Li Bingjie, Blake Pieroni Shine On Night 3 Of Fran Crippen SMOC


Another action-packed night has wrapped up in Mission Viejo at the 2018 Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions, with some of the country’s top swimmers, along with some international talents, racing to some quick times.

Two of the top swims on the night came right off the hop in the 200 freestyle, where Chinese teenager Li Bingjie and American powerhouse Blake Pieroni earned victories.

The 16-year-old Li won the women’s event in a time of 1:56.93, dropping her season-best by .03 and coming within two tenths of her lifetime best. She remains 10th in the world rankings for the year, while her teammates Yang Junxuan (1:58.04) and Al Yanhan (1:58.44) made it a 1-2-3 finish for China.

In the men’s event, Pieroni was aggressive opening up, flipping in 24.79 and 51.80 at the 50 and 100m walls. The wheels fell off towards the end of the race, coming home in 29.04, but he did hang on to win by nearly a second in 1:48.80. Currently, the 22-year-old ranks 3rd among Americans this year with his 1:48.19 from the Indianapolis PSS. Stanford’s Grant Shoults, who had an impressive win in the 400 last night, dropped his season-best by half a second for 2nd in 1:49.76, and China’s Qiu Ziao (1:50.23) was 3rd. Also notable was medley specialist Abrahm DeVine swimming a lifetime best of 1:50.77 for 4th.

Another swimmer who had a great night was Katie McLaughlin of Cal, who won the 100 freestyle last night in a lifetime best. Tonight in the 50 free she did so twice, first dropping her 25.41 (set this year in Santa Clara) down to 25.40 in the semis, and then took two more tenths off to win the final in 25.19. She’s now 8th among Americans this year, and runner-up Anika Apostalon (25.45) swam her fastest of the season.


  • Friday’s 50 back winner Tevyn Waddell of Minnesota won her second event of the meet in the women’s 200 back, holding off China’s Jiang Yuru by .01 for the win in 2:14.01. Kendyl Stewart took 3rd in 2:14.15, her fastest swim in four years.
  • UBC’s Josiah Binnema won the men’s event in 2:01.15, and Robert Hill (2:04.25) and Cole Pratt (2:05.45) made it a 1-2-3 for the Canadians.
  • 18-year-old Samantha Shelton of SoCal posted a lifetime best to win the women’s 400 IM, coming in at 4:48.46 in holding off veteran Haley Anderson (4:48.61). 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Emily Overholt took 3rd in 4:50.35, her fastest swim since returning from injury in late 2017.
  • China’s Yizhe Wang (4:17.78) edged out Takeharu Fujimori (4:18.85) of the Phoenix Swim Club to win the men’s 400 IM, with Canadian Tristan Cote (4:22.81) in 3rd.
  • Ruta Meilutyte of Trojan won the women’s 50 breast in 31.34, edging Breeja Larson (31.45). Stanford’s Matt Anderson won the men’s event in 28.84.
  • In the men’s 50 free, Michael Chadwick (22.61) topped Sid Farber (22.72) and Yuri Kisil (22.77) for the top spot. Chadwick currently ranks 5th among Americans this year with his 22.37 from Mesa.

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Zane Grothe
4 years ago

@James How did Grant drop an in-season best if he went 1:48.37 at Santa Clara

Coach Mike 1952
4 years ago

Go Katie McLaughlin! Nice to see her making progress since the neck injury. Tough double – 400 IM & 50 free. Also the other day she did say on video she wants to sprint.

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
4 years ago

Who thinks now about Katie Ledecky as a young girl? Katie McLaughlin is just a few months junior of her.
She wants to sprint … well who doesn’t. But she is too far from the level where competition is happening nowadays. She is remembered mostly as a seventeen years old girl winning a bronze medal n 200 fly and as a young tough girl who makes 200fly – 4×200 double, losing in the middle of the race almost 2 body length and finishing very strongly leaving nothing to do for Katie Ledecky to complete the golden race.
Moving to sprint events with very tough competition and leaving her 200 legacy won’t serve her good.

bobo gigi
4 years ago

Welcome to Chinese championships in the women’s 200 free! America first! Tough on China! 😆
I don’t know what are Katie McLaughlin’s goals for the summer. It’s funny to swim a 400 IM as a warm-up for the 50 free. She works her endurance and her freestyle speed. Let’s see the results in a few weeks. So far her freestyle looks very good. I think that her best chances to make the US team for worlds next year are in the 4X200 free relay and the 100 fly (very open after Kelsi Worrell). I still have concerns about her 200 fly. But that’s a weak event in USA so anything is possible. You can make the team in 2.07.

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

If that is Chinese championship in 200 free then there is nothing to worry about for other nations. Chinese team still doesn’t have a leader of 1:54 calibre to be a decisive factor in 4×200 relay.
At this meet Li Bingjie is very consistent with her 2018 in-season times in 200, 400 and 1500 events. It makes me to believe that she will be close to 8:28 in 800 today.

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

This is my first time commenting. I need to ask why does Bobo always get downvoted to the ground every time he posts

Reply to  kosnic7
4 years ago

Because it’s the ritual.

4 years ago

You left out the part about McLaughlin swimming the 400 IM about 20 minutes prior to winning the 50 free

4 years ago

Are the live results working for anyone? I can’t seem to view anything after the 4IMs.

Reply to  swimmerTX
4 years ago

They have been glitchy all meet. Watch the live stream if u want results in real time

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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