2018 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, August 9 – Tuesday, August 14, 2018
- Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center, Tokyo, Japan
- Meet site
- Psych Sheet
- Start Lists
- Meet Results
After setting a personal best in the 200 free preliminaries on day 1 of the Pan Pacific Championships in 1:56.88, American Katie McLaughlin followed up with a 1:55.47 relay split on the American 800 free relay on day 2.
Prior to this year, the 21-year-old rising senior at Cal had her best season in 2015, when she placed 6th at the World Championships in the 200 fly and split 1:56.92 on the victorious American 800 free relay.
Earlier that season, McLaughlin swam a lifetime best of 1:57.55 in the 200 free. She approached that last month at U.S. Nationals, winning the consolation final in 1:58.20, and then finally erased her PB on Wednesday with her 1:56.88 in the heats. That swim got her into the B-final, where she won in 1:57.34, and cemented her spot on the 800 free relay.
Nearly a full second and a half under her flat start best, McLaughlin’s 1:55.47 split stood up as the 4th-fastest flying leg in the field (Ariarne Titmus led off in 1:55.27) behind only individual medalists Taylor Ruck (1:54.08), Rikako Ikee (1:54.69) and Katie Ledecky (1:53.84).
Despite the quick splits from McLaughlin and Ledecky, Allison Schmitt‘s 1:58.62 lead-off put them in a hole they couldn’t quite dig themselves out of, as the Aussies broke the Commonwealth Record and won gold in 7:44.12 with the Americans back in 7:44.37 for silver.
McLaughlin also recorded a personal best in the 100 freestyle during day 2 prelims, clocking 54.14 to narrowly miss a spot in the ‘B’ heat as the 5th fastest American.
Moving forward, she’ll compete in the 100 fly on day 3 in Tokyo, the event she qualified in at U.S. Nationals with her runner-up finish to Kelsi Dahlia in 57.51 (another best time). Her 1:57.34 swim in the 200 free final put her 7th among Americans combining results from Nationals and Pan Pacs (finals times only) by .02, just missing Melanie Margalis‘ 6th ranked 1:57.32. The top-6 in that event will likely qualify for the 2019 World Championships for the relay, so with McLaughlin narrowly missing that, she’ll have to get the job done in the 100 fly.
She’s in position to qualify as of now and just needs to either swim faster than Mallory Comerford during the finals session or simply have Comerford not reach her Nationals time of 57.51. Dahlia, McLaughlin and Comerford are the only U.S. entrants in the event, so the pressure is off in the prelims with a second swim secured (though of course, they’ll be gunning for the A-final).
Based on what we’ve seen so far in Tokyo, McLaughlin will lock up her spot on the World Championship team in the 100 fly, and will be a very valuable asset next summer on the relay after that 1:55.47 split.