Ranking the Top 10 Swims From the Westmont Stop of the Pro Swim Series


The second-to-last stop of the 2023 Pro Swim Series wrapped up in thrilling fashion on Saturday night in Westmont, Illinois, highlighted by more meet records courtesy of Leon Marchand and Regan Smith along with another world-leading time by Hubert Kos.

Let’s see how yesterday’s epic finale stacks up with the first three finals sessions by ranking the top 10 swims of the week.

10. Lydia Jacoby, 100 breast – 1:06.09

The recently crowned NCAA champion prevailed against a stacked 100 breast field featuring the past two Olympic champions. As is quickly becoming her signature, Jacoby came from behind to edge Lilly King (1:06.39) and Texas teammate Anna Elendt (1:06.59), who were all separated by just half a second. It was less dramatic than some of her other wins, as she paced herself well on the first 50 and didn’t let King get too far away from her. King was first at the wall in 31.05 with Jacoby just .13 seconds behind in 31.18.

It’s not a best time — that still stands at 1:04.95 from her Olympic victory in Tokyo — but it’s still impressive for April as it would have placed fifth at last year’s World Championships right behind King’s 1:06.07.

9. Leah Hayes, 200 IM – 2:10.03

Hayes didn’t swim a lifetime best in the 200 IM, but she did swim her best time since her 17th birthday last October, making her the third-fastest American in the girls’ 17-18 national age group (NAG) rankings.

Hayes’ 15-16 record of 2:08.91 from the 2022 World Championships, which earned a bronze medal, ‘jumped’ the classes, and is actually faster than the 17-18 record. So while this No. 3 ranking isn’t super important, it is a good opportunity to reset the field for the two American roster spots in this event.

Hayes is now the fastest American in the 200 IM this season, surpassing Regan Smith’s 2:10.40 from the U.S. Open in December. While Smith is swimming exceedingly well right now (she broke the U.S. Open record in the 200 back on Saturday), she has a lot of events to chase already and probably won’t swim the 200 IM at Worlds.

8. Hunter Armstrong, 100 back – 52.59

For the third Pro Swim Series stop in a row, Armstrong held off Cal training partner Ryan Murphy (52.90) for the 100 back title. The former Ohio State standout lowered his own world-leading mark of 52.68 from the Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville, which made him the second-fastest performer ever in the month of January.

Armstrong was only .19 seconds off David Plummer‘s seven-year-old meet record (52.40) and just over half a second off his personal-best 51.98 from last year’s World Championships, where he earned bronze. Meanwhile, Murphy became the fourth-fastest performer this season behind Armstrong, Pieter Coetze (52.78), and Ksawery Masiuk (52.81).

7. Shaine Casas, 200 IM – 1:56.06

Casas is the only one on this list who didn’t win their event, but he did dip under the previous 200 IM meet record of 1:56.32 set by Michael Phelps back in 2012.

The former Texas A&M standout jumped out to an early lead with splits of 24.30 and 29.20 on the butterfly and backstroke legs, respectively. French star Leon Marchand caught up with him on the breaststroke leg, but Casas still finished with the second-fastest time in the world this year, which would have won bronze at last year’s World Championships. He was less than a second slower than his personal-best 1:55.24 from last summer’s Phillips 66 National Championships.

6. Hunter Armstrong, 50 back – 24.30

The 22-year-old American world record holder clocked the top time in the world this season during Thursday night’s 50 back final, lowering the previous meet record of 24.49 set by Justin Ress at January’s Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville. Ress placed second in this race with a 24.56. At last summer’s World Championships, Ress (24.12) edged Armstrong (24.14) for the crown by just .02 seconds.

Armstrong’s new season best time of 24.30 ranks as the fastest in the world this season ahead of 18-year-old South African Pieter Coetze (24.36). Armstrong’s lifetime best remains his world-record 23.71 from last year’s International Team Trials.

5. Hubert Kos, 200 back – 1:55.95

Kos had never been sub-1:57 before this meet, but by the end of Saturday, he had ventured into sub-1:56 territory. The 20-year-old Hungarian reached the wall more than a full second ahead of Texas junior Carson Foster with the fastest time in the world this calendar year, lowering the previous mark he had set in prelims on Saturday morning (1:56.28).

Kos ranks as the top 200 backstroker in the world this year ahead of Ryan Murphy‘s 1:56.31 from prelims and the second-fastest performer this season behind Joshua Edwards-Smith‘s 1:55.42 from last December. Murphy scratched the 200 back final tonight after qualifying second just .03 behind Kos this morning.

4. Regan Smith, 100 back – 57.90

Smith lowered her own 100 back meet record from last month by .02 seconds with a victory on the back half of a difficult 200 fly double on Thursday night.

It marked her third 57-point swim of the 2022-23 long course season, as in addition to her 57.92 from March, she also posted a 57.95 at the U.S. Open last December. Smith’s three 57-point swims in-season are impressive considering that only three women in history (her included) have been sub-58. She remains the second-fastest performer of the season, just .06 seconds behind Australia’s Kaylee McKeown.

3. Leon Marchand, 400 IM – 4:07.80

The fact that Marchand’s 400 IM time on Thursday night may have seemed slightly underwhelming only underscores how much the 20-year-old Frenchman has redefined expectations for this event in the past year.

Yes, it was three seconds off his personal-best 4:04.28, which ranks as the second-fastest performance ever behind only Michael Phelps, but it still marked a new Pro Swim Series record, the top time in the world this season, and would have won gold at the last Olympics by nearly two seconds. Marchand took down reigning Olympic champ Chase Kalisz‘s former meet record of 4:08.92 from 2018 while stealing the No. 1 world ranking away from Daiya Seto (4:07.92). He split 56.46 on his butterfly leadoff, 1:03.46 on backstroke, 1:08.53 on breaststroke, and 59.35 on freestyle.

2. Leon Marchand, 200 IM – 1:55.68

Shaine Casas also finished under Michael Phelps‘ meet record from 2012, but it was Marchand who became the new owner by touching first nearly a second ahead of the former mark of 1:56.32.

Marchand overtook the top spot in the world rankings, going under 1:56 for the first time this season. He was only .46 seconds off his personal-best 1:55.22 from last year’s World Championships win. His swim from 2022 made Marchand the 6th-fastest man in history and got him within 1.22 seconds of Ryan Lochte’s 1:54.00 world record.

1. Regan Smith,  200 back – 2:04.76

There were plenty of impressive swims this week in Westmont, but only one U.S. Open record courtesy of Smith.

Smith started under world record pace in the 200 back and finished with the fastest performance ever on American soil and the 10th-fastest performance done anywhere in the world ever.

Smith swam 2:04.76, which including an opening 100-meter split of 1:00.38. That was a whopping .35 seconds under the world record pace set by Australian Kaylee McKeown in March when she blazed a 2:03.14. Her new season-best time would have won gold at last year’s World Championships (though McKeown, the winner, was focused on the Commonwealth Games later in the summer).

Smith also left Illinois with titles in the 100 fly (56.92), 200 fly (2:07.92), and 100 back (57.90). She had the second-fastest time in the 50 back prelims (27.54) before scratching the final.

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10 months ago

Marchand 200 IM #1

Alex Wilson
10 months ago

I don’t know who chooses the pictures at the end of a story but I am surprised that Hubert Kos picture is not there. Especially after he set a new years top world time for the 200 LCM back. He also is now training with coach Bob Bowman and is a freshman on the ASU team. How many freshmen have a world top time for the year who have not been coached by Bob Bowman? Are there others beside Marchand last year and Kos this year?

Fraser Thorpe
10 months ago

Smith back to being a backstoker who can fly. As opposed to a flyer who also backstrokes. It’s good (tho scary) to see her returning to form and the level we know she is capable of.

The General
10 months ago

Anna Peplowski’s 200 free hands down

Miss M
10 months ago

Regan’s 200 back was hugely impressive, but I’m not sure that highlighting that it was a “whopping .35 under the world record pace” is such a good thing – it emphasises how much she fell off the pace in the second half give she was 1.62 behind the WR at the finish!

Very much looking forward to some tight battles between Kaylee and Regan in the next little while.

Phil McDade
Reply to  Miss M
10 months ago

Or maybe her coaches suggested going out hard & if she dies….so what? Guessing Bowman wants her peaking at a slightly different time than her last Olympic cycle & this meet ain’t it. She was impressive all week long, given that it’s April of 2023.

Reply to  Phil McDade
10 months ago

yeah that’s how she swam her previous 2:03s too- the actual WR was a 1:00 low from what I remember and she actually went a 59.x in finals before finishing with a slightly slower 2:03

Miss M
Reply to  jeff
10 months ago

True- Regan was out 0.01 faster when she set her WR.

I guess it is part of the difference in the way the two of them swim – Kaylee’s back end is huge. At the 150m mark Kaylee had caught up the deficit and then came home 0.21 faster than Regan’s former WR.

But as I said – this is no criticism of Regan. It was a brilliant swim, and I’m excited to see her getting back towards her 2019 form, and improving. Sets up some epic battles.

10 months ago

Regan Smith had by far the best overall performance in Westmont. I feel as if ASU is where she is meant to be and that her and Marchand will lead the next generation of insane swimming, especially because of bob bowman.

Last edited 10 months ago by Axel
Reply to  Axel
10 months ago

They’re about to bring these PSS records to another level. Who tf swims this fast in-season?

Reply to  Marsh
10 months ago

Swimming fast pre championship meet is the new norm. As a result most aren’t dropping much at the end of the season though.

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
10 months ago

You do have a point for most of the ASU swimmers but top talents like Leon Marchand (and maybe Regan who knows we haven’t seen her taper with Bowman yet) certainly keep dropping time at the end of the season

Reply to  Axel
10 months ago

Yes, ASU was a good choice for her, and her and Leon Marchand will continue to grow because they are still young.

10 months ago

I feel like Casas’ 2 IM should be higher

10 months ago

MA had a killer 50 fly

Reply to  SKOOOOOO
10 months ago

MA had a killer 45 fly

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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