Ally McHugh Translates WUGs Experience to a National Title (Video)


Reported by Lauren Neidigh.


  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu, 4:26.36, 2016
  • American Record: Katie Hoff, 4:31.12, 2008
  • Championship Record: Katie Hoff, 4:31.12, 2008
  • U.S. Open Record: Katinka Hosszu, 4:31.07, 2015
  1. GOLD: Ally McHugh– 4:34.80
  2. SILVER: Brooke Forde– 4:35.09
  3. BRONZE: Melanie Margalis– 4:35.50
  4. FOURTH: Leah Smith– 4:35.68

Penn State’s Ally McHugh had arguably the swim of her life tonight. McHugh, who represented the U.S. at WUGs last summer, used a monster freestyle leg to run down 2017 champion Leah Smith and Stanford’s Brooke Forde (4:35.09), winning in 4:34.80. That’s a best for McHugh by almost 5 seconds. She’s now the 4th fastest in the world this year and the 6th fastest American in history.

Forde, who led the race until the final stretch, also put up a big best in 4:35.09. That’s a best by 4 seconds and ranks her #5 in the world. She’s now the 8th fastest American ever. Olympic IMerMelanie Margalis dropped a second off her lifetime best from earlier this season for 3rd in 4:35.50, holding off fellow Olympic gold medalist Leah Smith (4:35.68). Margalis is the 10th fastest American 400 IMer ever, while Smith remains at #4 with her 4:33.86 from last summer.

Texas’ Evie Pfeifer followed up a good morning swim with her first ever sub-4:40. She was just out of the top 4 in 4:38.68. She’s now dropped almost 10 seconds throughout the season. Kay Sargent, a transfer to NC State, dropped another second for 6th in 4:40.24.

15-year-old Mariah Denigan dropped nearly 3 more seconds tonight, just running out of room to chase down Emma Barksdale (4:40.20), becoming the 7th fastest American ever in her age group in 4:40.62. Barksdale made almost a 2-second drop.

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About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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