2024 Speedo Grand Challenge: Day 3 Finals Live Recap

2024 NOVA SPEEDO GRAND CHALLENGE

The 2024 Speedo Grand Challenge comes to a close on Sunday in Irvine, highlighted by Regan Smith‘s appearance in the 100-meter backstroke.

In prelims this morning, the 22-year-old Smith clocked the top qualifying time of 59.23, breaking Kathleen Baker‘s meet record (1:00.20) from 2018. She’s the second fastest 100 backstroker this season at 57.64 from March, behind only world record holder Kaylee McKeown (57.33). Smith has been as fast as 57.57 back in 2019.

Simone Manuel also takes the pool as the top seed in the 100 free, looking to lower her meet record of 54.08 from prelims. The 2016 Rio Olympic champion has been as fast as 53.25 this season.

The men’s 100 back should feature a fun battle between Longhorn Aquatics teammates Hubert Kos (54.10 in prelims) and Leon Marchand (55.44). Tonight they’ll be chasing Ryan Murphy‘s meet record of 53.29 from 2018.

Stay tuned for live updates below:

Day 2 Schedule

  • Women’s 800 free
  • Women’s 200 breast
  • Men’s 200 breast
  • Girls’ 7-12 50 free
  • Boys’ 7-12 50 free
  • Women’s 100 back
  • Men’s 100 back
  • Men’s 1500 free
  • Girls’ 7-12 200 IM
  • Boys’ 7-12 200 IM
  • Women’s 200 fly
  • Men’s 200 fly
  • Girls’ 7-12 50 fly
  • Boys’ 7-12 50 fly
  • Women’s 100 free
  • Men’s 100 free

Women’s 800 Free – Final

  • Meet record: 8:21.87 – Katie Grimes, 2023
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 8:45.79

Top 4:

  1. Rebecca Diaconescu (SAND) – 8:45.39
  2. Sammie Hamilton (NOVA) – 8:52.23
  3. Ava Olson (TRA) – 9:03.30
  4. Hayley Smith (RAA) – 9:05.37

Sandpipers of Nevada 18-year-old Rebecca Diaconescu triumphed in the women’s 800 free to kick off the session, dropping more than nine seconds off her best time from just a couple months ago with a winning mark of 8:45.39. The Michigan commit (’24) from Romania entered the day with a lifetime best of 8:54.45 from March.

Irvine Novaquatics 17-year-old Sammie Hamilton earned the runner-up finish in 8:52.23. The Kentucky commit (’24) narrowly missed her personal-best 8:51.33 from last week.

Women’s 200 Breast – Final

  • Meet record: 2:23.99 – Rebecca Soni, 2010
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 2:31.69

Top 4:

  1. Isabelle Odgers (TROJ) – 2:26.59
  2. Aliz Kalmar (FRES) – 2:28.44
  3. Ella Flowers (TROJ) – 2:32.24
  4. Kaitlyn Nguyen (NOVA) – 2:32.52

USC graduate Isabelle Odgers blasted a personal-best 2:26.59 to claim the women’s 100 breast crown ahead of rising Fresno State junior Aliz Kalmar (personal-best 2:28.44).

Odgers dropped almost a second off her previous-best 2:27.31 from last July. Kalmar, a 21-year-old Hungarian, lowered her best time of 2:29.23 from 2021.

Three Americans have been faster than Odgers so far this calendar year: Ella Nelson (2:25.39), Lilly King (2:24.34), and Kate Douglass (2:19.30).

Men’s 200 Breast – Final

  • Meet record: 2:10.97 – Kosuke Kitajima, 2010
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 2:15.99

Top 4:

  1. Chase Kalisz (TXLA) – 2:12.60
  2. Daniel Li (ROSE) – 2:15.85
  3. Pavel Romanov (ALPH) – 2:16.26
  4. Kyle Brill (UCSB) – 2:16.59

Two-time Olympian Chase Kalisz cruised to victory in the men’s 200 breast with a time of 2:12.60, within a few seconds of his personal-best 2:09.90 from 2018. The 30-year-old Longhorn Aquatics veteran owns a season-best mark of 2:12.39 from the U.S. Open in December.

Kalisz touched more than three seconds ahead of Rose Bowl Aquatics 18-year-old Daniel Li (2:15.85). Li, a Stanford commit (’24), owns a lifetime best of 2:14.15 from last June.

Girls’ 7-12 50 Free – Final

  • Meet record: 27.53, Lily Neumann

Top 4:

  1. Ella Guzman (NCA) – 28.47
  2. Anna Heumann (NOVA) – 28.58
  3. Sammy Walseth (RSD) – 28.69
  4. Taylor Jones (AZOT) – 28.96

North Coast Aquatics 12-year-old Ella Guzman led a quartet of girls who posted sub-29 second finishes in the girls’ 7-12 50 free final.

Guzman touched 1st in 28.47, just a tenth ahead of Irvine Novaquatics 12-year-old Anna Heumann (28.58). Guzman had never been under 30.51 before today, when she posted a 29.29 in prelims.

Rancho San Dieguito 12-year-old Sammy Walseth (28.69) and Aquazot Swim Club 12-year-old Taylor Jones (28.96) were also in close pursuit.

Boys’ 7-12 50 Free – Final

Top 4:

  1. Ben Yang (MVN) – 26.52
  2. William Tolstukhin (AZOT) – 28.13
  3. Vincent Casciaro (NOVA) – 28.23
  4. Tyler Douglas (RSD) – 28.25

Mission Viejo Nadadores 12-year-old Ben Yang took the boys’ 7-12 50 free title in 26.52, lowering his previous-best 26.90 in prelims. His best time before today stood at 27.05 from last August. Yang reached the wall within a second of Hank Rivers‘ meet record from 2016 (25.69).

Women’s 100 Back – Final

  • Meet record: 59.23 – Regan Smith, 2024
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 1:01.89

Top 4:

  1. Regan Smith (TXLA) – 57.51 *American record, meet record
  2. Justina Kozan (TROJ) – 1:02.08
  3. Delaney Herr (CITI) – 1:03.20
  4. Caroline Famous (TROJ) – 1:03.60

Regan Smith is on fire right now.

The 22-year-old Longhorn Aquatics threw down a winning time of 57.51 in the 100 back final, lowering her own American record of 57.57 from 2019. Smith remains the second-fastest 100 backstroker in the world this season behind world record holder Kaylee McKeown (57.33).

Read more about Smith’s record-breaking swim here.

Smith reached the wall more than four seconds ahead of rising USC junior Justina Kozan (1:02.08), who snuck under her previous-best 1:02.16 from last July. Kozan is now within a couple tenths of the U.S. Olympic Trials cut (1:01.89).

Men’s 100 Back – Final

  • Meet record: 53.29 – Ryan Murphy, 2018
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 55.69

Top 4:

  1. Hubert Kos (TXLA) – 53.81
  2. Leon Marchand (TXLA) – 54.55
  3. Drew Huston (KING) – 55.35
  4. Jacque Wenger (SDSA) – 55.79

Leon Marchand posted a personal-best 54.55, dropping almost a second off his previous-best 55.32 from last October, but it wasn’t enough to beat his Longhorn Aquatics teammate, Hubert Kos (53.81).

Kos touched within a second of his personal-best 53.08 from last month, which ranks 12th in the world this season. He split 26.07 at the midway point of the race, with Marchand close behind at 26.61.

Men’s 1500 Free – Final

  • Meet record: 14:59.97 – Ous Mellouli, 2009
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 15:39.89

Top 4:

  1. David Johnston (TST) – 15:02.68
  2. Marwan Elkamash (TST) – 15:07.04
  3. Michael Brinegar (TST) – 15:24.04
  4. Luke Ellis (SAND) – 15:42.55

David Johnston pulled away for the 1500 free victory in 15:02.68, missing his best time from 2022 (15:02.37) by just a few tenths of a second. The 22-year-old ranks as the third-fastest American this season behind Bobby Finke (14:58.08) and Charlie Clark (14:57.44).

His training partners, The Swim Team 30-year-old Marwan Elkamash (15:07.04) and 24-year-old Michael Brinegar (15:24.04), rounded out the top 3 finishers ahead of Sandpipers 17-year-old Luke Ellis (15:42.55). Elkamash has been as fast as 14:55.19 last July, Brinegar broke 15 minutes for the first time last July (14:59.54), and Ellis owns a lifetime best of 15:17.92 from last June.

Girls’ 7-12 200 IM – Final

Top 4:

  1. Anna Heumann (NOVA) – 2:30.31
  2. Chloe Yoon (RSD) – 2:32.60
  3. Sammy Walseth (RSD) – 2:33.23
  4. Olivia Pollack (NCA) – 2:34.87

Irvine Novaquatics 12-year-old Anna Heumann orchestrated a huge seven-second time drop to capture the girls’ 7-12 200 IM crown in 2:30.31. Her best time heading into the day stood at 2:38.00 from last August before she blasted a 2:36.85 in prelims.

Boys’ 7-12 200 IM – Final

  • Meet record: 2:19.44 – Joel Hernandez, 2017

Top 4:

  1. Noah Im (NOVA) – 2:24.42
  2. Vincent Casciaro (NOVA) – 2:24.75
  3. Raymond Jew (AZOT) – 2:27.44
  4. Jonathan Li (NOVA) – 2:27.72

Irvine Novaquatics 12-year-old Noah Im eked out a hard-fought victory against teammate Vincent Casciaro (2:24.75) in the boys’ 7-12 200 IM final with a winning time of 2:24.42.

Im dropped more than a second in prelims (2:25.56) before taking another second off his lifetime best tonight. Casciaro had never been under 2:31 before today, when he went 2:27.99 in prelims.

Women’s 200 Fly – Final

  • Meet record: 2:08.73 – Elaine Breeden, 2010
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 2:13.69

Top 4:

  1. Lindsay Looney (TXLA) – 2:09.60
  2. Samantha Banos (UCSB) – 2:14.39
  3. Eryn Arnold (CITI) – 2:16.21
  4. Alexa Wong (TNT) – 2:19.38

Lindsay Looney didn’t have quite enough in the tank to topple Elaine Breeden‘s meet record of 2:08.73 from 2010, but the Arizona State graduate still prevailed in the 200 fly by almost five seconds. Looney, who now trains with Longhorn Aquatics under coach Bob Bowman, has been as fast as 2:07.25 in 2022.

Rising UCSB junior Samantha Banos placed 2nd in 2:14.39, about half a second shy of her personal-best 2:13.88 from last July. The 19-year-old is not far off the U.S. Olympic Trials cut of 2:13.69.

Men’s 200 Fly – Final

  • Meet record: 1:56.49 – Ilya Kharun, 2023
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 2:00.49

Top 4:

  1. Jay Litherland (TXLA) – 1:59.44
  2. Caleb Kattau (SAND) – 2:01.20
  3. Andrew Teh (SCAL) – 2:01.55
  4. Zane Johnson (SBA) – 2:03.48

Olympic silver medalist Jay Litherland emerged victorious in the 200 fly at 1:59.44, not far off his season-best mark of 1:58.78 from the U.S. Open in December. The 28-year-old has been as fast as 1:57.65 back at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Sandpipers 16-year-old Caleb Kattau dropped almost two seconds off his best time to take 2nd place in 2:01.20. He entered the day with a lifetime best of 2:03.32 from last month before posting a personal-best 2:03.13 in prelims.

Girls’ 7-12 50 Fly – Final

  • Meet record: 29.17 – Chloe Stinson, 2019

Top 4:

  1. Chloe Yoon (RSD) – 29.74
  2. Sammy Walseth (RSD) – 30.50
  3. Taylor Jones (AZOT) – 30.59
  4. Lyric Radke (AZOT) – 31.26

Rancho San Dieguito 12-year-old Chloe Yoon placed 1st in the 50 fly (29.74) after collecting a runner-up finish in the 200 IM (2:32.60) earlier in the session. She had never been under 30.91 before today, when she posted a 30.47 in prelims.

Yoon’s teammate, 12-year-old Sammy Walseth, reached the wall less than a second later at 30.50. She shaved almost a second off her previous-best 31.34 from prelims. Before today, Walseth’s best time was 31.91 from last month.

Boys’ 7-12 50 Fly – Final

Top 4:

  1. William Tolstukhin (AZOT) – 29.65
  2. Jonathan Li (NOVA) – 29.81
  3. Michael Peterson (TSM) – 30.08
  4. Tyler Douglas (RSD) – 30.10

Aquazot Swim Club 12-year-old William Tolstukhin claimed the boys’ 7-12 50 fly crown in 29.65, dropping more than half a second off his previous-best 30.30 from prelims. His best time before today was 30.77 from earlier this month.

Irvine Novaquatics 12-year-old Jonathan Li also broke 30 seconds for the first time at 29.81, lowering his previous-best 30.02 from this morning. Before today, his best time was 30.76 from last June.

Women’s 100 Free – Final

  • Meet record: 54.08 – Simone Manuel, 2024
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 55.79

Top 4:

  1. Simone Manuel (TXLA) – 53.10 *Meet record
  2. Anicka Delgado (EVO) – 55.71
  3. Claire Weinstein (SAND) – 55.87
  4. Paige Madden (NYAC) – 56.59

Simone Manuel erased her own meet record from prelims (54.08) with a winning time of 53.10 — her fastest since her lifetime best of 52.04 at the 2019 World Championships.

The 27-year-old Manuel now ranks 11th globally in the 100 free this season and 3rd among American women, just ahead of Gretchen Walsh (53.17) and behind Torri Huske (53.08) and Kate Douglass (52.98). After struggling with overtraining syndrome in the lead-up to Tokyo a few years ago, Manuel is back at the top of her game and in great shape to make her third U.S. Olympic team this summer.

Men’s 100 Free – Final

  • Meet record: 48.64 – Jason Lezak, 2009
  • U.S. Olympic Trials cut: 49.99

Top 4:

  1. Drew Kibler (NYAC) – 49.63
  2. Wen Zhang (AFA) – 49.99
  3. Hunter Ingram (MVN) – 50.36
  4. Austin Sparrow (UCSB) – 50.45

Drew Kibler concluded the meet with a tight victory against Wen Zhang in the men’s 100 free. The 24-year-old Kibler touched in 49.63, just a few tenths ahead of Zhang’s 49.99.

Kibler owns a season-best 48.71 from the U.S. Open in December and a lifetime best of 48.25 from 2022. Zhang, a 2023 Air Force graduate, was only a few tenths shy of his personal-best 49.67 from March.

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Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
24 days ago

Expectations for the 2024 Speedo Grand Challenge
Smith – 100 FL, 100 BK check
Madden – 400 FR check
Manuel – 100 FR check

Paige Madden and Simone Manuel still have alot of work to do to catch up to Mary-Sophie Harvey in the W 200 FR:

1:55.44 vs 1:57.00/1:57.03

Z Tech
24 days ago

Leon Marchand has a weak stroke? The universe has balance after all?

(Not that it isn’t still good enough to make me very jelaous)

‘Murica
24 days ago

Surprised people aren’t talking about Simone more. That’s a VERY promising time…

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
24 days ago

Simone Manuel keeps getting better and better in the W 100 FR:

53.73 dated 01/11/2024
53.35 dated 03/09/2024
53.25 dated 04/11/2024
53.10 dated 05/26/2024

Now that’s progress.

Comet16
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
24 days ago

She will definitely be on relay at minimum
and they definitely need her experience

Yikes
Reply to  Comet16
24 days ago

She’ll have to qualify first…

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Comet16
24 days ago

Simone Manuel will qualify top four in the W 100 FR at the 2024 Olympic Team Trials, if not top two which incidentally is my prediction (Douglass versus Manuel for top honors).

Eddie
24 days ago

Okkkkk Simone! 53.1 is dangerous

ALEXANDER POP-OFF
Reply to  Eddie
24 days ago

Thought she would hit a 52. She looks good! If Bowman gets her usual big taper right, people are going to be in trouble!

Steve Nolan
Reply to  ALEXANDER POP-OFF
24 days ago

Has the livestream running clock been way off? That was the only race I just went back to watch (so far) and it was at least a half second ahead of the 53.1

David
24 days ago

We will see at the olympics let’s see Regan beat Kylie masse first at the olympics who is back in the 57’s and peaking before thinking about the Aussie record holder

What a race it will be!
Reply to  David
24 days ago

Oh you Aussies! Kaylee is obviously the favorite by a bit (SBs/PBs separated by 0.18: :57.33 v :57.51) in non-Championship/Trials meets, whereas Masse was :57.94 in her Olympic Trials meet, a 0.43 margin back from Regan.

While she obviously can’t just look past Masse, it is fair to have Regan concentrating more on Kaylee than on Masse.

Troyy
Reply to  What a race it will be!
24 days ago

Pretty sure David’s Canadian.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
24 days ago

Yikes!

Regan Smith will have to break the American Record once again at 2024 Olympic Team Trials for my prediction to come true.

Just Keep Swimming
24 days ago

We knew Smith was breaking that AR eventually. This was maybe a bit earlier than expected. She definitely has a solid shot at the gold. However, she has come off altitude in the past and swum better times than when she’s actually tapered, so will have to see if she can hold this level for another 2 months.

Helk bengur
Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
24 days ago

not in the 100s, this is more common in the 200s

Former swimmer
Reply to  Helk bengur
24 days ago

That’s interesting and gives me hope that she’s on the verge of having a major a breakthrough from her 100 plateau and will only get better.

Helk bengur
Reply to  Former swimmer
24 days ago

Yeah, she could do about 57,2 in trials, we Will see where Mckeown is.

Last edited 24 days ago by Helk bengur

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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