Smith, Huske, and Minakov Highlight First Two Days of 2022 Speedo Grand Challenge

2022 Speedo Grand Challenge

  • May 27 to 29, 2022
  • LCM (50m)
  • Woollett Aquatic Center, Irvine, California
  • Live Results under “2022 Speedo Grand Challenge” on MeetMobile

Some of the best swimmers on the West Coast raced on the first two days of the 2022 Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine, California. Many of them will be competing at the upcoming FINA World Championships in Budapest next month, with this meet serving as a last-minute preparation competition before they head off to training camp.

Stanford swimmer Regan Smith was amongst the elite swimmers that were at this meet. She won the 200 free in a time of 1:58.69, which is close to her personal best time of 1:58.67 from January 2020. In addition, she also took second in the 200 IM (2:14.64) and 100 fly (58.18), and was second in the prelims of the 400 free (4:20.54) before scratching the finals. What’s interesting was that Smith actually had world-class splits in the butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle portion of her IM race, but a 43.77-second breaststroke leg held her back. For comparison, look at her 200 IM versus that of Alex Walsh, who holds the top time in the word currently:

Regan Smith, 2022 Speedo Grand Challenge Alex Walsh, 2022 U.S. Trials
Fly 28.42 27.62
Back 31.68 32.61
Breast 43.77 36.85
Free 30.77 30.76
Total 2:14.64 2:07.84

If Smith got her breaststroke down to around 37 seconds, you could be looking at a 2:08-range 200 IM. Yes, you can’t automatically eliminate the impact of a “weak” stroke. However, it’s still fun to speculate considering how fast her other three strokes were. Smith will not be swimming any of these events at Worlds next month, as she qualified to compete in the 50/100 back and 200 fly.

Smith’s college teammate, Torri Huske, also raced. She won the 200 IM (2:13.11) and 100 fly (57.77), and placed fifth in the 200 free (2:00.80), Her season best times in the latter two events are 1:59.14 and 56.28 respectively, both of which she went at 2022 U.S. Trials. She took out her 100 fly this meet in a 26.99 and slowed down on her back half, coming back in 30.78. Her time in this event at U.S. trials is currently ranked second in the world right now behind Zhang Yufei.

Perhaps one of the most impressive swims of the meet so far comes from 30-year-old Polish swimmer Kasia Wasick, who won the 50 free in a time of 24.37. That’s just off her best time of 24.17 from last year, and ranks her fifth in the world for the 2021-22 season.

14-year-old Kayla Han set a best time in the 200 IM, finishing fourth with a 2:17.36. This is an improvement from the 2:17.62 that she swam in April this year. Han also finished 19th in the 100 breast (1:17.53), 7th in the 200 free (2:02.96), and 22nd in the 100 fly (1:04.90). Han is set to swim the 1500 free and 400 IM at Junior Pan Pacs this summer.

Canadian World Championship qualifiers Rebecca Smith and Taylor Ruck finished second and sixth in the 200 free respectively, going times of 1:59.91 and 2:01.30. Smith also placed second in the 50 free (25.88) and fourth in the 100 fly (1:00.15), while Ruck placed second in the prelims of the 200 back (2:19.33) before scratching the finals. Smith will be swimming on the 4×100 and 4×200 free relays at Worlds, while Ruck is doing the 100/200 back and the 4×100 and 4×200 free relays.

USC swimmer Kaitlyn Dobler won the 100 breast in a time of 1:07.81. Her season best time is a 1:06.19 from when she finished third at U.S. trials earlier this year.

On the men’s side, Stanford swimmer Andrei Minakov highlighted many of the races. He won the 100 fly (53.33) and 200 free (1:48.34) and placed third in the 50 free (22.62). The 200 free swim was a best time of him, as his previous PB was a 1:51.39 from Russian Age Group championships in 2018. Minakov will not be competing at World Championships and European Championships this year, as Russian is banned from both meets. He opted to skip the Russian Championships earlier this year.

Another Russian, Vlad Morozov, won the 50 free in a time of 21.96. He was the only man under 22 seconds in the race. Justin Ress, who is slated to compete in the 50 back and 100 free at World Championships, finished second with a 22.20.

Other Event Winners:

  • Men’s 100 Breast: Ben Dillard, 1:02.72
  • Men’s 200 IM: Ron Polonsky, 2:01.77
  • Women’s 400 Free: Aurora Roghair, 4:15.73
  • Men’s 400 IM: Ron Polonsky, 4:23.72
  • Women’s 400 IM: Isabelle Odgers, 4;52.51
  • Men’s 200 Back: Leon MacAlister, 2:00.91
  • Women’s 200 Back: Alya Spitz, 2:17.01
  • Men’s 400 Free: Preston Forst, 3:57.33

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4 months ago

So Speedo drops Rylov, but no problem having Russians swim in their meet.

Cmon Man
Reply to  PowerPlay
4 months ago

Rylov actively supported the war, haven’t seen these Russians do that. Just because you’re Russian doesn’t mean you support the war.

Pacific Whirl
4 months ago

Summer McIntosh is faster in 2IM with a 2:10.7.

4 months ago

Find the best breaststroke coach in the USA and fly them out to work with Regan for a week. With her talent she can improve!

Reply to  Cali4nia
4 months ago

Or just have regan go tin university of Indiana and train with Annie lazor and Lilly keep for 2 weeks 🤔

Reply to  Swimfan
4 months ago

That could work, too!

Reply to  Cali4nia
4 months ago

With Walsh and Douglass competing in the women’s 200 meter individual medley at the Summer Olympics, it’s a lost cause.

4 months ago

What’re everyone’s thoughts on the worst strokes to be good at for an IM? I’ve always thought its fly and back (sorry Regan) bc it leaves you as a sitting duck on the back half

Last edited 4 months ago by Swammer
Reply to  Swammer
4 months ago

Just by percentage of total time, it’s most important to have a good breaststroke and least important to have a good fly. The exact opposite of how my IM was unfortunately.

Reply to  hambone
4 months ago

Katie Grimes has an issue with the breaststroke in the women’s 400 meter individual medley.

I will cry to the heavens until blue in the face, Alex Walsh has the greatest potential in the women’s 400 meter individual medley especially after sweeping the individual medleys at the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.

Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Curzan
4 months ago

Alex Walsh has the greatest potential in any LCM event, in my opinion. It’s just a matter of what she chooses to focus on. Her stroke is built for the 200 breast LCM, though, in my opinion.

Reply to  hambone
4 months ago

Completely agree. Fly is the only stroke that gets the dive and it’s a fast one anyway, so the difference between a great fly and a good fly is much less than the difference between a great breast and a good breast.

Reply to  Swammer
4 months ago

Seemed to work out okay for Phelps

Miss M
4 months ago

I remember Regan being asked about IM at one point, and she shared that her breaststroke was pretty bad. I guess now we know!

4 months ago

Imagine having a leg of the 200IM over 12 seconds slower than the rest. A 31.6 back is moving though.

Alain Bernards' Lattisimus Dorsi
4 months ago

Would love to see footage of that breastroke split, did she even use her legs 😂

Last edited 4 months ago by Alain Bernards' Lattisimus Dorsi
Reply to  Alain Bernards' Lattisimus Dorsi
4 months ago

Can’t really see her stroke but it’s interesting watching her pull away from huske in the back and then fall right back behind in the breast
go to about 20:00

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  swoomer
4 months ago

Toward the end of that leg she was basically covering one meter per second

Guimaraes Cayley
4 months ago

What a difference no Breaststroke makes. My very weak stroke was backstroke. I would kinda catch the guys on the Breaststroke leg, but then I would be dead for the free.
Thiago Pereira swam fly, back and breast somewhat fast; but would die in the last 50. Same as M. Andrew – no endurance.

tea rex
Reply to  Guimaraes Cayley
4 months ago

Pereira had endurance – he could do a 400 IM or 200 stroke. He was just that rare swimmer for whom freestyle was his worst stroke.
As a masters swimmer who now sometimes does IM to mix up practice, it is crazy to swim next to a real breaststroker. Feels like I am just bobbing in the water.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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