2024 Pro Swim Series — Knoxville: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2024 PRO SWIM SERIES – KNOXVILLE

Day 4 Finals Heat Sheet

It’s the last day of racing in Knoxville, the first stop of the 2024 Pro Series. The 800 free fastest heats, 100 backstroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 IM, and 50 free all are on tap as we wrap up the competition.

Gator teammates and Tokyo  Katie Ledecky and Bobby Finke kick off the session in their respective fastest heats of the 800 freestyle. Both are looking to back up their dominant wins in the 1500 freestyle to open the meet on the first day of the meet. Behind Ledecky, Jillian Cox, Leah Smithand Paige Madden will vie for 2nd place.

In the men’s race, Felix Auboeck continues to flex his freestyle range–he was 2nd in the 1500 freestyle and won the 200 freestyle. He’s seeded 2nd ahead of Lucas Henveaux, who is one of the Cal pro swimmers sticking around for the final session in Knoxville.

Among the Cal swimmer scratches is Isabelle Stadden, who was one of two women to break 1:00 in prelims of the 100 backstroke. The event should still be a good race though, as Katharine Berkoff aims to hold off Claire Curzan, Rhyan White and Josephine Fuller. On the men’s side, Kacper Stokowski holds a five-hundredths lead ahead of Shaine Casas after posting a 54.11 to lead prelims.

Then, Kate Douglass gets her 200 breaststroke/50 freestyle double underway. In the 200 breast, she’ll go head-to-head with Lilly King, who won the 100 breaststroke with a world-leading time on Day 2. Douglass holds the advantage after her 2:2:23.04 in prelims but King is clearly on form. Don’t forget about Mona McSharry either, who’s swimming in her home pool and is seeded 2nd with a 2:27.43.

In the 50 freestyle, Douglass is seeded 3rd behind Kasia Wasick (24.42) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.76).

WATCH THE LIVE STREAM ON THE USA SWIMMING NETWORK OR YOUTUBE (COURTESY OF USA SWIMMING):

Women’s 800m Freestyle — Timed Final

Top 8:

  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC) — 8:14.97
  2. Paige Madden (NYAC) — 8:27.64
  3. Jillian Cox (TXLA) — 8:28.00
  4. Leah Smith (TXLA) — 8:38.90
  5. Aly Breslin (TENN) — 8:47.69
  6. Ella Dyson (OWLS) — 8:49.29
  7. Mila Nikanorov (HRA) — 8:51.45
  8. Clare Custer (SYS) — 8:53.22

Katie Ledecky did her thing in the fastest heat of the women’s 800 freestyle. She cruised to the win by 12.67 seconds, touching in 8:14.97. That betters her time from the U.S. Open and moves her ahead of Lani Pallister‘s 8:15.11 from the 2023 World Cup for #1 in the season’s World Rankings.

Paige Madden won a close race for 2nd with 2023 Worlds finalist Jillian Cox. Madden has looked strong here in Knoxville; earlier in the meet she swam her fastest 400 freestyle time since 2021. Now she’s hit a new personal best in the 800 freestyle with a 8:27.64, taking about three-tenths off the time she swam at the Pan American Games in October. Cox took 3rd in 8:28.00, just .36 seconds behind Madden.

Men’s 800m Freestyle — Timed Final

  • World Record: Zhang Lin (CHN) – 7:32.12 (2009)
  • American Record: Bobby Finke (USA) – 7:38.67  (2023)
  • U.S Open Record: Bobby Finke (USA) – 7:40.34 (2023)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Ahmed Hafnaoui (TUN) – 7:48.50 (2023)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 8:09.69

Top 8:

  1. Felix Auboeck (AUT) — 7:51.96
  2. Lucas Henveaux (CAL) — 7:55.64
  3. Bobby Finke (SPA) — 7:55.85
  4. Matthew Marsteiner (WAVE) — 8:10.92
  5. Isaac Feig (UN) — 8:11.19
  6. Connor Lamastra (DYNA) — 8:13.42
  7. Rafael Ponce de Leon (TENN) — 8:16.36
  8. Joey Tepper (TENN) — 8:17.00

Felix Auboeck continues to have a strong outing at the Knoxville Pro Series. He’s taken on the 200/400/800/1500 freestyle over the last four days and won the 200/400 and finished 2nd in the 1500. Now, he’s added a win in the 800 freestyle as well.

He swam 7:51.96 to win decisively, beating Lucas Henveaux by 3.68 seconds. His season best in the event stands at 7:50.93 from the Rotterdam Qualification Meet in December. Like the women’s race, there was a tight race for second behind the winner. Henveaux beat out Bobby Finke, the American record holder and Tokyo gold medallist, by .21 seconds. Henveaux’s time marks a new personal best for him, getting under the 7:55.82 he swam in December.

Finke rounded out the podium with a 7:55.85, the final swimmer in the event to break eight minutes.

Women’s 100m Backstroke — Final

  • World Record: Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 57.33 (2023)
  • American Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 57.57 (2019)
  • U.S Open Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 57.71 (2023)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 57.90 (2023)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 1:01.89

Top 8:

  1. Katharine Berkoff (NCS) — 59.06
  2. Claire Curzan (UN) — 59.11
  3. Rhyan White (WOLF) — 59.84
  4. Leah Shackley (BRY) — 1:00.16
  5. Josephine Fuller (TENN) — 1:00.31
  6. Charlotte Crush (LAK) — 1:00.99
  7. Taylor Ruck (MVN) — 1:01.04
  8. Morgan Scott (TFA) — 1:01.08

In her 200 backstroke win, Claire Curzan built into the race, coming on strong in the final 50 meters to earn the win. She took a different strategy here in the 100 backstroke final, jumping on the race from the start. She flipped first at the 50 in 28.76 ahead of Wolfpack teammates Rhyan White and Katharine Berkoff.

Berkoff fired back on the back half of the race. She split 30.08, pulling herself ahead of White and Curzan to take the win. She clocked 59.06, hitting the same time that she swam in prelims.

Curzan and White both joined her sub-1:00. Curzan held on down the stretch, out-splitting White 30.35 to 30.89 to ensconce herself safely in second place. Curzan touched in 59.11, while White hit 59.84 for 3rd place.

Finishing in 7th place, Taylor Ruck posted her fastest time since April 2022 when she went 59.67 at Canadian Trials.

Men’s 100m Backstroke — Final

  • World Record: Thomas Ceccon (ITA) – 51.60 (2022)
  • American Record: Ryan Murphy (USA) – 51.85 (2016)
  • U.S Open Record: Aaron Piersol (USA) – 51.94 (2009)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: David Plummer (USA) – 52.40 (2016)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 55.69

Top 8:

  1. Shaine Casas (TXLA) — 53.54
  2. Hunter Armstrong (NYAC) — 53.97
  3. Jonny Marshall (UN) — 54.36
  4. Kacper Stokowski (NCS) — 54.38
  5. Justin Ress (MCN) — 54.75
  6. Kieran Smith (RAC) — 54.81
  7. Aidan Stoffle (AU) — 55.14
  8. Jacob Molacek (TFA) — 55.31

Shaine Casas led the men’s 100 backstroke ‘A’ final from start to finish, echoing the way that he won the 100 fly yesterday. He flipped at 25.87, then powered home in 27.67, taking the win in 53.54. The swim moves him into the top 10 in the world this season, tying him at #9.

2023 Worlds bronze medalist Hunter Armstrong made a move on the final 50 with his 27.58 closing speed. He ran out of room to catch Casas and continue his Pro Series 100 backstroke win streak, but he did join Casas under 54 seconds. He took 2nd in 53.97, about two-tenths slower than he was at the U.S. Open.

Jonny Marshall had a breakthrough in yards backstroke at the Georgia Fall Invite–Florida’s midseason meet. He continued to show progress here in the big pool, taking a couple hundredths off his personal best with a 54.36.

Women’s 200m Breaststroke — Final

  • World Record: Evgeniia Chikunova (RUS) – 2:17.55 (2023)
  • American Record: Rebecca Soni (USA) – 2:19.59 (2012)
  • U.S Open Record: Rebecca Soni (USA) – 2:20.38 (2009)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Annie Lazor (USA) – 2:20.77 (2019)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 2:31.69

Top 8:

  1. Kate Douglass (NYAC) — 2:19.30 *AMERICAN and U.S. OPEN RECORD*
  2. Lilly King (ISC) — 2:24.34
  3. Mona McSharry (TENN) — 2:25.84
  4. Ella Nelson (UVA) — 2:26.28
  5. Tess Cieplucha (TNAQ) — 2:28.92
  6. Alexis Yager (TNAQ) — 2:29.32
  7. Sophie Angus (CAN) — 2:30.82
  8. Hannah Marinovich (CLOV) — 2:31.07

Kate Douglass put on a show in the women’s 200 breaststroke. We thought that there might be a battle between her and Lilly King, but Douglass wasted no time throwing down the gauntlet. She distanced herself from the field from the start (32.01) and her lead only grew as the race continued. By the final turn, she had a lead of over three seconds, which she extended further on the closing meters.

Douglass hit the wall in 2:19.30, breaking Rebecca Soni‘s American record from 2012. Her swim also marks new U.S. Open and Pro Swim Series records and vaults her to the top of the season’s world rankings ahead of 2023 world champion Tatjana Shoenmaker. According to the in-pool announcer, Douglass’ time also ranks her #4 all-time. She followed up her opening split of 32.01 with 35.04/35.92/36.33 splits, getting under Soni’s mark by .29 seconds.

Behind her, Lilly King posted a 2:24.34, dropping 3.49 seconds from her prelims time. King easily touched in 2nd place, with Tennessee’s own Mona McSharry taking 3rd in 2:25.84, holding off a late charge from Ella Nelson.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke — Final

  • World Record: Qin Haiyang (CHN) – 2:05.48 (2023)
  • American Record: Josh Prenot (USA) – 2:07.17 (2016)
  • U.S Open Record: Josh Prenot (USA) – 2:07.17 (2016)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Jake Foster (USA) – 2:08.23 (2023)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 2:15.99

Top 8:

  1. Lyubomir Epitropov (TNAQ) — 2:11.59
  2. Will Licon (TXLA) — 2:11.77
  3. Nic Fink (MAAC) — 2:12.89
  4. Joshua Chen (TFA) — 2:13.71
  5. Jake Foster (TEX) — 2:13.75
  6. Miguel De Lara (PRVT) — 2:13.99
  7. Grant Sanders (FAST) — 2:14.83
  8. Alon Baer (UN) — 2:14.99

Lyubomir Epitropov came on strong during the closing meters of the men’s 200 breaststroke, passing Will Licon for the win in front of a home Knoxville crowd. That makes it back-to-back podiums in the 200 breaststroke for Tennessee swimmers as McSharry earned 3rd in the women’s race.

Licon was leading for much of the race, and he held the lead at the final turn. But Epitropov split 33.71 on the final 50, beating Licon’s 34.61 split. That gave Epitropov all the room he needed to get his hands on the wall first in a season-best 2:11.59, beating Licon by .18 seconds.

Nic Fink also put in a dig on the last 50 meters. He split 34.17 to grab 3rd place in 2:12.89.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley — Final

  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:06.12 (2015)
  • American Record: Ariana Kukors (USA) – 2:06.15 (2009)
  • U.S Open Record: Kate Douglass (USA) – 2:07.09 (2023)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Summer McIntosh (CAN) – 2:08.08 (2023)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 2:16.09

Top 8:

  1. Summer McIntosh (SYS) — 2:07.16 *PRO SWIM RECORD*
  2. Alex Walsh (UVA) — 2:07.63
  3. Kelly Pash (TEX) — 2:13.33
  4. Ashley McMillan (CAN) — 2:13.38
  5. Beata Nelson (WISC) — 2:14.01
  6. Tess Cieplucha (TNAQ) — 2:16.35
  7. Josephine Fuller (TENN) — 2:17.38
  8. Angie Coe (TEX) — 2:15.18

We were treated to a great race between Summer McIntosh and Alex Walsh in the ‘A’ final of the 200 IM. McIntosh held the lead after the first 100 meters, turning for the breaststroke leg in 58.97 more than a second ahead of Walsh. But as expected, Walsh made her move on the breaststroke leg.

Walsh erased her deficit to McIntosh over the 50 meters of breaststroke and held an eight-hundredths advantage over McIntosh heading into the last 50 meters. It all came down to the freestyle leg then and McIntosh out-split Walsh 30.01 to 30.56. That gave her the win with a 2:07.16, breaking her own Pro Swim Series Record that she set last year. She just missed Douglass’ U.S. Open record as well, which stands at 2:07.09.

With her time, McIntosh takes over #1 in the world this season ahead of Kaylee McKeown, while Walsh’s season-best 2:07.63 slots her in at #3. Texas’ Kelly Pash rounds out the podium, taking 3rd by five hundredths ahead of Ashley McMillan.

Men’s 200m Individual Medley — Final

  • World Record: Ryan Lochte (USA) – 1:54.00 (2011)
  • American Record: Ryan Lochte (USA) – 1:54.00 (2011)
  • U.S Open Record: Ryan Lochte (USA) – 1:54.46 (2009)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Leon Marchand (FRA) – 1:55.68 (2023)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 2:03.49

Top 8:

  1. Carson Foster (RAYS) — 1:58.83
  2. Trenton Julian (MVN) — 1:58.89
  3. Grant House (SUN) — 1:59.02
  4. Kieran Smith (RAC) — 2:00.77
  5. Maximus Williamson (LAC) — 2:01.00
  6. Jay Litherland (TXLA) — 2:06.10
  7. Grant Sanders (FAST) — 2:07.50

Carson Foster held the advantage for the majority of the race but it still came down to the wire for him as Trenton Julian, Grant House, and Kieran Smith all closed well on the freestyle leg. Foster held a .65 second advantage over Julian after the backstroke leg, turning in 54.68.

Julian erased almost all of that advantage on the breaststroke leg, turning for free just three-hundredths behind Foster. Foster, who finished 5th in this event at 2023 Worlds, split 28.87 on the freestyle leg. That was enough for him to hold on and take the win in 1:58.83, sweeping the IMs in Knoxville.

But it was a mad dash for the finish, and it wasn’t just Julian pushing Foster down the stretch. House put in a huge effort on the free leg, out-splitting the other top 4 finishers with a 28.12 closing 50. Smith turned in the next best free split of 28.71 but ran out of room and finished off the podium in 4th place (2:00.77).

Julian touched second, five-hundredths behind Foster in 1:58.89. House’s freestyle split landed him in 3rd with a 1:59.02, rounding out the podium and the swimmers under 2:00.

Women’s 50m Freestyle — Final

  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 23.61 (2023)
  • American Record: Simone Manuel (USA) – 23.97 (2017)
  • U.S Open Record: Abbey Weitzeil (USA) – 24.00 (2023)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 24.17 (2016)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 25.69

Top 8:

  1. Kasia Wasick (DM) — 24.31
  2. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) — 24.57
  3. Kate Douglass (NYAC) — 24.67
  4. Simone Manuel (SUN) — 24.82
  5. Catie DeLoof (NYAC)/Erika Connolly (TNAQ) — 25.23
  6. (tie)
  7. Torri Huske (AAC) — 25.25
  8. Katharine Berkoff (NCS) — 25.62

The top three out of prelims held the same positions after the final, with Kasia Wasick taking the win in 24.31. Wasick’s time is .13 seconds off her season best time from the Rotterdam Qualification meet.

Abbey Weitzeil, one of the pro Cal swimmers to stick around for this last finals session, maintained her 2nd place with a 24.57. She finished a tenth ahead of Kate Douglasswho posted a 24.67 fresh off her American record outing in the 200 breaststroke. Sun Devil pro Simone Manuel also got under 25 seconds, taking 4th place in 24.82. That’s exactly the time that she went at the U.S. Open in December.

Men’s 50m Freestyle — Final

  • World Record: Cesar Cielo Filho (BRA) – 20.91 (2009)
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 21.04 (2019)
  • U.S Open Record: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 21.04 (2021)
  • Pro Swim Series Record: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 21.51 (2020)
  • OLY Trials Cut – 22.79

Top 8:

  1. Michael Andrew (MASA) — 21.87
  2. Jordan Crooks (TENN)/Santo Condorelli (DM) — 22.06
  3. (tie)
  4. Matt King (TFA) — 22.12
  5. Alberto Mestre (UN) — 22.28
  6. Ian Ho (PRVT) — 22.36
  7. Brooks Curry (CAL) — 22.37
  8. Lamar Taylor (UN) — 26.21

In the last ‘A’ final of the meet, Michael Andrew earned the win in the men’s 50 freestyle. He was the only swimmer in the field to break 22 seconds. His winning time of 21.87 is seven-hundredths off his time from the U.S. Open, which currently ranks him 4th in the world rankings this season.

Jordan Crooks and Santo Condorelli tied for 2nd place in 22.06. That’s a season-best for both of them and it’s Crooks’ first 50 freestyle in LCM since Worlds. The two of them out-touched Matt King by six-hundredths. King, who’s on an Olympic redshirt year and training at Texas Ford Aquatics clocked a 22.12.

Alberto Mestre went for a 50 free time in the 100 free earlier this meet. He was off the 22.03 split he swam there, taking 5th in 22.28.

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I miss the ISL
6 months ago

Can we give it up for Alex Walsh? The combination of her struggling (by her standards) in 2023 (NCAA’s, Fukuoka) and being written off en masse for Paris in the 2 IM + being incredibly transparent on Katie and Missy’s podcast about mental health and not being fully motivated to try 100% in practice and letting us all know that it is acceptable to see a therapist and being “not okay” + throwing down monster times close to her PBs in both on and off events? Things are lining up perfectly for her for Paris, and as an Alex Walsh fan and someone who grew up swimming at the same meets as her, I love to see this.

Octavio Gupta
Reply to  I miss the ISL
6 months ago

Alex Walsh is our queen LFG!!!! 🏅

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  I miss the ISL
6 months ago

I always love the positivity of Alex Walsh!

Owlmando
6 months ago

KD NEW AR LFG!!

jablo
6 months ago

guys, Will Licon is still swimming? I thought he was retired lmao I haven’t heard his name in years

Lemon Water
6 months ago

Why is USA Swimming’s YouTube not posting the videos of any non American wins? (with the exception of McIntosh). I’m tryna rewatch the 2 fly and 2 free but they aren’t there

Tim D
Reply to  Lemon Water
6 months ago

That’s really pitiful of USA Swimming to do that. Many of the people enjoying those videos are family and friends years from now.

Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

Douglass always falls behind King early. When she was immediately ahead I sat forward and took notice. This does look different. Then at 1:07 flat it was definitely going sub-2:20…just how much?

I haven’t counted strokes but it looks like Douglass is still gliding superbly but taking more strokes per 50 at quicker tempo.

It’s absolutely remarkable how brutally wrong the Australian commenters were about Kate Douglass. Now they are forced to beg for a Russian and a Canadian to defeat her.

23/51/1:52
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

Would be awfully nice if every comment you made wasn’t thinly veiled hatred of Australia.
It would be a real shame if we ever needed more motivation to prove our worth, wouldn’t it?

Sub13
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

Babe, if a swimmer you love swims an incredible time and the only thing you can think is “I can’t wait to insult the Aussies” then you’ve got a problem.

Also ironic considering you and other Americans were begging for Summer and Siobhan to beat Aussies in freestyle

Last edited 6 months ago by Sub13
Joel
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

What about the commenters who said she’d break the WR at trials, and then at Worlds in 2023. Weren’t they brutally wrong too? Or doesn’t that count?
We knew she was very good but the WR claims in 2023 were crazy. Yes she is closer now and good on her. But she’s not there yet regarding the WR. I think she’s awesome btw.

snailSpace
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

Awsi “Kate Douglass has a breaststroke that can’t improve” Dooger, back to contradicting himself lol.

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  snailSpace
6 months ago

I hope some people keep receipts of everything Awsi Dooger said in Swimswam comments.

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

Challenge: Awsi Dooger not trashing Australians and Australian swimmers.

Impossible.

Australians must be having so much fun living rent free in your head.

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

Actually, I have not seen Australians making claims about Kate Douglas.

What I have seen is some readers, presumably Americans, who said that KD would swim 2:15-2:16 LCM and broke WR after she broke 200 SCY record.

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

Seems like you’re still hurting that your claim before Fukuoka about Titmus is finished didn’t materialize.

Let it go.

Jimmy DeSnuts
6 months ago

WOAH… when reading the recap i was expecting an epic 200 IM. I was NOT expecting an American record from any event. wow. great swim for KD. Hopefully whoever said she couldn’t break a LC WR is getting ready to eat their words. 2:19 in January is wild. When the Olympics come around get ready, as Doc Brown said, you’re gonna see some serious shit

GrameziPT
6 months ago

Kate Douglass is a superstar! I hope the rumors that she might be done after Paris are totally fake. I can see her coming out of Paris 2024 as the poster girl for the USA and the 2028 Olympics. Such an amazing talent! Wow! Lets go Kate!

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  GrameziPT
6 months ago

What rumors?

She already said right after that article was posted that she was joking.

Taa

Yeah you’re not gonna be able to milk the sponsors for a few years if you quit right away

PCB
6 months ago

Great swimming tonight! KD the highlight in the 2 BR but that 200 IM also lived up to the hype!

Summer was probably happy to finally be challenged. Great swims by both — 2:07 in January is super fast!

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, …

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