2024 Pro Swim Series – Knoxville: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2024 PRO SWIM SERIES – KNOXVILLE

The live stream for this meet will be located on the USA Swimming Network, and you can catch the action here

The 2024 Knoxville Pro Swim Series will kick off this evening with a short session, just featuring the men’s and women’s 1500 freestyle. The 1500s will be contested as timed finals, which will be swum fastest to slowest, alternating heats of women and men.

World record holder Katie Ledecky enters the women’s event as the top seed, with her 15:26.27 winning time from the World Championships this past year sitting her more than a full minute ahead of the field. 21-year-old Tennessee swimmer Aly Breslin will swim out of lane 5, as she is entered in 16:34.64.

The men’s race will feature American record holder Bobby Finke, who won the silver medal at the Fukuoka World Championships this past year. Finke won this event here in Knoxville a year ago, where he stopped the clock in 15:06.53. Kentucky’s Levi Sandidge is ranked second (15:09.75), while Chip Wheelie Shoyat (15:18.87) is seeded third.

Action will continue through Saturday, with preliminary heats of the 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, and 400 freestyle set to commence at 9am (EST) tomorrow.

WOMEN’S 1500 FREESTYLE — TIMED FINALS

Top 8:

  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC) – 15:38.81
  2. Ashley Wall (TAC) – 16:31.13
  3. Aly Breslin (TENN) – 16:43.09
  4. Kate McCarville (TENN) – 16:44.37
  5. Mila Nikanorov (HRA) – 16:44.60
  6. Clare Custer (SYS) – 16:49.26
  7. Ella Dyson (OWLS) – 16:54.37
  8. Grace Hodgins (SYS) – 16:57.97

Katie Ledecky opened up the first event of the 2024 Pro Swim Series in style, dominating the 1500 freestyle from start to finish. Ledecky took the race out swiftly, turning through the 800 in a sub-8:20 effort of 8:19.98. She ultimately hit the wall at the end of the race in 15:38.81, which significantly undercuts her previous season best of 15:46.38 from the U.S. Open last month.

Ledecky’s swim tonight is faster than anyone besides herself has ever been, as she continues to add to her legacy each time she hits the water. Ledecky will feature in several more events this week in Knoxville, as she is entered in the 100/200/400/800 freestyles in addition to the 400 IM.

A pair of Tennessee teammates took 2nd and 3rd behind Ledecky in the first heat, as Aly Breslin touched in 16:43.09 while Kate McCarville touched in 16:44.37.

Ella Dyson touched in 16:54.37 to win the second heat, which places her 7th overall.

Ashley Wall took the win in heat 3, touching in 16:31.13 for 2nd place overall.

MEN’S 1500 FREESTYLE – TIMED FINALS

  • World Record: 14.31.02 — Sun Yang, CHN (2012)
  • World Junior Record: 14:46.09 — Franko Grgic, CRO (2019)
  • American Record: 14:31.59 — Bobby Finke, USA (2023)
  • U.S. Open Record: 14:42.81 — Bobby Finke, USA (2023)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 14:53.12 — Jordan Wilimovsky, USA (2016)

Top 8:

  1. Bobby Finke (SPA) – 15:04.43
  2. Felix Auboeck (AUT) – 15:14.70
  3. Levi Sandidge (UN-1) – 15:28.71
  4. Connor Lamastra (DYNA) – 15:39.23
  5. Chip Wheelie Shoyat (CLPR) – 15:46.80
  6. Cooper Zakorchemny (RMSC) – 15:50.00
  7. Carson Hick (UN-1) – 15:52.95
  8. Matthew Marsteiner (WAVE) – 15:53.57

Bobby Finke kicked of his 2024 campaign with a win in the 1500 free, touching in 15:04.43 to win by over 10 seconds. Notably, Finke’s time is over two seconds faster than he was at this meet a year ago. He swam a consistent race from the start, splitting 30-low and 30-mid on nearly all of his 50-meter splits.

Austria’s Felix Auboeck was the 2nd place finisher tonight, touching the wall in 15:14.70. He owns a best time (and Austrian national record) of 14:51.88 from the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Kentucky’s Levi Sandidge, who won the 2023 SEC Championship title in the 1650-yard freestyle, claimed third tonight in 15:28.71.

Six swimmers cracked the 16-minute barrier in the opening heat, with Chip Wheelie Shoyat (15:46.80), Carson Hick (15:52.95), and Matthew Marsteiner (15:53.57) finishing behind Finke, Auboeck, and Sandidge.

Cooper Zakorchemny was victorious in the third heat, posting a time of 15:50.00 for 6th overall. In the final heat, Connor Lamastra of Dynamo posted a time of 15:39.23 to slot into 4th overall.

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moonlight
4 months ago

Ledecky was a little over 1 sec off her gold medal winning time from Tokyo

BingBopBam
4 months ago

So far Penny Oleksiak, Caeleb Dressel, and Ryan Murphy have all scratched out of the meet entirely. Wonder how that would go over at any other job

Hekkdh
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

Lmao “job”

BingBopBam
Reply to  Hekkdh
4 months ago

They are professional swimmers, meaning, naturally, swimming (and by extension, competing in said sport) is their profession. Last time I checked, “job” is indeed a synonym for “profession.”

mds
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

And Regan Smith.

Swim Dad
Reply to  mds
4 months ago

He has an illness I believe.

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

“Wonder how that would go over at any other job”

Forget about any other job. It doesn’t happen in ANY OTHER SPORTS.

stop dreaming about competitive swimming becoming mainstream and swimming becoming professional sport when the top swimmers are nowhere close to being professional.

For swimming fans, it’s just so annoying.

Every year, we are excited when looking at PRO SWIMMING psych list, only to get disappointed when many top swimmers scratch most events or bail out altogether

Adrian

No, it does happen in other sports as well, most notably in track and field meets. And track fans are similarly disappointed when stars scratch meets amd races all the time.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Adrian
4 months ago

Yep. Sydney McLaughlin and Athing Mu are now a punch line on track and field sites. They are more well known for not competing than the handful of times per year they show up. Ever since both of them have been coached by Bobby Kersee they’ll be entered in meets then have a phantom excuse to withdraw late.

They get away with it because the public at large doesn’t care. They’ll tune in to the Olympics and assume Sydney and Athing have competed regularly since Tokyo. It’s Oleksiakan

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Adrian
4 months ago

They are also “Olympic only” style sports that are not mainstream popular. In mainstream popular sports, stars don’t just scratch without a good reason.

justanotherswimmer
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
4 months ago

Yes and that reason being that in most other sports, all your funding won’t be taken away if you underperform in one or two specific meets a year. You can’t create a system where athletes are financially insecure and them blame these athletes for prioritizing training over entertaining you at in-season meets. In mainstream sports, athletes get a big cut of tickets sales, do you think that swimmers get any of it, even from worlds? My parents had to pay $500 to just to watch me represent my nation, does that also happen in mainstream sports? if we are comparing, don’t do it out of context

UWRF D-Squad
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
4 months ago

I feel like basketball players sit all the time for the reason of “just cuz”. It’s basketball, you don’t need three days rest in between games.

Mr Piano

The swimming pros don’t get paid like the other pros do, and these pro swim series meets cannot generate anywhere close to the same level of hype that in season games for other sports would.

Swimming is performance based and individualized at a pro level. Let’s be honest, only nerds like us care about seeing swimmers go 1.7 seconds slower than the 100 fly WR at some random meet.

Unless USA swimming works to completely revamp pro clubs to be more team-based, molding them to be a true continuation of the NCAA then nothing will change. But they probably don’t have enough funding to incentivize that.

ScovaNotiaSwimmer
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

Uhhh, people take sick time and paternity leave (or choose not to go on work travel close to due dates) in actual jobs too.

Adrian
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

Other pros that have scratched: Drew Kibler, Kayla Sanchez, Olivia Smoliga, Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland

Last edited 4 months ago by Adrian
Troyy
Reply to  Adrian
4 months ago

Litherland is still listed on tomorrow’s heat sheet.

NoFastTwitch
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

NBA players take games off all the time – and still get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for every game, including the ones they skip. Pro swimmers get paid relative peanuts even if they swim multiple events and set world records. I give enormous credit to swimmers like Finke and Ledecky who go out and compete as often as they do. Swimming will never be a spectator sport generating sustained interest and revenues like football, basketball, soccer, baseball, hockey, golf, etc,, no matter how often Dressel races or how well it’s marketed If it were ever going to happen, it would have happened by now. I’m just happy we get the swimming stars to come out as often as… Read more »

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

Swimming isn’t a job though. It’s essentially being self-employed. No other job makes you “re-earn” your spot in the top X number of employees to keep getting paid.

Yes, it’s annoying when people scratch and is bad for the sport IMO but I don’t think this is a fair analogy.

Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
4 months ago

Self employed is still a job my dude

justanotherswimmer
Reply to  Fraser Thorpe
4 months ago

yea, one where you decide for yourself how you work, instead of listening to input of people who has nothing to do with said job and won’t affect it financially whatsoever.

Coach Cwick
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

Family first.

woods
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

You, sir or madam, have clearly never shown up to an empty zoom invite

Cate
Reply to  BingBopBam
4 months ago

Or any major sport. This is why swimming will never really grow. The “professionals” don’t treat it as a profession,

Sherry Smit
4 months ago

Bruh did she actually scratch??

North Sea
Reply to  Sherry Smit
4 months ago

Who?

Tanner-Garapick- Oleksiak-McIntosh
Reply to  North Sea
4 months ago

Penny Oleksiak

Troyy
Reply to  Sherry Smit
4 months ago

She did.

North Sea
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Penny?

Troyy
Reply to  North Sea
4 months ago

Yes, she’s gone from the psych sheets.

North Sea
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Not good.

Justanopinion
Reply to  North Sea
4 months ago

What’s the over/under at this point that maybe she tries to pull the “knee injury” card and try to get placed on the Canadian team for Paris without having to actually race Trials?
Again, is she even actually training?

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  Sherry Smit
4 months ago

It’d be a shock if she didn’t scratch.

Jeepers
Reply to  Sherry Smit
4 months ago

She was never coming.

Andy
4 months ago

Excluding the first 50 and the final 50, Ledecky’s splits range from 31.01 to 31.84 with (I make it) a standard deviation of only 0.22 seconds. Is anyone else as metronomically consistent?

JimSwim22
Reply to  Andy
4 months ago

In my experience a large number of milers are that consistent. Just very few at that speed

mds
Reply to  Andy
4 months ago

I had this same thought as Andy in looking at the Arizona State v. Grand Canyon U. distance events.

Zalan Sarkany had a great SCY 1650 swim, touching at 14:28.09, a time faster than the NCAA winning 14:28.94 turned in by NC State’s Will Gallant last March. But when looking at the ASU meet results, with splits, my reaction was very similar to Andy’s, though I didn’t calculate standard deviation. Excluding the dive and hand touch 50s, Zalan’s range was from :26.17 to :26.63, a separation of only 0.46. He won by over 52 seconds so he was providing all the speed and pace on his own.

Likewise in the women’s 1650, ASU’s Deniz Ertan was 16:05.81,(SB/PB 15:53.23) at a… Read more »

ClubCoach
Reply to  Andy
4 months ago

I’m no statistician or mathematician but I checked Finke’s splits minus first 100 (both 1st and 2nd 50’s were under 30) and last 50 – range from 30.08 to 30.51 with a standard deviation of 0.12 …. I think….If you include his second 50 (29.82) the SD goes to 0.14

patrick
Reply to  Andy
4 months ago

And on average about 0.4 per 25 slower than Finke. She finished 24 seconds slower!!

SalParadise
4 months ago

Chip Wheelie wins the best name contest

JP input is too short
Reply to  SalParadise
4 months ago

Pretty sure he goes by Eli, which seems like the most reasonable shortening from that combination!

Shaq
4 months ago

Connor Lamastra easiest lock to make Olympic team I’ve ever seen

WV Swammer
4 months ago

Dressel out, baby is almost here

Smglsn12
4 months ago

Did Dressel drop out?

Maudzilla
Reply to  Smglsn12
4 months ago

Looks like it yes. Just checked 100 fly and 100 free

AJC in BOS
Reply to  Smglsn12
4 months ago

Yes, check his Instagram.

This Guy
Reply to  Smglsn12
4 months ago

Yes he dropped out. “too close to Meghan’s due date” is what he posted. Can’t blame him for that (though I’m sure a few online weirdos will)

swimster
Reply to  This Guy
4 months ago

keeping priorities in order. good for Mr. & Mrs. Dressel

Avp
Reply to  This Guy
4 months ago

I can’t blame him for that, but I think it is fair if some have an issue with the timing. A due date is something you know early enogh to probably not even get on the psych sheets.

Mako
Reply to  This Guy
4 months ago

Fair enough.

I wonder how a new baby is going to affect his training. It is not easy to swim when sleep deprived.

Last edited 4 months ago by Mako