Lasco, who swam a lifetime best 52.93. Lasco has been on fire all week, and now he’ll aim to double up in the backstroke events after finishing second in the 200 earlier this week. He’s also the 12th American man to break the 53 second barrier.
Last year’s Trials winner Hunter Armstrong is running third with a 53.11. He was sub-53 at all four Pro Series stops this season.
Justin Ress sits just behind in fourth (53.21). Texas’ Christopher O’Connor dropped over a second from his previous best 54.85 from Olympic Trials to make the championship final with a 53.73. Wyatt Davis also got under 54 seconds for the first time, swimming 53.93. Davis’ previous best was a 54.14 from 2019 World Juniors. In the 50 back yesterday, he bettered his lifetime best which had been from that meet as well.