Ella Eastin Swims Pair Of 200 IM Best Times After Bout With Mono


American Ella Eastin recorded a pair of lifetime bests in both the prelims and the final of the women’s 200 IM at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo just over a month after being diagnosed with Mononucleosis.

It was unclear whether or not Eastin would swim at U.S. Nationals at the end of July after finding out she had mono at the beginning of month, but she ended up competing and qualified for the Pan Pacs by way of placing 3rd in the 200 IM with her 2nd-fastest performance ever (2:10.84). Other than that event, she only swam the prelims of the 200 fly and completely scratched the 400 IM and 200 free.

Here in Tokyo, Eastin was entered in the 400 IM and 200 fly on days 1 and 2 but scratched out of both. Without seeing her in action, what type of form she was in was up in the air, but she impressed in the prelims of the 200 IM on Friday with a new personal best of 2:10.25. That got under her previous best of 2:10.54 from the 2016 Atlanta Classic and put her through to the A-final in 4th (as the top American).

She topped that swim in the final with a swim of 2:09.90, once again being the top American finisher in 4th overall. Additionally, the 21-year-old moved up from 12th to 10th all-time in the event among Americans, overtaking Elizabeth Pelton (2:10.02, 2011) and Whitney Burnett (2:10.11, 2006).

Fastest American Performers
1 Ariana Kukors 2:06.15
2 Kathleen Baker 2:08.32
3 Melanie Margalis 2:08.70
4 Maya DiRado 2:08.79
5 Caitlin Leverenz 2:08.95
6 Julia Smit 2:09.34
7 Madisyn Cox 2:09.69
8 Katie Hoff 2:09.71
9 Natalie Coughlin 2:09.77
10 Ella Eastin 2:09.90

Comparing the splits of Eastin’s three-fastest swims ever, her backstroke splits of 32.6 and 32.7 in Tokyo are a full second better than she was in 2016. The butterfly was the only stroke in her finals swim that was the fastest split out of the three, but she was just off her prelim backstroke split and her breast split from the Atlanta Classic to combine for her fastest swim ever.

Eastin, 2016 Atlanta Classic Eastin, 2018 Pan Pacs (Prelims) Eastin, 2018 Pan Pacs (Final)
28.63 28.67 28.60
1:02.37 (33.74) 1:01.33 (32.66) 1:01.36 (32.76)
1:40.27 (37.90) 1:39.56 (38.23) 1:39.27 (37.91)
2:10.54 (30.27) 2:10.25 (30.69) 2:09.90 (30.63)

Ultimately this swim wasn’t quite enough to get Eastin on the 2019 World Championship team, as both Kathleen Baker (2:08.32) and Melanie Margalis (2:09.43) were faster than her at Nationals despite Eastin being quicker here at Pan Pacs. However, she is slated to qualify for the World University Games team next year with her performances in the 200 IM, which is no small feat considering the news she received less than six weeks ago. She currently ranks 8th in the world for the event in 2018.

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2 years ago

A case study in perseverance. I hope she knows how much everyone was rooting for her, and how proud of her we all are.

2 years ago

I love this story! Reminds me of Tim Shaw being diagnosed with severe anemia just 3 weeks before the 1976 Olympic Trials. He still managed to make the team in the 400 free, and went on to win the silver medal at the Montreal Games with a best time.

Reply to  N P
2 years ago

His coach later admitted he overtrained Shaw for Olympics. Went from Sullivan award winner and world champ in three events the year before to just that silver. Hope we don’t have a repeat with Dressel and his coach.

2 years ago

Heroic effort to make the Worlds team. The good news is, she’ll get a chance to strut her stuff at the WUG next summer when she’s healthy, and hopefully show up a lot — if not all — of the swimmers at Worlds.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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