Ryan Held, Hali Flickinger Hit Lifetime Bests at Bulldog Grand Slam


  • June 21-23, 2019
  • Athens, GA
  • Results

Plenty of top swimmers are racing across the country (and world) this weekend as we get closer to championship season, and a group of notable swimmers converged in Athens this weekend at the Bulldog Grand Slam. Among them were Athens Bulldog Swim Club’s Hali Flickinger and NYAC’s Ryan Held.

Flickinger went lifetime bests in three different events. She put up another strong swim in the 200 free, clocking a 1:57.77 to win after going a lifetime best 1:57.65 in the morning, her only two times under 1:58, ever. Her old best of 1:58.18 came at the 2015 U.S. Summer Nationals.

She also took 2nd in the 100 back (1:00.28) and went 58.44 to take 2nd in the 100 fly behind Amanda Kendall (58.12), hitting bests in both of those, too. Flickinger has garnered Olympic Trials cuts in a whopping nine events since the qualifying period started in September of 2018: the 200/400/800 free, 100/200 back, 100/200 fly, and 200/400 IM.

Held, meanwhile, hit a lifetime best in several events. The versatile sprinter was 22.14 to win the 50 free, taking two hundredths off of his best of 22.16 from the 2017 World University Games. In the 100 back, Held took his old best from 57.29 to 55.87, a large drop, and he took two tenths off of his old best in the 100 fly (53.28). He also won the 100 free in 49.10. While he missed qualifying for Worlds and Pan Ams this summer, Held is looking very sharp right now.

Also with some strong sprint times was University of Georgia commit Dillon Downing. Coming in with bests of 23.24 in the 50 free and 51.89 in the 100 free, the SwimAtlanta swimmer hit bests of 22.70 in the 50 and 50.44 in the 100. The Bulldogs have struggled with building a sprint presence, something so important in the NCAA system, but will have one of the best young sprinters in the country joining the team this fall. Incoming (2020) Bulldog Jake Magahey had a fantastic race in the 100 free, too, getting under 50 seconds for the first time to post a 49.89.


  • Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz clocked a 1:58.05 to win the men’s 200 fly, a season best.
  • Athens Bulldog Olivia Smoliga raced the 200 free, an event she rarely competes in, busting the two-minute barrier in both prelims (1:59.88) and finals (1:59.02); both were bests. She was seeded at 2:03.89, and hit splits of 27.6/30.5/30.4/30.3 in finals for her new best. She also won the 50 free (25.20) and 100 back (59.70).
  • Athens Bulldog Megan Kingsley went a lifetime best 4:46.08 to win the 400 IM, shaving over two seconds from her old best. She also won the 200 IM in best time-fashion (2:16.69) and put up near-bests of 59.90 and 2:10.76 in the fly events, impressive as she’s coming off of multiple knee surgeries in 2017 as well as getting hit by a car in April.
  • Ian Grum, a Dynamo swimmer heading to UGA in the fall, broke two minutes for the first time to win the 200 back (1:59.67).
  • Margo Geer won the 100 free in 54.34, was 2nd in the 50 free in 25.34, and was 2nd in the 200 free in 2:01.62. That 200 free time is her lifetime best – her previous fastest time was a 2:01.65 in 2016.

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Margo Geer went a lifetime best in the 200 free = notable


Margodid go best time at Bulldog Slam for 200 Free which was 2:01.62 with 4th place finish. Olivia Smoliga went 1:59.02 to place 2nd


Meaghan Raab went a best time in the 400 free taking 3 seconds of her previous best and earned the OT cut.

Swammer from Wakanda

Looking at Jake Magahey’s stroke, it looks like it would be impossible for him to move that fast but he does anyway. In the slightly altered words of Channing Tatum, “Screw you science!”


Agree. Pretty Ugly. With some college weight gain, will that technique hold up. Find out in a few years

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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