# With 1:54.3 200 Fly, Urlando Becomes Fastest American Since Phelps in Rio

Coleman Hodges

May 29th, 2019

## 2019 MEL ZAJAC JR. INTERNATIONAL MEET

After having earned four personal bests thus far at the 2019 Mel Zajac Jr. International Meet, DART Swimming’s Luca Urlando has done it again: earning yet another lifetime best of 1:54.35. That time shatters the 17-year-old’s previous best time of 1:55.21, which was achieved at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships, by almost a full second.

Among other things, this gives us perspective on just how much swim fans were spoiled by Phelps’ dominance and skill in his pet event. Cutting over 3.5 seconds off of the 200 fly world record over his career (1:55.18 when Phelps first broke the WR to 1:51.51 as it stands today) Phelps truly set the bar for the mid distance event, a bar that is still tough to match years after his departure. Since Phelps won gold in the 200 fly at the 2016 Olympic Games in a time of 1:53.36, no American has been under 1:54 in the 200 fly.

With his swim in Vancouver, Urlando becomes the fastest American in nearly 3 years. Here are the fastest times from every major national and international competition post-Phelps:

2017 Nationals/World Champ Trials: Jack Conger, 1:54.47

2017 World Championships: Jack Conger, 1:54.88

2018 Summer Nationals/Pan Pac Trials: Justin Wright, 1:54.63

2018 Pan Pacs: Zach Harting, 1:55.07

2019 Mel Zajac Jr. International: Luca Urlando, 1:54.35

Reported by Eamonn Keenan.

Not only did he obliterate the meet record of 1:58.12, which was established by the University of Calgary’s Adam Sioui in 2008, but that time is also the third fastest time in the world this year. His 1:55.76 from the 2019 Speedo Sectionals – College Station meet rendered him currently ranked sixth, which made him the fastest American in the world this year. As of right now, the second fastest American in the world is Caeleb Dressel, who out of nowhere posted a 1:56.29 at the 2019 Atlanta Classic.

With the times he’s been throwing down combined with a rapid rate of improvement, Urlando has established himself as a primary contender for a 2020 Olympic bid, particularly in the 200 fly. If he had swam that exact time, Urlando would have won this event at the 2016 US Olympic Trials, beating out both Michael Phelps‘s 1:54.84 for first, as well as Tom Shields‘s 1:55.81 for second.

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Ol’ Gator
2 years ago

starting to look like US might (keyword might) medal in every event …
50: Dressel and MA
100: Dressel
200: Seli or Haas (or Pieroni)
400: oof
800: Grothe
1500: Wilimovsky
Backstrokes: Murphy, Grevers
Breastrokes: anyone in 100, Prenot in 200
Butterfly: Dressel, Urlando
IM: Kalisz

Just looked at this for fun but that 400 is probably the biggest gap

Samuel Huntington
2 years ago

Hmm I am not sold on Wilimovsky or Grothe – the competition is really good. And breaststroke will be tough too. I think Miller only with a chance. Although the 200 is unpredictable.

Nate
2 years ago

We’ve got some really deep talent on the men’s breaststroke side. I could see Miller, Cordes, or Andrew medaling.

Samuel Huntington
2 years ago

I am not sure Cordes will be back to his best. Andrew maybe, but he needs a half second drop to medal

Ben
2 years ago

Andrew is still quite young, so a half second drop wouldn’t be completely out of the question.

Rafael
2 years ago

More like a second
People down voted me but hey did someone at least saw peaty wilby and Ilya times???

Joe schroeder
2 years ago

Don’t forget Ian Finnerty. He is finally training meters instead of yards. Partners with Miller at practice. Ray will deliver.

Andrew is a 50 swimmer and his training philosophy results in limited tapper. Great in season swimmer that will not see the big drops at Olympic Trials.

Dcswim
2 years ago

My money’s on oof

Pvdh
2 years ago

Ol’ Gator
2 years ago

Oh yes, dean will probably come to the rescue for the 100 breast and 400 Free how could I forget him

fkhjgghvc
2 years ago

How to post photo pls?

Pvdh
2 years ago

Just copy and paste the link

OHSWIM
2 years ago

How about Carson Foster for the 400 IM? He did really well last summer and has been on trajectory to be a top contender.

SwimGeek
2 years ago

Carson is an amazing 17 yr old. He’s not a Tokyo medal contender.

Rafael
2 years ago

100 breast will need a 58 low mid to medal peaty wilby and Ilya will go that at least

AnEn
2 years ago

Medals in the 400/800/1500 free on the men’s side would be a huge surprise.
Also a medal in the 100/200 breast would be rather surprising + If Dressel for some reason doesnt perform, then i dont see a medal in the 50/100 free or the 100 fly either.

Pvdh
2 years ago

If he doesn’t perform? You could say that about any swimmer in the world. What kind of reason is that lol

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Worked pretty well as a reason last summer. Wins one gets smoked on the others. Admittedly that was after his Kneivel-esqe, jump Snake River Canyo motorbike accident that caused him to get a bandaid.

Pvdh
2 years ago

You know at some point you’ve got to realize that you’re just…grating to other people. You’re clearly mad he’s back and your trashing him was for not…but you gotta be more socially aware than this. I know it’s hard for some people. I get you’re hiding behind the phrase “trolling”, but yeeesh

ERVINFORTHEWIN
2 years ago

u seem to have a problem with his actual ( amazing !!! ) shape – too bad , u wont enjoy this summer’s Dressel party .

AnEn
2 years ago

It means that the US medal chances in 3 different events (50/100 free and 100 fly) are mostly dependant on one single person. If the US would have 3 different medal contenders in those 3 events, then they would be far less dependant on the well being of one single person … obviously.

SwimGeek
2 years ago

Andrew’s 21.4 last summer definitely puts him in the 50 free podium discussion

KeithM
2 years ago

Prenot is a legit contender in the 200 breast. It’s a deep event with many clumped together. So not a firm medal favorite. But a medal in the 200 would not be “rather surprising.” He has a PB of 2:07.1, won Silver in Rio, and was again 2:07.2 just last summer. We’ll see how he goes in Korea. But for now he should be considered one of the swimmers in the mix.

Rafael
2 years ago

Well.. Chupkov will win the 200.. so the rest is open..

KeithM
2 years ago

How do you know Chupkov will win the 200? Is he really that far in front of everyone else? Like he’s Peaty in the 100…a done deal. That’s quite a dramatic emphatic prediction! Especially as you’re often one of the first to pull up anyone that’s bullish about American swimmers. The Japanese will be hungry at home and then there are young and improving athletes like Australian Matt Wilson. These guys are right there with Chupkov.

AnEn
2 years ago

I dont see him beating Chupkov or Watanabe, which leaves us with a possible bronze medal. He is one of the contenders along with the 2nd japanes guy and the young guy from Australia.

swimma2
2 years ago

1500 probably not. It’ll take under 14:35; I think this is the year it takes way off internationally. 200 breast? Hmm, I also think (possibly overestimating) that it may legit take sub 2:07 to medal (do we have that?) …. also….I, along with many other haters, was not on the Michael Andrew boat several years ago…but his 1:57 in Richmond, looking like he was bathing, made me jump right on the bandwagon. The man is a performer..he’s our best bet in most things he swims- like him or not

Superfan
2 years ago

Any chance he goes pro? IMO one needs an individual gold medal to make it worthwhile to forego ncaa swimming.

Rachel
2 years ago

He’s verbaled to Georgia which is arguably one of the best 2fly schools in the country. (Kalisz, Bentz, Clark and that’s just the guys)
I think he’ll be fine.

Swammer
2 years ago

From what I heard he really wants to go to school and he is really proud to be going to Georgia. I think he said both his parents went there or something like that, but if he doesn’t do the full four years I think I can see him doing two and then going pro. It just depends on how much he progresses and if the money is there I would say.

Superfan
2 years ago

I agree with you. To Rachel, I knew he committed to Georgia and wasn’t saying anything about Georgia being a good college choice but more should he take the money if he wins a gold?!?

JRKay
2 years ago

If he wins an individual gold in Tokyo he’d be insane not to turn pro imo.

Togger
2 years ago

Could do, that he’s a guy and where college for him falls in the Olympic cycle makes it less likely though.

He can do three years of college, turn pro and still have two or three Olympics to make his money.

2 Cents
2 years ago

Not a guarantee. Injuries or something else could happen. Right now, his biggest selling point for turning pro would be the potential that he has. 200 Fly is not a “sexy event” like the 100’s or 50, and he does not have relay ability yet. MA pulled it off but he had a bit more versatility and was in shooting distance of making relays. But, if the money is there and a sponsor is willing to pay, he should jump on it. He can still go to college and train with the team, so turning pro does not take that away.

Chris Ritter
2 years ago

Pretty amazing what Billy has been able to help Luca develop into. Take a listen into his program when he was on the podcast a while ago – https://rittersp.com/podcast/the-multi-sport-athlete-is-a-foundation-for-a-swimmer-billy-doughty

swimmer23
2 years ago

this kid just went 2 seconds faster than Dressel and he’s a JUNIOR in high school. What are you talking about?!

Jack
2 years ago

sven
2 years ago

It’s true. I did a polynomial regression using his previous times and was able to deduce that he will go exactly 1:50.69

sven
2 years ago

Interesting aside– according to my model, if he swims it for a seventh time, he will go -55.96 seconds.

Togger
2 years ago

Only Dean can break the space time continuum.

As Einstein theorised, e=MC(Farris)

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Thank you. A guy who gets it.

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Now do polynomial for Schooling’s practice 100 fly.

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Not to mention the brief —- I heard he was in a brief.

Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Man, you (and 39 others at last count) really fell into that one. Twas a social commentary on the hype.

Editor
2 years ago

“They see me trolling…”

The michael phelps caterpillar
2 years ago

LUUUUUUUUUUCAAAAAAAA

2 years ago

Steve Nolan with the big troll!!

A$AP Pocky 2 years ago The fight between Luca, Milak, and whichever Japanese butterflier decides to show out in 2020 is going to be borderline cataclysmic Rafael Reply to A$AP Pocky
2 years ago

Do not leave kenderesi out

A$AP Pocky Reply to Rafael 2 years ago Good point Rafa. This could be the race of 2020. Ol' Longhorn Reply to A$AP Pocky
2 years ago

I think Kalisz is in the mix by then. 1:56 (in the same heat as the truly legendary 1:56 swim) coming just a couple of weeks after going 5 seconds off his 200 IM time, puts him about 1:54 mid-high now, and he always comes up big for Olympic years. Plus he’s getting a lot stronger now that he’s finally hit puberty.

Rafael
2 years ago

Puberty? He is like.. 14?

Brownish
2 years ago

I think WR will be closer to Milak than anybody else.