Justina Kozan on the 400 IM: “It hurts less when you’re excited”


Reported by James Sutherland.


  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 4:26.36 (2016)
  • American Record: Katie Hoff – 4:31.12 (2008)
  • US Open Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 4:31.07 (2015)
  • World Junior Record: Yu Yiting (CHN) – 4:35.94 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 4:26.36
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Maya DiRado – 4:33.73
  • Wave I Cut: 4:51.79
  • Wave II Cut: 4:47.72
  1. Emma Weyant (SYS), 4:33.81
  2. Hali Flickinger (SUN), 4:33.96
  3. Melanie Margalis (SPA), 4:34.08

Not to be outdone by the wild ride that was the men’s 400 IM, the women’s event will come out of Day 1 as an early contender for race of the meet.

Just like she did in the prelims, butterfly specialist Hali Flickinger jumped out to the early lead, turning in 1:01.42 at the 100. The Sun Devil Swimming representant sat a full two seconds clear of the field after the backstroke leg, and then things got a little crazy.

Melanie Margalis, known for her massive back-half splits in this race, had a Chase Kalisz-esque breast leg, splitting 1:15.42 to go five seconds faster than Flickinger and pull almost even with her going onto the freestyle.

Then, coming down the last 50, it briefly looked like it was Margalis’ race, with Flickinger, Emma Weyant and Leah Smith battling for second. Then another twist.

Weyant turned on the jets, and Margalis tightened up, earning Weyant, the 19-year-old Sarasota Shark, the victory and her first Olympic berth in a time of 4:33.81.

Weyant, who deferred going to school at Virginia for a year, improves on her previous best of 4:35.47, set at the 2019 Summer Nationals.

Flickinger smashed her personal best time of 4:37.55, set in April, to snag second from Margalis in 4:33.96, leaving the 29-year-old Margalis locked out of an Olympic spot in 4:34.08. Margalis’ best stands at 4:32.53.

Smith had her best swim since 2017 in the event, finishing a close fourth in 4:34.55.

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7 months ago

Imagine being genuinely excited about swimming a 400 IM. Something must have gone wrong along the way in your childhood.

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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