WUGs Gold Medalist Ian Finnerty Misses Qualifying for A Final at U.S. Nationals


Fresh off a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2019 World University Games in Napoli earlier this summer, American and U.S. Open short-course yards record-holder Ian Finnerty failed to make the A final in the distance on Saturday at U.S. Nationals.

Seeded second in this event in Palo Alto, .01 behind Devon Nowicki’s 59.48, Finnerty clocked a 1:00.96 to finish third in his heat behind Australia’s Daniel Cave (1:0070) and TXLA’s Charlie Scheinfeld (1:00.93). That put him at tenth overall and landed him in tonight’s B final.

Finnerty’s long-course meters performances had been somewhat uneven in the past and hadn’t quite lived up to his short-course yards performances. After all, he is the American and U.S. Open record-holder and two-time NCAA champion in the 100-yard breaststroke. Finnerty broke Caeleb Dressel’s American and U.S. Open record in the SCY event winning the 2018 NCAA title with 49.69 and becoming the first person ever to break the 50-second barrier. After claiming his second consecutive NCAA 100 breast title in March, Finnerty admitted he didn’t train in long course meters for the 100 breast. He added, however, that things would change when he wrapped up his collegiate career.

Four months later, Finnerty made a breakthrough at WUGs and swam under one minute for the first time. After qualifying for semi-finals with 1:00.78 in heats, he proceeded to unleash a 59.51 in semi-finals to break the Universiade meet record. 24 hours later he lowered it by another .02 to take home the gold medal with 59.49. That moved him up to the #11 spot on the all-time list for U.S. men and ranked him 13th in the world for the 2019 long course season.

No one broke a minute in heats of the 100 breast at U.S. Nationals. Craig Benson posted the top time of the morning with 1:00.18 and it took a 1:00.88 to make the A final.


  • World Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2019
  • American Record: 58.64, Kevin Cordes, 2017
  • Championship Record: 58.74, Kevin Cordes, 2017
  • U.S. Open Record: 58.74, Kevin Cordes (USA), 2017
  • Olympic Trials Cut: 1:03.29

Finals qualifiers:

  1. Craig Benson, 1:00.18
  2. Reece Whitley, 1:00.25
  3. Théo Bussière, 1:00.40
  4. Devon Nowicki, 1:00.67
  5. Daniel Cave, 1:00.70
  6. Samuel Williamson, 1:00.72
  7. Caspar Corbeau, 1:00.87
  8. Trent Pellini, 1:00.88


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2 years ago

He will drop something nice tonight

ACC fan
2 years ago

I think that the international travel these WUGs and Worlds Swimmers experienced took a lot more out of them than would be predicted.

Reply to  ACC fan
2 years ago

And some have swum even better!

Natalia Amalfi
Reply to  ACC fan
2 years ago

Agree. Especially west coast WUG swimmers had flight delays/cancellations took forever to get to Naples and again back-

2 years ago

I still think it’s really funny seeing “Finnerty broke Caeleb Dressels American and US Open record”

Reply to  Bruh
2 years ago

It’ll be funny seeing the same in 2038 about 200 IM

tea rex
Reply to  Drewbrewsbeer
2 years ago

That would be something – Finnerty would be about 40 years old.

2 years ago

Maybe he was holding back a little in the prelims and still hoping to make the A-final?

tea rex
2 years ago

In that photo, his elbows look maaaaybe out of the water. I guess B final is better than DQ.

Spectator dad
Reply to  tea rex
2 years ago

And that’s an old photo

Reply to  tea rex
2 years ago

I don’t see that being called.

Dad spectator
2 years ago

He’s an second session swimmer for the most part .
It’s been a nice visit to Stanford area either way!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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