2024 Pro Swim Series – Knoxville: Day 2 Finals Live Recap

2024 PRO SWIM SERIES – KNOXVILLE

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The first full finals session of the 2024 Knoxville Pro Swim Series will feature four events: the 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, and 400 freestyle.

Thursday Finals Heat Sheet

Throwing their name into contention in the first two events is Kate Douglass. In her first season as a pro-swimmer, the UVA product nabbed lane 5 in both the 100 free and 100 breast. In the 100, Douglass faces stiff competition as the 100 free is loaded with depth. Just .08 ahead of her this morning was fellow UVA product, Gretchen Walsh. Also joining the fray is American Record holder Simone Manuel as well as Abbey Weitzeil and Gretchen’s sister Alex Walsh.

In the 100 breast, Douglass will look to make up nearly a second difference over the top seed, Ireland’s Mona McSharry (who swims for the University of Tennessee). Joining Douglass in the double is Alex Walsh, who will swim out of lane 7 in both 100s tonight. The two American representatives in the 100 at Worlds, Lilly King and Lydia Jacoby, are lurking in wait as the 3rd and 4th seeds, respectively, and will look to move up the podium.

The 200 fly see the Texas trio of Dakota Luther, Kelly Pash, and Emma Sticklen attempt to take on the 2023 Female World Junior Swimmer of the Year, Summer McIntosh. The Canadian representing Sarasota Sharks has over 3.5 seconds faster than Luther this morning. Of note, also swimming a double this evening is Torri Huske, who, in addition to swimming in the A-Final of the 100 free, is the top seed in the 200 fly B-Final, swimming a 2:15.27 this morning.

The final event on the Women’s side, the 400 Free, sees, unsurprisingly, Katie Ledecky as the top seed. Her time of 4:07.50 this morning is just under a second faster than Paige Madden‘s time of 4:08.41. Joining the pair as the only other swimmer under 4:10 this morning was Jillian Cox, whose time of 4:09.84 is over 5 seconds faster than her swims at the US Open this past December.

The men’s side sees one of the US’s breakout stars from Worlds, Jack Alexy in lane 4, posting a speedy 48.28. You can read more about that prelim swim here. Joining Alexy in the A-final are training partners Brooks Curry and Destin Lasco, as well as fellow Worlds swimmer Matt King.

The 100 breast sees a mix of veterans and newcomers as Michael Andrew will look to hold off the likes of Nic Fink and Noah Nichols as well as teenager Joshua Chen. Andrew’s time this morning of 1:00.14 was over a second clear of the 2nd seed Nichols’ 1:01.32. The B-Final also shows some familiar names, such as Cody Miller, Will Licon, and Charlie Swanson, doing battle and trying to post times that put them into contention for the Olympic Trials finals.

Austrian Native and Tennessee swimmer Martin Espernberger takes the middle lane in the 200 fly, swimming a 1:57.70 this morning. The only other swimmers sub-2 were Trenton Julian and Luca Urlando, who will look to pass the Austrian and take the win. Taking 4th at Worlds and the 6th seed tonight is UVA-commit Thomas Heilman.

The 400 free sees another Austrian in Lane 4 as Felix Auboeck will look to hold off Florida training partners Kieran Smith and Bobby Finke. Looking to spoil the Gator pair is Cal swimmer Lucas Henveaux, who sits as the #2 seed behind Auboeck.

To note: all of the C-Finals will swim after all of A and B Finals are completed.

WOMEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – Finals

  • World Record: 51.71 – Sarah Sjostrom (2017)
  • American Record: 52.04 – Simone Manuel (2019)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 53.12 – Sarah Sjostrom (2016)
  • US Open Record: 52.54 – Simone Manuel (2018)
  1. Kate Douglass – 53.12
  2. Gretchen Walsh – 53.64
  3. Simone Manuel – 53.73
  4. Torri Huske – 53.82
  5. Abbey Weitzeil – 54.00
  6. Alex Walsh – 54.55
  7. Maxime Parker – 54.58
  8.  Beata Nelson – 54.70

Leading at the 50 was Gretchen Walsh in 25.29, closely followed by Douglass and Huske. Douglass used a strong backhalf to surge to the win in a time of 53.12, tying the Pro Swim record set in 2016 by the World Record Holder, Sarah Sjostrom. G. Walsh would hold on to second, and a resurgent Manuel nabbed third.

With a list of swimmers with multiple world medals, the B-Final did not disappoint as Catie Deloof took the win in a tight race, touching in 54.68. Deloof passed recent UVA transfer Claire Curzan in the final 25 and won by just .03. Rounding out the top 3 was Maggie MacNeil, who finished in 54.97.

MEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – Finals

  • World Record: 46.86 – David Popovici (2022)
  • American Record: 46.96 – Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 48.00 – Nathan Adrian (2016)
  • US Open Record: 47.39 – Caeleb Dressel / Ryan Held
  1. Jack Alexy – 48.24
  2. Brooks Curry – 48.68
  3. Matt King – 48.91
  4. Santo Condorell – 49.03
  5. Shaine Casas – 49.05
  6. Carson Foster – 49.51
  7. Destin Lasco – 50.01
  8. Alberto Mestre – 1:06.70

Looking strong from start to finish, the 2023 Worlds silver medalists, Jack Alexy took .04 of his time from this morning to earn gold. Recent transfer to the Cal training group, Brooks Curry swam 48.68, which was good for 2nd and faster than his swims at December’s US Open. Nabbing 3rd was Matt King, whose time of 48.91 represented the only other swim sub-49.

Don’t be alarmed by the 1:06.70 by Mestre. The Venezuelan swimmer seemingly went out for a 50 time, touching in 22.03, a time faster than his swims at Worlds and Pan-Ams.

Much like the B-Final in the Woman’s 100, the Men’s was not short on star power as Jordan Crooks, the 2022 Short Course World Champ, nabbed the win in a time of 49.24, just .04 ahead of Hunter Armstrong.

WOMEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE – Finals

  • World Record: 1:04.13 – Lilly King (2017)
  • American Record: 1:04.13 – Lilly King (2017)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:05.32 – Lilly King (2021)
  • US Open Record: 1:04.45 – Jessica Hardy (2009)
  1. Lilly King – 1:05.67
  2. Mona McSharry – 1:06.23
  3. Lydia Jacoby – 1:06.62
  4. Kate Douglass – 1:06.67
  5. Alex Walsh – 1:07.70
  6. Sophie Angus – 1:08.16
  7. Anna Elendt – 1:08.41
  8. Ella Nelson – 1:08.48

Making maybe a statement swim, Lilly King took the win in a highly anticipated race, touching in 1:05.67. To note her time was faster than her 4th place time at Worlds (1:06.02) and would have actually been good for the silver. McShary swam a strong race to place second, while Douglass, on a quick turnaround, finished .05 away from Jacoby’s 1:06.62, which was good for 3rd. Also completing that double was Alex Walsh who placed 6th in the 100 free and 5th in the breast.

The B-Final saw UVA swimmer Emma Weber take the win over 28-year Rachel Bernhardt, touching in 1:08.31 vs 1:08.86, both times over half a second faster than this morning’s swims.

MEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE – Finals

  • World Record: 56.88 – Adam Peaty (2019)
  • American Record: 58.14 – Michael Andrew (2021)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 58.58 – Adam Peaty (2017)
  • US Open Record: 58.14 – Michael Andrew (2021)
  1. Nic Fink – 1:00.36
  2. Michael Andrew – 1:00.41
  3. Joshua Chen – 1:00.67
  4. Noah Nichols – 1:00.92
  5. Mitch Mason – 1:01.13
  6. Alon Baer – 1:01.38
  7. Jake Foster – 1:01.41
  8. Lyubomir Epitropov – 1:01.59

Nic Fink got it done tonight. Just .05 ahead of Andrew, the 30 -year-old swimmer posted a time of 1:00.36, over a second faster than his swim this morning. Fink made his move on the last 50, posting a split of 32.32 as compared to Andrew’s 32.62.

Harvard Commit Joshua Chen placed 3rd in a time of 1:00.67, nearly a second faster than his swim this morning, and represents a new personal best by .03.

The B final saw a tight race between Miguel De Lara, Will Licon and Cody Miller with the win going to De Lara in a time of 1:01.25

WOMEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY – Finals

  • World Record: 2:01.81 – Zige Liu (2009)
  • American Record: 2:03.87 – Regan Smith (2023)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 2:05.05 – Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • US Open Record: 2:03.87 – Regan Smith (2023)
  1. Summer McIntosh – 2:05.73
  2. Emma Sticklen – 2:08.57
  3. Kelly Pash – 2:09.02
  4. Tess Howley – 2:09.57
  5. Dakota Luther – 2:11.65
  6. Addison Sauickie- 2:13.1
  7. Addison Reese – 2:13.74
  8. Leah Gingrich – 2:15.09

Looking smooth and in control from start to finish was Summer McIntosh. Her time of 2:05.73, was a little off her Pro Swim record of 2:05.05. McIntosh, the only swimmer out sub -1:00 (59.60) extended her lead over the back 100 to touch 2.84 ahead of Sticklen. Sticklen’s time of 2:08.57 was a drop of nearly 4 seconds from this morning and right around her times from this past summer’s World’s Trials. Nabbing 3rd was fellow Longhorn Kelly Pash in 2:09.02.

The B-Final saw Torri Huske take it out fast, touching in 1:02.04. Huske would lead through the 150 but was run down by Leah Shackley, who touched in 2:12.41, 1.2 ahead of Huske.

MEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY – Finals

  • World Record: 1:50.34 – Kristof Milak (2022)
  • American Record: 1:51.51 – Michael Phelps (2009)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 1:53.84 – Luca Urlando (2019)
  • US Open Record: 1:52.20 – Michael Phelps (2008)
  1. Martin Espernberger – 1:56.58
  2. Trenton Julian – 1:56.97
  3. Thomas Heilman – 1:57.23
  4. Luca Urlando – 1:57.80
  5. Dare Rose – 1:58.02
  6. Ryan Merani – 1:59.84
  7. Connor Lamastra – 2:00.82
  8. Gabe Jett – 2:02.02

If the pool was just a little smaller, Trenton Julian would be your winner, but using a blazing last 50 of 29.89 Austrian and Tennesse swimmer, Espernberger passed Julian in the last 25 to take the win in 1:56.58. Julian, who led at the 100 in a time of 55.18, managed to hold on to 2nd place as Thomas Heilman crept up in lane 7 to place 3rd.

WOMEN’S 400 FREESTYLE – Finals

  • World Record: 3:55.38 – Ariarne Titmus (2023)
  • American Record: 3:56.46 – Katie Ledecky (2016)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 3:57.94 – Katie Ledecky (2018)
  • US Open Record: 3:57.94 – Katie Ledecky (2018)
  1. Katie Ledecky – 4:03.46
  2. Paige Madden – 4:05.66
  3. Leah Smith – 4:07.85
  4. Jillian Cox – 4:08.22
  5. Lillie Nesty – 4:14.60
  6. Kate McCarville – 4:15.12
  7. Julia Mrozinski – 4:16.55
  8. Alexis Yager – 4:20.25

Domestically, at least, when the words Ledecky and 400 free appear together, the script seems to write itself. Ledecky, who led from start to finish, took the win in a time of 4:03.46, just a second off her time from the US Open. Ledecky was 57.28 at the 100 and 1:58.80 at the 200, leading by nearly 3 seconds ahead of Paige Madden, whose halfway split was 2:01.66. Madden’s time of 4:05.66 was notable as it was faster than all of her 400 times last year at World Trials, Pan-Ams, and the US Open, and represents her fastest time since the Olympics.

Taking the win in the B-Final was Sienna Angove, who touched in 4:15.23. the 17-year-old dropped nearly 6 seconds from her prelims swim and was less than a second away from her PB.

MEN’S 400 FREESTYLE – Finals

  • World Record: 3:40.07 – Paul Biedermann (2009)
  • American Record: 3:42.78 – Larsen Jensen (2008)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: 3:43.55 – Sun Yang (2016)
  • US Open Record: 3:43.53 – Larsen Jensen (2008)
  1.  Felix Auboeck – 3:46.78
  2. Lucas Henveaux – 3:48.70
  3. Kieran Smith – 3:49.63
  4. Bobby Finke – 3:52.06
  5. Jay Litherland – 3:54.25
  6. Chip Wheelie Shoyat – 3:56.48
  7. Joey Tepper – 3:58.36
  8. Levi Sandidge – 4:01.39

With 100 left, Belgian and Cal swimmer, Henveaux had the lead over Auboeck and Smith, but the Austrian made it two in a row for the Austrian men, taking the win in 3:46.78. Auboeck’s last 100 split of 55.23 easily moved him ahead of Henveaux, who was more than 2 seconds slower over the last quarter of the race. Auboeck, who is planning on competing at the Doha Worlds, has set himself up nicely for a strong run at the medals next month.

Taking 3rd and nipping under 3;50 was Kieran Smith, who touched in 3:49.63, who, like Henveaux, was unable to match the Austrian’s acceleration over the last 100.

Showing some outside smoke from lane 1 in the B-final was Matthew Marsteiner. the 17-year-old NC State commit swam to the win in a time of 3:57.97, dropping over 3 seconds from his time.

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BingBopBam
4 months ago

Just for reference, that 200FL is the fastest Summer has been outside of the March-July period. Quite promising!

Hank
4 months ago

Just when MA’s breaststroke seemed to be coming around, he adds time for finals. Still no real signs that he is going to approach his AR this year. He has struggled a bit in breaststroke since Tokyo. It will be interesting to see where his other events are and if this is a breaststroke specific issue or just a lack of fitness.

Hank
4 months ago

Ledecky’s 1500m winning time is more impressive than her 400m winning time which continues the theme of her being more dominant at the 800/1500 than the 200/400 distances. If she dropped the 800/1500 and focused on training for the 200/400 could she dominate these events too or is she too much of a distance swimmer?

Eric Angle
Reply to  Hank
4 months ago

If anything, I wonder if at some point Ledecky should drop the 400 and below and just do the 800 and 1500.

Awsi Dooger
4 months ago

McIntosh’s 200 butterfly would more devastating if she had Sticklen’s underwaters.

I keep waiting for McIntosh to notably extend her underwaters but it hasn’t happened yet, in any event.

John26
4 months ago

Doing the arithmetic on her times, unless Summer has made a lot of progress in the breaststroke, she’ll probably be around 2:08mid in the 200IM. I’d probably take Douglass for the win this week

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  John26
4 months ago

I think Summer will be faster when there’s an actual race on rather than her winning by 3 seconds in the 200 fly. Assuming Douglass even swims it.

Troyy
Reply to  John26
4 months ago

Douglass has the 200 breast not long before.

Tanner-Garapick-Oleksiak-McIntosh
4 months ago

Unfortunately it looks like Katie Ledecky scratched tomorrow’s 200 Free. She still has the 400IM though.

Breezeway
Reply to  Tanner-Garapick-Oleksiak-McIntosh
4 months ago

Ducking Summer

The Pathologist
Reply to  Breezeway
4 months ago

Summeritis

oxyswim
4 months ago

I only noticed it a little bit from the UVA youtube race videos from the Tennessee Invite (and I didn’t see the US Open 100), but seeing Gretchen race the 100 FR today they clearly have made big stroke changes. She’s gone to much more of a bent elbow recovery and it seems to be paying off. Excited to see where it’s going to continue to go over the next 5 months.

https://youtu.be/MVuN8owyFuE?si=OfcPEQL-xSRdkvfv

HOO love
Reply to  oxyswim
4 months ago

she made these changes prior to last summer

Sherry Smit
4 months ago

Ledecky 4:03…