Atlanta Classic Day Two: Prelims Live Recap



  1. Hali Flickinger, Athens Bulldogs, 2:10.82
  2. Andreina Pinto, Gator Swim Club, 2:12.04
  3. Megan Kingsley, Athens Bulldogs, 2:12.53
  4. Lauren Case, Chattahoochee Gold, 2:13.88
  5. Ella Eastin, Stanford, 2:13.97
  6. Christina Bechtel, Kentucky Aquatics, 2:14.85
  7. Kaitlin Pawlowicz, Nation’s Capital, 2:15.46
  8. Taylor Katz, Sarasota YMCA, 2:15.96
  9. Mia Nonnenberg, Alabama, 2:16.08
  10. Abby Myers, Kentucky Aquatics, 2:16.20

SEC and SEC-affiliated swimmers ruled the women’s 200 fly this morning, with Athens Bulldog Swim Club’s Hali Flickinger at the top. A serious contender for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team in this event, Flickinger swam a 2:10.82 to take the top seed into tonight. Venezuelan national record holder Andreina Pinto, who swam at the University of Florida, swam a 2:12.04 to grab 2nd. Flickinger’s teammate Megan Kingsley notched a 2:12.53 to take 3rd.

Texas commit Lauren Case was fourth in 2:13.88, followed closely by 2016 NCAA runner-up in the 200y fly, Ella Eastin of Stanford (2:13.97).


  1. Joe Schooling, Unattached, 1:59.50
  2. Pace Clark, Athens Bulldogs, 2:00.45
  3. Kyle Higgins, Kentucky Aquatics, 2:00.72
  4. Mick Litherland, Dynamo, 2:00.92
  5. Tom Shields, Cal Aquatics, 2:01.20
  6. Dakota Hodgson, Nashville Aquatic Club, 2:01.30
  7. Jack Conger, Unattached, 2:01.33
  8. Sebastien Rousseau, Gator Swim Club, 2:01.43
  9. Gunnar Bentz, Athens Bulldogs, 2:02.13
  10. Austin Snyder, NC State, 2:02.75

Joe Schooling and Jack Conger, friendly rivals during the NCAA season at Texas, dueled in the 200y fly at NCAAs this spring with Schooling coming out on top. This morning it was Schooling again in 1:59.50, the only man under 2 minutes. Conger swam a 2:01.33 which puts him 7th overall.

Last night, Schooling ripped a 51.86, dropping over a full second from prelims and touching out American Olympic hopeful Tom Shields (52.02) in the final. Schooling looks strong to pick up another win here tonight.

Athens Bulldogs’ Pace Clark was second this morning with a 2:00.45, followed by Kyle Higgins of Kentucky Aquatics (2:00.72) and Mick Litherland of Dynamo (2:00.92). Shields was fifth to the wall with a 2:01.20, just ahead of Dakota Hodgson (2:01.30) and Conger.


  1. Olivia Smoliga, Athens Bulldogs, 25.38
  2. Simone Manuel, Stanford, 25.46
  3. Amanda Weir, SwimAtlanta, 25.59
  4. Lia Neal, Stanford, 25.67
  5. Madeline Locus, SwimAtlanta, 25.84
  6. Natalie Labonge, NC State, 25.97
  7. Bailey Scott, Alabama, 26.04
  8. Isabel Ivey, Gator Swim Club, 26.08
  9. Felicia Lee, Stanford, 26.13
  10. Courtney Caldwell, NC State, 26.14

Defending NCAA champion in this event, Olivia Smoliga, turned in a time of 25.38 for the top seed of the morning. That’s just nine hundredths off of her personal best, which bodes well for her chances to make the 50 free final at the Olympic Trials in June.

Stanford was well-represented this morning, led by Simone Manuel and Lia Neal. Manuel was 25.46 for 2nd behind Smoliga, while Nial was 25.67 for 4th behind SwimAtlanta’s Amanda Weir (25.59). Weir’s teammate Madeline Locus was 5th at 25.84. Manuel will look to improve tonight, as she was well off her season best of 24.78 but swam a stellar 1:57.90 in the 200 free last night which was a new personal record. Felicia Lee, also of Stanford, touched 9th at 26.13.


  1. Nathan Adrian, Cal Aquatics, 22.10
  2. Bruno Fratus, Unattached, 22.40
  3. Marcelo Chierighini, Unattached, 22.60
  4. Caeleb Dressel, Bolles School Sharks, 22.92
  5. Robert Howard, Alabama, 22.99
  6. John Murray, Unattached, 23.06
  7. John Wagner, RICE, 23.09
  8. Caleb Weir, Wolfpack Elite, 23.13
  9. Michael Arnold, Chattahoochee Gold/Bradley DeBorde, Gator Swim Club, 23.15 (TIE)

In a matchup of the USA vs. Brazil, Nathan Adrian and Caeleb Dressel sandwiched Bruno Fratus and Marcelo Chierighini. Adrian swam a 22.10 to win that battle, though he’ll have some significant time to drop if he wants to match his 4th ranked time in the world this year of 21.56. World leader Fratus swam a 22.40, over a second off of his season best from December, while Chierighini touched third in 22.60.

Dressel, meanwhile, just snuck under 23 seconds with a 22.92, well off of his 22.06 from the Orlando Pro Swim Series in early March that ties him for the 16th ranking in the world this year. Dressel swam that season best in between the SEC and NCAA Championships. Robert Howard of Alabama was the last guy under 23 seconds, doing so by a hair (22.99).


  1. Olivia Smoliga, Athens Bulldogs, 1:00.88
  2. Natalie Coughlin, Cal Aquatics, 1:01.07
  3. Bridgette Alexander, Kentucky Aquatics, 1:01.36
  4. Tasija Karosas, Unattached, 1:01.83
  5. Alex Walsh, Nashville Aquatic Club, 1:01.88
  6. Lisa Bratton, Aggie Swim Club, 1:02.25
  7. Courtney Caldwell, NC State, 1:02.30
  8. Hali Flickinger, Athens Bulldogs, 1:02.40
  9. Candace Cooper, Wolfpack ELITE, 1:02.47
  10. Felicia Lee, Stanford, 1:02.49

Olivia Smoliga got right back up after a strong 50 free showing to take the top seed in the 100 back. Her 1:00.88 is a very quick time in-season, as she was just 1:00-low last summer, less than a second away from her time this morning. Smoliga touched just ahead of Natalie Coughlin‘s 1:01.07– this is a matchup that we will probably see again at Trials this summer.

Kentucky Aquatics’ Bridgette Alexander touched third in 1:01.36, which is a new best time for her by almost two tenths. Tasija Karosas finished in fourth (1:01.83).

Right behind Karosas was 14-year-old sensation Alex Walsh of Nashville Aquatic Club at 1:01.88. Despite her youth, Walsh is a likely contender to at least make finals at the Olympic Trials, with this event being her best shot. Her 1:01.36 from the Austin Pro Swim Series is her season best, and a 1:00.84 would be her lifetime best.


  1. Ryan Murphy, Cal Aquatics, 55.50
  2. Jacob Pebley, Cal Aquatics, 55.70
  3. Michael Taylor, Dynamo, 55.89
  4. Taylor Dale, Athens Bulldogs, 56.27
  5. Eugene Godsoe, Wolfpack ELITE, 56.39
  6. Jay Litherland, Dynamo, 56.63
  7. Kyle Darmody, Auburn, 56.71
  8. Justin Ress, Marlins of Raleigh, 56.94
  9. Corey Main, Gator Swim Club, 57.00
  10. Tan Dunn III, Southern Crescent, 57.03

Cal studs Ryan Murphy (55.50) and Jacob Pebley (55.70) led the way this morning, two of only three sub-56 swims in prelims. Murphy was almost three seconds slower than his world 4th-ranked time of 52.57 from Canadian Olympic Trials.

17-year-old Michael Taylor touched behind the two Bears at 55.89, just ahead of Athens Bulldogs’ Taylor Dale (56.27). Eugene Godsoe of Wolfpack ELITE was 5th in 56.39, followed by Taylor’s teammate at Dynamo, Jay Litherland (56.63).


  1. Laura Sogar, Bluefish, 2:30.32
  2. Sarah Henry, Aggie Swim Club, 2:30.65
  3. Annie Zhu, Athens Bulldogs, 2:31.30
  4. Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg Aquatics, 2:31.32
  5. Ella Nelson, Nashville Aquatic Club, 2:31.90
  6. Vanessa Pearl, Metroplex Aquatics, 2:33.96
  7. Madisyn Cox, Unattached, 2:34.72
  8. Kayla Brumbaum, NC State, 2:36.12
  9. Meaghan Raab, Nashville Aquatic Club, 2:36.68
  10. Lexi Glunn, Chattahoochee Gold, 2:36.74

Laura Sogar and Sarah Henry each posted 2:30’s this morning to sit atop standings going into tonight’s finals session. Annie Zhu of Athens Bulldogs was 3rd (2:31.30), with St. Petersburg Aquatics’ Melanie Margalis directly behind her at 2:31.32.

Ella Nelson, 14-year-old teammate of Alex Walsh, put up a 2:31.90 for 5th. That time is less than three tenths off of her personal best from last summer. 16-year-old Vanessa Pearl turned in a time of 2:33.96 for 6th.


  1. Josh Prenot, Cal Aquatics, 2:12.47
  2. Reece Whitley, Penn Charter, 2:17.14
  3. Andrew Wilson, Longhorn Aquatics, 2:18.51
  4. Moises Loschi, Yellow Jackets, 2:19.65
  5. Chuck Katis, Cal Aquatics, 2:20.34
  6. Gunnar Bentz, Athens Bulldogs, 2:20.86
  7. Basil Orr, Dynamo, 2:21.25
  8. Brad Craig, Tennessee Aquatics, 2:21.29
  9. Szymmy Day, Alabama, 2:21.86
  10. Michael Duderstadt, Auburn, 2:21.98

Despite a pedestrian showing in this event for the caliber of this meet, Josh Prenot of Cal Aquatics burst through with a 2:12.47 to lead the field by over four full seconds. He’s been sub-2:10 so far in the year, but won’t have much competition to push him.

16-year-old Reece Whitley, another youngster with the potential to reach an Olympic Trials final (or two), put up a 2:17.14 for the 2nd fastest time this season. Andrew Wilson, who last night won a very tight 100 breast over Whitley, touched at 2:18.51 for third.


  1. Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital, 4:04.70
  2. Hali Flickinger, Athens Bulldogs, 4:10.95
  3. Stephanie Peters, Marietta Marlins, 4:13.30
  4. Andreina Pinto, Gators Swim Club, 4:14.09
  5. Sarah Henry, Aggie Swim Club, 4:14.36
  6. Brittany MacLean, Etobicoke Swimming, 4:14.85
  7. Hannah Moore, NC State, 4:16.38
  8. Madelyn Donohoe, The Fish, 4:16.94
  9. Shauna Lee, Athens Bulldogs, 4:17.97
  10. Shannon Vreeland, Athens Bulldogs, 4:18.14

This is always weird, but Katie Ledecky was only able to put up a 4:04.70 this morning. Of course, she’s the top seed by over six full seconds, and that time would still rank her as the 8th fastest in the world this year. Yesterday, the world record holder blasted a 1:54.85 in prelims but only dropped a few hundredths down to finals. She’s been 3:59.54 this year, done in January at the Austin Pro Swim Series. She hasn’t been slower than 4:03.54 this year until today, and her most recent swim was a 4:02.15 from the Mesa Pro Swim Series a month ago.

Hali Flickinger pulled off a tough double after her 200 fly for a 4:10.95, good for 2nd this morning. Andreina Pinto and Sarah Henry were two others who pulled off tough doubles and still ended up in the top five of this event– Pinto also swam the 200 fly, and Henry contested the 200 breast earlier in the session. Both are #2 seeds in those respective 200 races for tonight.

Coming in at sixth this morning was Canadian star Brittany MacLean, who broke the Canadian national record in this event at their Trials earlier this spring. She’s been under 4:04 before, so expect her to come down tonight and at least challenge for 2nd with the likes of Flickinger and 3rd seeded Stephanie Peters.

Notably, Kate Ziegler finished in 17th with a 4:21.29. The former 1500 free world record holder is now training with Tennessee Aquatics, and made a comeback after 2-plus years away from the sport at the Charlotte Pro Swim Series meet last year. Her best time this year is a 4:13.81 from the Southern Premier meet in March, and most recently swam a 4:15.83 at the Mesa Pro Swim Series. Ziegler hasn’t broken 4:10 since 2012 when she made the final at Olympic Trials, though she’ll have to be well under 4:10 to make the Olympic Trials final this year with the kind of talent that’s shaping up this summer behind the likes of Ledecky and Leah Smith.


  1. Bryan Lee, Auburn, 3:57.03
  2. Chris Yeager, Nitro, 3:58.91
  3. Walker Higgins, Tennessee Aquatics, 3:59.24
  4. Adam Linker, NC State, 3:59.84
  5. Kevin Litherland, Dynamo, 3:59.97
  6. Jay Litherland, Dynamo, 4:00.23
  7. Carl Madden, Alabama, 4:00.62
  8. Andrew Gemmell, Nation’s Capital, 4:01.53 (TIE)
  9. Robert Finke, St. Petersburg Aquatics, 4:01.53 (TIE)
  10. Taylor Abbott, Nitro, 4:01.59

Nitro got two of its 17-year-old distance aces into the final here, with Chris Yeager up top at 2nd (3:58.91) and Taylor Abbott down in 10th at 4:01.59. Auburn’s Bryan Lee took top honors with a 3:57.03, though.

Tennessee Aquatics’ Walker Higgins touched at 3:59.24 for third, followed by NC State’s Adam Linker (3:59.84). Kevin and Jay Litherland grabbed 5th and 6th, respectively. Ledecky’s training partner Andrew Gemmell touched in a tie for 8th with Robert Finke, only about three seconds ahead of Ledecky’s prelims time today.

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bobo gigi

Smoliga vs Coughlin in the 100 back 😎
With youngster Walsh also in the race. Karl, I wonder if that event is really her best chance of final at trials. In my opinion it’s more the 200. Weirdly. Because her best event is the 100. 🙂
The US 100 back is so open right now on the women’s side. It’s a nightmare to make predictions.


times seem very slow compared to charlotte


Can Ledecky beat the men tonight:)?




It’s a joke. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if her time gets top 5 in the Men’s.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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