2024 Speedo Atlanta Classic: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2024 SPEEDO ATLANTA CLASSIC DRIVEN BY JIM ELLIS CADILLAC

Saturday Finals Heat Sheets

Unsurprisingly, many of the biggest names at this meet have scratched out of tonights’ final session. That means that swim fans who make the trek to watch in person (or who are tuning in via the livestream) won’t get to see the likes of Katie Ledecky or Caeleb Dressel race, but there should still be some great racing in store and ample chances for some up and coming swimmers to shine.

Scratches in the 800 free mean that Florida’s Aryan Nehra of India and Georgia’s Dune Coetzee of South Africa will take the respective middle lanes in the first two events of the evening, the fastest heats of the 800 free. With top seeds Katie Ledecky and Kieran Smith pulling out of the 200 IM finals, lane 4 will be long to Lebanese national  Munzer Kabbaraand 17-year-old Lilla Bognar.

A pair of swimmers will be going for the backstroke sweeps tonight, with Phoebe Bacon on the women’s side and Jack Aikins on the men’s side attempting to follow up last night’s wins in the 200 back with victories in the 100 back tonight. Bacon holds the top seed for the women. Aikins will face a field that features a number of current college swimmers, including Polish national and NC State star Kacper Stokowski, who posted the fastest time this morning.

100 breast champ Mona McSharry will also be going for a sweep after taking the top seed in the 200 breast this morning, while 17 year-old Xavier Ruiz led the men this morning and will swim for the win tonight. Men’s 100 breast champion Evgenii Somov opted not to race the 200 breast today, and instead he’ll be in the A-final of the 50 free, where Santiago Grassi of Argentina posted the top time this morning.

Veteran Catie DeLoof holds the top seed in the women’s 50 free, and she’ll face off against a strong field that includes Egyptian Olympian Farida Osman, among others.

Women’s 800 Freestyle — Fastest Heat

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 8:26.71
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 8:45.79

Overall Top 10:

  1. Abby McCulloh (SA) – 8:36.94
  2. Kate McCarville (UN) – 8:45.15
  3. Ava Topolewski (GW) – 8:45.72
  4. Brooke Travis (UNTAC) – 8:45.80
  5. Liberty Williams (BAMA) – 8:47.22
  6. Dune Coetzee (ABSC) – 8:48.40
  7. Mackenzie Brandt (BAMA – 8:49.78
  8. Caroline Pennington (FLOR) – 8:49.89
  9. Anna Moehn (UN) – 8:53.04
  10. Mia Abruzzo (PWAC) – 8:57.44

Liberty Williams had the fastest time in the early heats with a 8:47.22, but four women went faster in the final heat, including Abby McCulloh, who won with a 8:36.94. McCulloh, the reigning NCAA champion in the 1650 free, was less than a second off of her best time tonight and won by over eight seconds. Kate McCarville (8:45.15), Ava Topolewski (8:45.72) and Brooke Travis (8:45.80), dueled for 2nd place.

Men’s 800 Freestyle — Fastest Heat

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 7:51.65
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 8:09.69

Overall top 10:

  1. Alfonso Mestre (GSC) – 7:52.15
  2. Aryan Nehra (FLOR) – 8:05.74
  3. Andrew Taylor (FLOR) – 8:08.13
  4. Giovanni Linscheer (FLOR) – 8:13.35
  5. Josh Parent (FLOR) – 8:14.11
  6. Bobby Dinunzio (FLOR) – 8:17.24
  7. Mason Mathias (UNATT) – 8:19.30
  8. Kyler Heffner (SA) – 8:19.45
  9. Eduardo Cisternas (UPSU) – 8:20.90
  10. Christian Bayo (MVN) – 8:25.30

The Gators dominated this event, as the top six men are all Florida-affiliated swimmers. Alfonso Mestre led the way with a 7:52.15 in an earlier heat, less than a second off of the Olympic A Standard of 8:09.69. Aryan Nehra had the top seed, and he won the fastest heat with a 8:05.74 to take 2nd overall, followed by Andrew Taylor at 8:08.13.

WOMEN’S 100 BACKSTROKE — Finals

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 59.99
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 1:01.89

Top 10:

  1. Phoebe Bacon (WISC) – 59.76
  2. Josephine Fuller (UN) – 1:00.33
  3. Carmen Weiler Sastre (VT) – 1:01.31
  4. Caroline Bentz (NCAP) – 1:01.56
  5. Catherine Choate (FLOR) – 1:01.84
  6. Emma Harvey (UPSU) – 1:02.02
  7. Lilla Bognar (TG) – 1:02.11
  8. Ella Menear (BAMA) – 1:02.32
  9. Eboni McCarty (ABSC) – 1:02.64
  10. Jillian Crooks (TAC) – 1:03.20

Backstroke ace Phoebe Bacon complete the stroke sweep with a 59.76 win here tonight. That’s about a second shy of her lifetime best of 58.63, which she set back in 2019. That’s Bacon’s first time under a minute this season, with her previous season best of 1:00.11 coming at last fall’s US Open.

Josephine Fuller stayed close to Bacon on the front half, and essentially matched Bacon’s second 50 split, to touch 2nd in 1:00.33. The top five women were all under the US Olympic Trials qualifying time of 1:01.89.

MEN’S 100 BACKSTROKE — Finals

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 53.71
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 55.69

Top 10:

  1. Jack Aikins (UN) – 54.40
  2. Kacper Stokowski (NCS) – 54.48
  3. Marcus Gentry (IA) – 54.66
  4. Grant Bochenski (UMIZ) – 54.91
  5. Anthon Ricon (VS) – 55.19
  6. Nathaniel Stoffle (UNATT) – 55.20
  7. Owen McDonald (UNDYN) – 55.25
  8. Ruard Van Renen (ABSC) – 55.32
  9. Landon Kyser (BSS) – 55.80
  10. Aidan Stoffle (UNATT) – 55.83

Jack Aikins earned the backstroke sweep on the men’s side, as he touched out ACC rivals Kacper Stokowski (NC State/Poland) and Marcus Gentry (Notre Dame) to win in 54.40. Aikins, who took an Olympic redshirt year and didn’t compete for UVA this season, was about a second shy of his lifetime best of 53.45, which he set last year.

Stokowski’s touched 2nd at 54.48. He’s been under 54 before, but Gentry hit a new lifetime best with his time of 54.66. The top eight men, including a number of college standouts like Owen McDonald, were all under the US Trials standard of 55.69.

WOMEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE — Finals

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 2:23.91
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 2:31.69

Top 10:

  1. Mona McSharry (UN) – 2:27.70
  2. Alexis Yager (TNAQ) – 2:29.39
  3. Emelie Fast (UN) – 2:29.91
  4. Katie Christopherson (SA) – 2:30.85
  5. Grace Rainey (FLOR) – 2:33.09
  6. Sabyne Brisson (GTCH) – 2:33.85
  7. Jessica Maeda (UN) – 2:34.46
  8. Brynn Curtis (UNATT) – 2:34.64
  9. Kailee Morgan (UN) – 2:36.84
  10. Aislyn Barnett (UNATT) – 2:36.97

Another event, another stroke sweep. Mona McSharry led from beginning to end and won by well over a second with a 2:27.70. The former Tennessee swimmer and Irish national owns a lifetime best of 2:24.50 from 2023 and went 2:24.82 at World Champs in February.

Tennessee Aquatics’ Alexis Yager touched 2nd in 2:29.39, not far off of her lifetime best of 2:29.13 from the Westmont PSS stop in March. Sweden’s Emelie Fast was the only other woman under 2:30, touching 3rd in 2:29.91.

MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE — Finals

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 2:09.68
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 2:15.99

Top 10:

  1. Lyubomir Epitropov (TNAQ) – 2:10.23
  2. Miguel de Lara (PRVT) – 2:12.09
  3. Carles Coll Marti (VT) – 2:12.43
  4. Xavier Ruiz (SJC) – 2:13.71
  5. Jed Garner (UN) – 2:15.39
  6. Grayson Nye (TAC) – 2:15.48
  7. Dylan Rhee (UN) – 2:16.03
  8. Joseph Hong (VT) – 2:16.20
  9. Mariano Lazzerini (UPSU) – 2:16.21
  10. Aleksas Savickas (FLOR) – 2:17.10

Lyubomir Epitropov of Bulgaria posted what appears to be the second-fastest time of his career with a strong 2:10.23 tonight. That’s faster than he went at World Champs in February, and isn’t far off of his best of 2:09.68 from the 2021 Tokyo Games.

A pair of Sergio Lopez-coached swimmers battled for 2nd, with Mexico’s Miguel de Lara taking 2nd at 2:12.09 and Spain’s Carles Coll Marti taking 3rd at 2:12.43. De Lara represents Lopez’s Pinnacle Racing team, while Coll Marti swims for Virginia Tech.

17 year-old Xavier Ruiz, who had the top time this morning, was about a half a second off of his prelims time, but still had a strong swim to finish 4th in 2:13.71.

WOMEN’S 200 IM — Finals

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 2:11.47
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 2:16.09

Top 10:

  1. Kristen Romano (TNAQ) – 2:13.09
  2. McKenna DeBever (TNAQ) – 2:14.70
  3. Josephine Fuller (UN) – 2:15.02
  4. Lila Bognar (TG) – 2:15.66
  5. Zoe Dixon (FLOR) – 2:15.70
  6. Callie Dickinson (ABSC) – 2:17.37
  7. Madi Minteko (PPA) – 2:18.25
  8. Lainy Kruger (FLOR) – 2:19.11
  9. Stephanie Iannaccone (WCAB) – 2:20.60
  10. Portia Brown (MVN) – 2:25.28

While they weren’t quite as dominant as the Florida men in the 800 free, the Tennessee group showed up in this event, sweeping the top three spots. Kristen Romano led the way with a 2:13.09, not far from her personal best of 2:12.86. McKenna DeBever hit a new personal best with a 2:14.70, her first time under 2:15, and current Tennessee swimmer Josephine Fuller rounded out the top three with a 2:15.02.

MEN’S 200 IM — Finals

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 1:57.94
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 2:03.49

Top 10:

  1. Patrick Groters (MVN) – 2:02.07
  2. Munzer Kabbara (LBN) – 2:02.10
  3. Danlil Pancerevas (VT) – 2:02.55
  4. John Watson (UMIZ) – 2:04.18
  5. Baylor Stanton (GA) – 2:04.74
  6. Jarrod Arroyo (PR) – 2:05.43
  7. Crow Thorsen (UNEM) – 2:05.64
  8. Peter Meng (DYNA) – 2:05.82
  9. Marco Nosack (UN) – 2:06.21
  10. Gus Rothrock (UN) – 2:06.97

In one of the closest races of the night, Aruba national teamer Patrick Groters got his hand on the wall just ahead of Munzer Kabbar of Lebanon, 2:02.07 to 2:02.10. Kabbara was just ahead at the 150 mark, but Groters outsplit him 29.03 to 29.23 over the final 50m to get the win. Danlil Pancerevas kept the pair within striking distance for most of the race, and ended up 3rd at 2:02.55, the only other man in the field under 2:04.

WOMEN’S 50 FREESTYLE — Finals

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 24.70
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 25.69

Top 10:

  1. Catie DeLoof (NYAC) – 24.74
  2. Farida Osman (CAL) – 25.10
  3. Erika Connolly (TNAQ) – 25.14
  4. Caroline Larsen (FOXJ) – 25.31
  5. Camille Spink (UN) – 25.37
  6. Cadence Vincent (BAMA) – 25.41
  7. Micayla Cronk (FLOR) – 25.48
  8. Sarah Paisley Owen (MAAC) – 25.66
  9. Madelyn Moore (PRVT) – 25.73
  10. Julia Burroughs (UN) – 25.90

Catie DeLoof defended her top time from this morning with a 24.74 win this evening. That’s close to the Olympic A cut, and it’s two-tenths off of her season-best time of 24.54, which currently ranks her #6 among US women this season.

Egypt’s Farida Osman won a close battle for 2nd, touching out Tennessee’s Erika Connolly 25.10 to 25.14.

MEN’S 50 FREESTYLE — Finals

  • FINA Olympic A Standard: 21.96
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Time: 22.79

Top 10:

  1. Santiago Grassi (BSC) – 22.33
  2. Lamar Taylor (BAH) – 22.45
  3. David Curtiss (TAC) – 22.55
  4. Youssef Ramadan (VT) – 22.56
  5. Nikoli Blackman (UN) / Julian Smith (FLOR) – 22.61
  6. (tie)
  7. Evgenii Somov (AAA) – 22.62
  8. Dillon Downing (SA) – 22.82
  9. Drayden Bell (BAMA) – 22.85
  10. Albert Smelzer (SGSA) – 22.97

Argentina’s Santiago Grassi got his hand on the wall first with a 22.33, just off of his prelims times of 22.29 and his lifetime best of 22.28 from the 2019 Pan American Games. Lamar Taylor of the Bahamas took 2nd in 22.45, followed closely by David Curtiss (22.55) and Youssef Ramadan (22.56).

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Swimmer.
27 days ago

If swimmers are going to bail maybe start finals an hour after the prelim session ends.

Oleg
28 days ago

Ugly. Don’t worry about coming back

Greg P
28 days ago

After the Florida team left, this meet is meh.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Greg P
28 days ago

From an Olympic Team Trials perspective, the finals on Day 4 were underwhelming.

Derp
28 days ago

Ridiculous that Dressel and Ledecky bailed , no wonder this sport is non watchable oustide the community and Olympics , the superstars always take off

CanadaSwimmerFan
Reply to  Derp
28 days ago

They have swum at a ton of the pro series meets all year and this meet wasn’t even selling tickets. Dressel swam 2×100 frees, 2×100 flys, 2×200 frees, and a 50 free. Ledecky swam a 1500, 2x400s, 2x200s, and a 200 IM. Finke swam 1500, 2×400, 2×400 IM, and today swam 3 tough events in the morning! What more do you want from them? They are preparing for their big meet in 4 weeks, they don’t need to race every event. Their event loads for this meet seem more than adequate. Most of their college teammates have not had any long course meets this spring besides this meet.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  CanadaSwimmerFan
28 days ago

Katie Ledecky is not even slated to compete in the W 200 IM at the 2024 USA Swimming Olympic Team Trials. There was nothing to be gained whatsoever by swimming the final of the W 200 IM.

Willswim
Reply to  CanadaSwimmerFan
28 days ago

Then let it be know before hand. The “surprise, I’m done!” stuff is infuriating.

Z Tech
Reply to  Willswim
28 days ago

Sir this is the Speedo Atlanta Classic

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Z Tech
28 days ago

It’s more infuriating to bail on the last evening of the TYR Pro Swim Series circuit.

Swimmer.
Reply to  CanadaSwimmerFan
27 days ago

I would not call three meets a “ton of pro series meets’

Jeah
Reply to  Derp
28 days ago

Or don’t make an in season meet 3-4 days?

Swimgrl
Reply to  Derp
28 days ago

These meets are part of their training program and warm up for the Trials and hopefully París. No doubt they found out what they wanted, were tired and went home. They don’t owe anyone anything, at this point.

Derp
Reply to  Swimgrl
28 days ago

I’m not saying they owe anyone anything . But it is a constant that superstars pull out of meets frequently. Just saying when people want swimming to get a larger fan base and casually watch on tv like I do basketball this is not the way to do it that’s all

Swimgrl
Reply to  Derp
28 days ago

That would be between the swimmer, coach and sponsor, if involved. If you are casually watching basketball are you casually watching swimming?

Towelie
Reply to  Derp
28 days ago

Honestly the goal for USA swimming at the moment should be to maximize viewership for the Olympics/world championships and trials. There are no stakes to meets like this or the pro series, and it’s very hard to draw in any casual fans if there isn’t anything on the line. A pro league like ISL could possibly bring in some casual fans, but I don’t see how a league like that grows fast enough to become financially viable before getting shut down. Swimming also just isn’t a natural fit for TV which limits the casual audience. There’s not a whole lot that could be done to create a large fan base for swimming in the US, and forcing people to swim… Read more »

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Towelie
28 days ago

Swimming doesn’t even draw the attention of NCAA Division I College Basketball from the fans in the stands to the television ratings.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
28 days ago

2024 Southern California Invitational
Men’s 50 meter freestyle
Michael Andrew – 22.09

M 100 BR or bust.

Aragon Son of Arathorne
28 days ago

the heck happened to dressel? why scratch a 50’free?

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Aragon Son of Arathorne
27 days ago

As a new father, diaper duty beckons.

Swimmer.
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
27 days ago

He’s old and needs his rest.

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