Zach Apple: “Lilly always tells me its better to die ahead than die behind”


Reported by James Sutherland.


  • World Record: Paul Biedermann (GER) – 1:42.00 (2009)
  • American Record: Michael Phelps – 1:42.96 (2008)
  • US Open Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:44.10 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Hwang Sun Woo (KOR) – 1:44.96 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Sun Yang (CHN) – 1:44.65
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Townley Haas – 1:45.66
  • Wave I Cut: 1:50.79
  • Wave II Cut: 1:49.65
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 1:47.02
  1. Kieran Smith (FLOR), 1:45.74
  2. Zach Apple (MVN), 1:46.22
  3. Townley Haas (NOVA), 1:46.30
  4. Drew Kibler (TXLA), 1:46.70
  5. Blake Pieroni (SAND), 1:46.84
  6. Luca Urlando (DART), 1:46.93
  7. Andrew Seliskar (CAL), 1:46.95
  8. Patrick Callan (UN-MI), 1:47.00

Despite Zach Apple leading through the 150, Kieran Smith took control of the second semi in the men’s 200 free on the last 50, looking incredibly smooth en route to the top time of the session in 1:45.74.

That swim marks a new personal best for Smith, who had previously been 1:46.21 at the 2019 Summer Nationals. The 21-year-old Florida Gator is now the ninth-fastest American of all-time and third among swimmers in this field.

To his credit, Apple held tough on the last 50, clocking in at 1:46.22 to improve his PB of 1:46.56 and qualify second for the final, with Townley Haas (1:46.30) hot on his heels for third.

Texas Longhorn Drew Kibler emerged victorious from the tightly-contested opening semi-final, cracking the 1:47-barrier for the first time in 1:46.70.

Kibler, whose previous best sat at 1:47.16 from 2019, out-touched Blake Pieroni (1:46.84) and Andrew Seliskar (1:46.95) to win the heat, two men who have been sub-1:46 in their career. Those three advanced fourth, fifth and seventh overall, with Luca Urlando sixth in 1:46.93.

Patrick Callan (1:47.00) snagged the last spot in the final, leaving Carson Foster (1:47.03) on the outside looking in.

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3 months ago

My advice – Don’t listen to Lily

3 months ago

Aged poorly

3 months ago

That’s funny, Lilly always tells me she’s going to kill my family’s pet salmon in the ready room before my first Trials final.

Reply to  Deepblue
3 months ago

The family’s pet kodiak bear would like a word with Lilly. Don’t mess with Alaska.

3 months ago

Well if you die behind, that means you are not even in the same league as other swimmers.

Reply to  Jonathankkh
3 months ago


About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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