McLaughlin Puts Up World Top-25 200 FR at NOVA Grand Challenge


During Saturday’s finals at the NOVA Grand Challenge, Cal’s Katie McLaughlin dominated an NCAA-star studded 200 free super-final. McLaughlin won the super-final with a 1:57.62, ranking her in the top 25 times in the world this year.

Last month, McLaughlin swam two 2:02s at the SUN Devil Spring Open in this event. Her current personal best stands at 1:56.88 from the 2018 Pan Pacs, which qualified her for the B-final. McLaughlin then won the B-final with a 1:57.34, which is three-tenths faster than her swim from this evening.

In the same event, 15-year-old Israeli Anastasia Gorbenko won the consolation final with a monster personal best of 2:00.83, dropping 4 seconds off her seed time. Gorbenko is now the 16th-fastest 18&U swimmer in the world this year.

Other Meet Highlights:

  • Michael Chadwick remained on top in the men’s 50 free, winning with a 22.48 and falling in the top 50 American performances this year.
  • Cal’s Sean Grieshop won the 400 IM super-final with a 4:22.38, the 11th-fastest time swam by an American this year.
  • 15-year-old Katie Crom swam another PB in the 400 IM to win the super-final in a 4:50.00. Her time from Saturday evening just cracked the all-time top 100 times in the 15-16 age group.
  • Andrew Seliskar threw down his second 53.0 in the 100 fly, just adding 1/100 off his morning prelims time of 53.00.
  • USC Trojan Louise Hansson won the women’s 100 fly with a time of 58.20, nearly a second off her #5 ranked-time in the world from Canadian Trials (57.35). Katie McLaughlin clocked in at a 58.46, also a second off her PB of 57.51 from the 2018 US Nationals that earned her a spot on the Pan Pacs team. Kendyl Stewart also clocked in the 58-second range with a 58.73.
  • Winning the women’s 200 back by 5 seconds was Team Elite’s Dasha Ustinova with a 2:10.40, just one-tenth off her Russian Nationals time that ranks in the top 25 times in the world this year.
  • Just off his season best was Cal alum Ryan Murphy, clocking in at 1:56.67 to win the men’s 200 back super-final. His time was 6 seconds faster from this morning and just half a second off his season best of 1:56.16 from Knoxville, which is the 7th-fastest time in the world this year.
  • In a tight 400 free super-final, Jordan Wilimovsky dropped a 3:53.68 to win by less than a second. Denis Loktev took second with a 3:54.50 while Nick Norman (3:54.96) touched out Trenton Julian (3:54.97) for third.



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It looks that Katie McLaughlin is the only reliable help to another Katie in the fight against rising Australian team in 4×200 relay.




Margalis, Smith, Schmitt, Comerford, Manuel, Runge et al say hi


To beat Australians Americans need at least one 1:55 swimmer ( besides Ledecky). All listed by you swimmers won’t make it most likely. Schmitt is capable of doing that but she is not reliable. Smith did broke barely 1:56 barrier two years ago and didn’t come close to that since. Other mentioned by you swimmers may not able to do it. BTW you forgot about Gabby DeLoof with her last season break through 1:56.55. But this season she is very quiet by far (1:59.77) Katie McLaughlin showed very impressive come back and great performance in many events last season. That makes me think of her as one of most reliable members of this relay. And of course i remember her… Read more »

remel can do anything

last year this time she swam 1:59+ and did good job in pan pacs, and now 1:57+. so i agree with you. 🙂


As of today
Australians – 7:.43.97
1:54.30 – Titmus
1:56.00 – McKeon
1:56.77 – Jack
1:56.90 – Wilson
1:56.91 – Trossell
If take away ~ 1.2 sec for relay exchange then this team will be in close proximity to world record.
Americans – 7:48.18
1:55.78 – Ledecky
1:57.24 – Manuel
1:57.54 – Smith
1:57.62 – McLaughlin
1:57.70 – Schmitt

It is more than 4 sec difference. We can expect about 2.5 sec improvement from two Katies and hopefully the rest of the team will be by 1.5 sec better as well. But there is no room for mistakes and just “good” performance.


Litmus vs Ledecky
Manuel vs McKeon
Smith or Schmitt against Jack
McLaughlin against Wilson or Trossell
Untested 1:57 vs tested 1:56
I will take the Americans. Should be a decent race but still the Americans.


Manuel won’t swim this relay, unless she gets really bored awaiting for her sprint events. I would rather expect Comerford’s participation from sprinters camp but she isn’t even close to compete against McKeon whose personal best is 1:54.8


Yes, Australian girls were not in in-season hard training at this meet in April , but it also were not trials yet that are still to come. And you are right it is basically 1:56 against 1:57 now. So if Americans manage to be 1:56 they may get only even. It may happen that relay exchange will be a decisive factor and American team was never superb with that. I think that USA team coaches will rather agree for the silver medal then go all-in for the gold risking being DQed.


Scmitt is most unreliable..
Mclaughlin is OK hopefully her time drops further


I have a deep respect for Allison Schmitt and you can see it from my posting in the most recent article about Allison Schmitt. But if you check the variance in results of swimmers in this discussion then you will see that she has the highest one. The most predictable results with the minimal variance has surprisingly Simone Manuel.


I think we’ll have a better idea of this after worlds, but I think the breakdown you list above ignores the problems that Australians as a team have had with showing up at meets that are not the Commonwealth Games.


If you have a chance then watch one more time w4x200 relay race in Tokyo last season. Very exciting. Most likely it will be the same american team at WC. There is definitely something to learn from (17’30”)


1:58.62 – Schmitt
1:56.44 – Smith
1:55.47 – McLaughlin
1:53.84 – Ledecky
Very powerful finish from Katie&Katie.


usa can’t afford to see any other 1.58 to start the race ….thats a Big NO NO . They need a 1.56 to start things up …could Comerford bring that speed or anyone else other than Schmitty ?


Didn’t Australia win that ?


Yes, that’s why that is the lesson to learn from.


Great to see mclaughlin Back to her best

The michael phelps caterpillar

Shoutout to Applebee’s. A true American staple.

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro has had a huge passion for swimming since his first dive in the pool, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing, but still uses the sport as his go-to cardio. SwimSwam has become an outlet for him to continue showing his …

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