Paige Madden, Regan Smith Break Speedo Grand Challenge Records During Day 2 Prelims

2024 NOVA SPEEDO GRAND CHALLENGE

Paige Madden kept her momentum going during the second prelims session in Irvine, taking down another Speedo Grand Challenge meet record in the 200-meter freestyle with the top qualifying time of 1:57.53 this morning.

The 25-year-old University of Virginia graduate snuck under the previous meet record of 1:57.62 clocked in 2019 by Katie McLaughlin, who swam with Madden on the U.S. women’s 4×200 free relay that won a silver medal a couple years later in Tokyo.

Madden will be joined in tonight’s super final by a few big names: 27-year-old Olympic champion Simone Manuel (1:58.37), Sandpipers of Nevada 17-year-old Claire Weinstein (1:58.95), and 22-year-old Olympic silver medalist Regan Smith (1:59.28). However, Madden should still be the favorite as the third-fastest American in the 200 free this season (1:57.25 at last month’s Pro Swim Series stop in San Antonio) behind Anna Peplowski (1:56.99) and Katie Ledecky (1:54.97)

Madden appears to be in prime form ahead of next month’s U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis. On Friday, she broke the meet record in the 400 free during prelims before posting a personal-best 4:03.02 in the final. Only Ledecky (3:59.44) has been faster among Americans so far this season.

Smith returned to the pool just about an hour later for the 100 butterfly prelims, where she blasted a meet record of 57.50 to lead the field by almost four seconds. She erased the previous standard of 58.16 that Kendyl Stewart set in 2019. Smith’s lifetime best of 56.36 from March ranks her as the fifth-fastest woman in the 100 fly this season.

Leon Marchand opted for the men’s 100 fly over the 400 IM — an event in which he owns the world record — on Saturday. The 22-year-old Frenchman paced the heats in 53.48, about a second off his personal-best 52.42 from last October. Marchand will be going up against rising Cal sophomore Samuel Quarles (54.22), rising UCSB junior Billy Picht (54.28), and Sandpipers 16-year-old Caleb Kattau (54.39) in tonight’s super final. Former Arizona State teammate Ilya Kharun holds the meet record at 51.96 from last year.

Bob Bowman‘s Longhorn Aquatics crew dominated the men’s 200 back. Last year’s world champion, Hubert Kos, led the way in 1:57.99 a couple seconds ahead of training mates Jay Litherland (2:00.24) and Chase Kalisz (2:02.31). Tonight they’ll be chasing Ryan Murphy‘s six-year-old meet record of 1:55.70.

The future is on display in the women’s 200 backstroke. Mission Viejo Nadadores 17-year-old Teagan O’Dell clocked the fastest prelims time at 2:11.99, with Sandpipers 18-year-old Katie Grimes close behind in 2:12.46. Another rising star, Clovis Swim Club 15-year-old Rowyn Wilber, shaved a couple tenths off her best time from last summer to punch her ticket to tonight’s super final in 2:15.52.

The 400 IM lacked the same star power as other events, but fans will still be treated to some young talent. Sandpipers 17-year-old Luke Ellis emerged as the top qualifier in the 400 IM (4:28.65), within six seconds of his best time from last June (4:22.66). Rising USC junior Justina Kozan led the way in the women’s 400 IM with a time of 4:49.67, nine seconds off her personal-best 4:40.57 from 2021.

The Swim Team (TST) duo of 30-year-old Marwan Elkamash and 22-year-old David Johnston logged the top times in the men’s 400 free prelims. Elkamash touched in 3:54.86 while Johnston reached the wall in 3:55.08, just about a tenth ahead of Friday’s 200 free champion, Drew Kibler (3:55.19).

In the age 7-12 races, the 100 breaststrokers impressed in particular. Rosemead Rapids 12-year-old Amelia Avetisyan dropped more than seven seconds off her lifetime best to snag the top qualifying spot in 1:17.62. She scared Haylee Pramono‘s 100 breast meet record of 1:16.96 from last year. Avetisyan’s previous best stood at 1:24.83 from last June.

Aquazot Swim Club 12-year-old Raymond Jew also pulled off a huge time drop in the 100 breast with a personal-best 1:13.33, slicing almost three seconds off his best time from earlier this month (1:16.10).

Irvine Novaquatics 12-year-old Anna Heumann paced the girls’ 50 back in 33.41, dropping almost two seconds off her previous-best 35.28 from last July. She touched just a couple tenths ahead of Rosemead Rapids 12-year-old Joanna Liu (33.62).

Mission Viejo Nadadores 12-year-old Ben Yang is the boy to beat in the 50 back tonight courtesy of his 32.02 from the morning heats, three seconds quicker than his previous-best 35.07 from 2022. Mission Viejo Nadadores 12-year-old Liam Chung (32.18) and Rancho San Dieguito 12-year-old Tyler Douglas (32.37) were close behind Yang during prelims.

The 100 fly features Rancho San Dieguito 12-year-old teammates Chloe Yoon (1:07.04) and Douglas (1:05.69) atop the leaderboard. Yoon dropped a couple seconds off her previous-best 1:09.23 from last May while Douglas lowered his previous-best 1:07.94 from last month.

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snailSpace
21 days ago

I experience a few seconds of cognitive dissonance any time Hubi is announced as a Longhorn. So weird to hear.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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