Ledecky vs. McIntosh 400 Free Clash Highlights Races to Watch at the 2022 U.S. Open


  • November 30-December 3, 2022
  • Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Long Course Meters (50 meters)
  • Start Times:
    • Prelims: 9 AM (ET)
    • Finals: 6PM (ET)
  • Psych Sheets

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and after a short time off, we’ve got another weekend filled with racing on the docket, from more college invites to the U.S. Open. With so much going on, here are five races at the U.S. Open that you won’t want to miss.

Women’s 400 Freestyle

The top candidate for race of the meet comes early in the program, when Katie Ledecky and Summer McIntosh face off once again in the women’s 400 freestyle on Day 2. It’ll be their third head-to-head this year after the World Championships in June and the Toronto stop of the FINA World Cup in October.

At their most recent meeting, which was in short course meters, 16-year-old McIntosh surged on the final 25 to out-touch Ledecky by .08 seconds, 3:52.80 to 3:52.88. Both of those swims were big lifetime bests, with McIntosh setting new World Cup and World Junior Records and Ledecky claiming the American Record.

They’re back in long course for this matchup, where Ledecky’s resume–which includes the previous world record–gives her the edge over McIntosh. However, the Canadian teen did break 4:00 for the first time this summer at Worlds, then proved she could do it without Ledecky in the next lane by getting under the barrier again at Commonwealth Games. Both athletes come into the race riding momentum; McIntosh has been on fire all year and Ledecky earned a pair of SCM world records thanks to her World Cup appearances. It should be another great race between the two stars, and though they are undeniably the two favorites, if either of them are having on an off-day, Junior Pan Pac champion Erin Gemmell will be there to keep things interesting.

Men’s 200 IM

The recent narrative of American men’s medley swimming has been the clash of the veterans with the young stars. We’ll get that again in Greensboro, with the experienced Chase Kalisz and the rising teenage star Baylor Nelsoncoming in as the top two seeds.

Kalisz has been a staple on the U.S. international team for years now, though earlier this year there were rumors about him ceding his 400 IM throne. Despite that, he kept the event at Worlds, earning a bronze medal. Since then, he’s turned a new page in his career, moving from UGA to ASU and reuniting with former coach Bob BowmanThis will be his first major meet since that transition, so we’ll get a chance to see how his training has been going.

We’ve already gotten a chance to see how Nelson’s new home at Texas A&M has been treating him. He lit up the Art Adamson Invitational–his midseason invite–posting three best times and winning both IMs. It was his 400 IM that was particularly impressive as he cracked 3:38.39, dropping over three seconds from his previous best. Now, we’ll get a look at how Aggies’ training has impacted him in meters.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Joshua Liendo courtesy of Fabio Cetti

The first four seeds in the men’s 50 freestyle are college swimmers, giving us a mini preview of what could potentially go down in March at the 2023 NCAA Championships.

Leading the way is Josh Liendo, who’s been tearing it up in Florida in his first season of racing shorrt course yards. He currently holds the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season in the 50 free at 18.83. Now, he’ll face his collegiate rivals in the meters pool, including David Curtiss and Matt King. King won U.S. Nationals this summer in 21.83, a new lifetime best. Liendo’s best sits at 21.61, and Curtiss has been as fast as 21.76, so it should be a competitive battle between the three of them.

Sitting fifth and sixth on the psych sheets are pros Hunter Armstrong and Justin RessWe’ll talk a little more about them later, but Ress especially can make some noise in the splash and dash. If Liendo or King are off their game, Ress will certainly take full advantage.

Lurking as the 15th seed is Kaii Winkler, who’s been on fire this fall. He broke Caeleb Dressel‘s FSHAA 200-yard free record (1:34.18), then followed up with a NAG in the 100-yard free (42.52).  His lifetime best is 22.50, and based on how he’s been swimming of late, he could have a big drop in store.

Women’s 200 Butterfly

Hali Flickinger and Regan Smith have had the women’s 200 fly locked down since the Tokyo Olympics, also claiming the two roster spots for 2022 Worlds. However, there are plenty of women who are looking to challenge them as the quad continues and without Flickinger in Greensboro, these up and comers will be on full display.

Smith still sits at the top of the psych sheets, entered with. 2:06.79. This will be her first meet since she turned pro and moved from Stanford to ASU to join the Sun Devils’ incredibly strong pro group. There are sure to be a lot of eyes on her performance this weekend, and we could’ve chosen any of her races (100 BK, 200 BK, 100 FL, 200 FL, 200 IM) to highlight.  We chose this one because not only is there her fellow Sun Devil Lindsay Looney in the mix, but there’s also young talent like Charlotte Hook and Tess Howley. 

Of the three, it’s Hook who could really shake the race up. She was third at both Olympic Trials and Worlds Trials. Since then, she’s started her freshman year Stanford and dropped a 1:52.48 in yards, which is the top time in the NCAA ahead of Looney’s 1:53.42. It’s also a lifetime best for her, shaving .24 seconds off her previous mark. In meters, her lifetime best is a 2:07.87 from 2019 and she seems in form to take that down.

Men’s 100 Backstroke

Daniel Diehl. Photo: Jon Reiter

The men’s 100 backstroke projects to be one of the toughest races to earn a lane in the ‘A’ final. Hunter Armstrong sits at the top of the psych sheet, seeded with a 52.14. He’s another one who switched up his training base this summer, though he didn’t move to Tempe. After World Trials, he turned pro and followed his coach from Ohio State to Cal so this is also his first major long course meet since the switch.

Armstrong is seeded first by over a second, but expect the actual race to be closer than the psych sheet implies. Daniel Diehl, Justin Ressand Jack Aikins are next on the psych sheet with a trio of 53s. Diehl has been on fire this year, and hit a NAG and lifetime best 53.27 at Junior Pan Pacs swimming outside, which he didn’t have a lot of experience doing. Now back indoors, watch for him to be on his best. As for Ress and Aikins, they took first and third respectively at U.S. Nationals in July. Without the ISL, this could be a focus meet for Ress. Aikins, on the other hand, like the other college stars on the psych sheet including Kacper Stokowski and Hunter Tapp, just raced in his midseason invitational.

Another college swimmer to keep an eye on is Aidan Stofflewho’s seeded eighth in 54.75. The Auburn men, including Stoffle, have been making big improvements in both yards and meters this year. His seed time in this lifetime best he went at Nationals, and he just dropped one in yards at the UGA Invite, ripping a 45.27. Like with all the college stars, we’ll have to wait and see what he has left in the tank after the invite, especially as college teams begin to turn their focus to winter training.

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2 months ago

It looks like MA is racing the TYR Teophy in Greece which is going on at the same time. Not sure if any other TYR swimmers are also absent for the same reason.

2 months ago

Is there live stream?

Reply to  DearMA
2 months ago

All the informations here USA Swimming News

Reply to  nuotofan
2 months ago

So Peacock has exclusive rights for the finals on Thursday and Friday. Hopefully USAS will accidentally broadcast those sessions on its website as well.

2 months ago

Katie hates to lose, so the last 100 of the 400 free is going to be a barnburner.

Reply to  Marklewis
2 months ago

In their last SCM race, Ledecky beat her off the walls but lost during the swim portion. If that holds true for LCM, it give the edge to McIntosh.

2 months ago

Hunter Armstrong is entered? I thought the worlds team couldn’t go because they were leaving for worlds during the meet? I think I only read this in a random comment so I could be wrong.

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

The Worlds team does not leave until Dec 6.

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Maybe he is in Greece at the TYR Trophy too

Sherry Smit
2 months ago

Who does swimswam have for the win in women’s 400 free? If you had to call it right now ? I’d honestly say McIntosh.

Reply to  Sherry Smit
2 months ago


Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
2 months ago

Any info about whether this will be broadcast and if so, where?

Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
2 months ago

Nothing yet.

2 months ago

Ledecky fan here but need to make a correction in the Womens 400m Freestyle preview… ‘where Ledecky’s resume–which includes the current world record–’.

Her resume no longer includes the current WR (400m); that belongs to Titmus now.

Last edited 2 months ago by AJC in BOS
Reply to  AJC in BOS
2 months ago

“McIntosh proved she could do it without Ledecky in the next lane” (at the comm games).

Ummm…., McIntosh had Titmus in the next lane. Titmus beat her. Titmus was the WR holder then too. This article seems to completely ignore that. It’s just weird. It’s like Ledecky never saying Titmus’ name last year.

Swim Fan
Reply to  Joel
2 months ago

Swimswam is probably just aware of all of Titmus’ mental fatigue, so they’re probably trying to give her some space while she sorts herself out…

Reply to  Joel
2 months ago

Actually, she wasn’t in the next lane.

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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