2018 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, July 25 – Sunday, July 29, 2018
- William Woollett Aquatics Center, Irvine, CA
- Prelims 9 AM / Finals 6 PM (U.S. Pacific Time)
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Reported by Lauren Neidigh.
WOMEN’S 200 BACK:
- World Record: Missy Franklin, 2:04.06, 2012
- American Record: Missy Franklin, 2:04.06, 2012
- Championship Record: Missy Franklin, 2:05.68, 2013
- U.S. Open Record: Missy Franklin, 2:05.68, 2013
- GOLD: (TIE GOLD) Regan Smith– 2:06.43
- GOLD: (TIE GOLD) Kathleen Baker– 2:06.43
- BRONZE: Isabelle Stadden– 2:08.24
- FOURTH: Lisa Bratton– 2:08.37
It was a thrilling race that came down to the touch. Short course American Record holder Kathleen Baker and age group phenom Regan Smith were the clear leaders early on. Baker was slightly faster up front, with Smith trailing by tenths. It looked like Baker had it locked down, but Smith really dug into the last 15. They wound up touching at the same time for a 2:06.43 tie. Smith’s time was a new World Junior Record, while Baker was just hundredths shy of her best. The former World Junior mark belonged to Australia’s Kaylee McKeown in 2:06.76 from 2017 Worlds. Smith and Baker are the 6th and 7th fastest Americans ever respectively.
Another 16-year-old, Isabelle Stadden, picked up a likely Pan Pacs berth as she touched 3rd in 2:08.24, chasing Lisa Bratton (2:08.37) down on the final 50. Stadden clipped her best by a little over a tenth, missing the all-time top 10 Americans list by 4 hundredths. The 10th spot on that list belongs to Bratton with her lifetime best 2:08.20.
Olivia Smoliga has made huge improvements in this event in 2018. Coming into the season, she had never broken 2:15. Tonight she put up a 2:08.58 for 5th place, narrowly missing out on a potential Pan Pacs berth, but that bodes well for her 100 back later on.
Kentucky’s Asia Seidt (2:09.20) was the only other A finalist under 2:10. 16-year-old Alex Walsh had the 7th fastest time of the night in 2:09.36 from the B final. That marked her first time ever sub-2:10 in this event and makes her the 7th fastest American ever in the 15-16 age group.