Leah Smith Scratches Thursday Morning Races in Knoxville


After pulling out of the women’s 800 last night, US National Teamer Leah Smith is also not entered in the 200 free or 400 IM on Thursday morning, indicating a no-show at this weekend’s season-opening Pro Swim Series meet. The same thing happened to open last year’s season in Austin, when Smith didn’t scratch pre-meet, but didn’t wind up racing, either. That wound up costing her at year’s end when she lost the 2018 Pro Swim Series title (and the $10,000 prize, plus a year lease on a BMW, that goes with it) to fellow distance swimmer Katie Ledecky by 7 points.

Other Noteworthy Scratches:

  • South Korean international and Duke undergrada Easop Lee scratched out as the 10th seed in the women’s 200 free.
  • Jacob Pebley of Team Elite in San Diego has pulled out of the men’s 200 free. His former Cal teammate and training partner Ryan Murphy, however, is still entered – not a typical event for him – as is another Cal Bear, Tom ShieldsChris Wieser, the 6 seed in the 200 free, is also no longer entered.
  • Melanie Margalis, another contender for the overall PSS title, has scratched the 100 breaststroke where she was the 7th seed. That race will also be the first for Molly Hannis since she had to rush home from the World Short Course Championships after the unexpected death of her father. Hannis posted an initial Instagram about her first swim back yesterday (read here).
  • US National Teamer and Pan Pac gold medalist Michael Andrew has dropped 1 of his 3 scheduled events for Thursday. He won’t swim the 100 breaststroke, where he was the 3rd seed, to instead focus on the 50 back and the 100 fly. Cal alum Chuck Katis has also scratched the men’s 100 breaststroke where he was the 8th seed.
  • 17-year old US National Teamer Alex Walsh has scratched the 50 backstroke, where she was the 7th seed (based on 100m seed times). She’s still got entries in the 200 free and 400 IM on Thursday, leaving her with a grueling schedule even without the 3rd event.
  • No big scratches in the men’s 50 back, though with only 21 entrants the race didn’t even fill the requisite minimum 3 heats, meaning that Thursday’s C-Final won’t have 8 swimmers.
  • Hali Flickinger dropped the 100 fly, where she was the 4th seed in 58.48, to focus on her 200 free/400 IM double as well. She’s the 4th seed in the 400 IM and the 6th seed in the 200 free (after scratches).
  • 14-year old phenom Claire Tuggle has dropped the 400 IM, but is still entered in the 200 free. This will be her first race since a splashy summer where she very-nearly made the senior US National Team.
  • The men’s 400 IM stayed largely in-tact at the top; that’s another short-entered event, with only 21 swimmers scheduled to race.

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People scared to race? What’s going on?


Katis is a Cal alum not Harvard I think?!?

Mark S. Schwartz

I hope Leah is O.K. The stakes and pressure are much higher when you’re a pro I guess. She would have been a shoe in for the 800 with Ledecky not in it. I always enjoy watching her and Katie go at it in the 400. Oh well

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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