Kate Douglass Eyes American Record In 200 Breaststroke (U.S. Trials Day 6 Finals Preview)


Let’s go everyone, it’s almost Friday and we’ve got another full finals session on the schedule. There are two finals to kick things off — the women’s 200 butterfly and men’s 200 backstroke

Order of Events

  • Women’s 200 butterfly — final
  • Men’s 200 backstroke — final
  • Men’s 50 freestyle — semifinals
  • Women’s 200 breaststroke — final
  • Women’s 200 backstroke — semifinals
  • Men’s 200 IM — semifinals

Women’s 200 Fly

In the first event of the session, Regan Smith looks to add another event to her Paris schedule. This was already Smith’s race and with the way that she’s been swimming, it doesn’t seem like anyone is going to touch her. After breaking her own championship record last night, Smith has been inching closer to the American record she swam last spring at the in-season Sun Devil Open. Is it going down tonight?

The other outstanding question is who is going to clai that second roster spot. Alex Shackell has done her best to answer that question through the first two rounds; she’s swum two best times through two rounds, breaking Smith’s 17-18 NAG with a 2:06.10. That’s put her ahead of a field that once seemed relatively even. But now she’ll have to back it up in the final, while Lindsay LooneyTess HowleyDakota Luther, and Emma Sticklen aim to unseat her.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

In the 200 breaststroke, the American record holder Kate Douglass clashes with the hometown hero Lilly King.

Despite King’s “come and get me” gesture after beating Alex Walsh to win the first semifinal in 2:22.45, it’s Douglass who’s the big favorite here. Douglass set a championship record of 2:19.66 — just .36 seconds off herAmerican record–simply because she could. She’ll bring that energy into the final tonight, which will stand up against the roar of the crowd for the Indiana native King.

Where the 200 butterfly is filled with Texas Longhorns, it’s the Virginia Cavaliers dominating this final. There’s Douglass and Walsh, yes, but Ella Nelson and Anna Keating are also in the mix and are aiming to keep Virginia’s excellent meet running. It’ll be a tall task to knock off Lilly King, who already won the 100 breast, but Walsh in particular may have held something back for the final.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

America’s backstroke king Ryan Murphy is looking to reign once more in the 200 backstroke. Murphy can always be counted on to show up when it counts. He’s already become a three-time Olympian thanks to his win in the 100 backstroke and entered rarified air as he joined an exclusive list of swimmers who have won the same event at Trials three times.

He can do the same in the 200 backstroke tonight. And even though he isn’t the top seed–that belongs to his fellow Cal bear Keaton Jones–he’s still the favorite for the win tonight. He’s got much more experience than the other swimmers in the field as all but Jay Litherland are aiming for their first Olympic berth.

But that means there’s a chance for a younger swimmer to step up. Along with Jones, Jack Aikins has looked strong through the rounds and finished third in the 100 back by two-hundredths. Daniel Diehl is also in the mix, as is Tommy Janton, who will have the full force of the Notre Dame cheering section at his back.


Men’s 50 Freestyle

It was a free for all in the splash and dash in this morning’s prelims. Once the waves calmed, here’s where things stood –six men went sub-22, lead by Michael Andrew and Ryan Held, who tied for the top time of the morning in 21.70. Jack Alexy (21.74), Chris Guiliano (21.83), August Lamb (21.87), and Quintin McCarty (21.98) all got under the barrier as well. Then, there’s Caeleb Dressel and Jonny Kulow locked together at 22.00.

This is a race that has serious roster implications for the men’s roster in Paris (as does pretty much every men’s event). But first, everyone’s going to have to be at their best tonight to fight their way into the final.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

This is the back half of Smith’s double tonight. She’s proven that she can succeeded on the back half of the double so maybe she’ll take a run at her American record tonight. But regardless, she should move smoothly into the final and be faster than the 2:09.30 she put up this morning for 5th.

Isabelle Stadden led the way this morning, nearing her season-best with a 2:08.53. There’s a crowd of familiar faces in the field in addition to Stadden: reigning world champion Claire Curzan (2:08.90), Tokyo Olympians Phoebe Bacon (2:09.14) and Rhyan White (2:09.66), as well as last year’s breakout star Kennedy Noble (2:09.99).

Men’s 200 IM

Carson Foster and Maximus Williamson looked strong in the men’s 200 IM prelims, both breaking 1:59 and winning their respective heats in 1:58.38 and 1:58.58. Foster turned on the jets to make sure he finished ahead of Grant House (1:58.83) and Owen McDonald (1:59.13), who were both charging and earned second swims of their owns.

Chase Kalisz is in the mix as well with a sub-2:00 effort (1:58.62) as is Destin Lasco, who’s got all his eggs in the 200 IM basket after scratching out of the 200 backstroke.

The Shaine Casas rollercoaster ride continues tonight in finals; Casas came in as the top seed and easily qualified for the semifinals (1:59.10) but we’re just as likely to see him at the top of the pile as we are missing the final completely.

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Aragon Son of Arathorne
25 days ago

was really expecting a 2:18 from her tonight. Maybe in Paris she will do it.

25 days ago

No mention of Katie Grimes as 2nd seed in 200 back?

25 days ago

I hope KD wins and gets the AR. Quick question: is there a video of Matt Fallon’s swim on swimswam? I can’t seem to find one.

25 days ago

2 records fall tonight

WV Swammer
25 days ago

The mother of swimming goes 2:18 I fear

Reply to  WV Swammer
25 days ago


Joel Lin
Reply to  WV Swammer
25 days ago

Possible. I think 2:19 again & faster at the Olympics. She’s just swimming for the spot tonite, not the time, so I’d expect a deliberate race.

Prediction: Alex drops into the 2:21s, King adds time from her semi swim.

2 Hoos to Paris.

Last edited 25 days ago by Joel Lin
Jean Marie
25 days ago

Another great night of swimming!

25 days ago

Alex Walsh versus Lilly King in the women’s 200 meter breaststroke is must see tv. Will there be a serving of humble pie?

25 days ago

The 200 FL/200 BK double is brutal. Roughly forty (40) minutes to recover according to tonight’s estimated timeline.


About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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