USA Swimming Senior Nationals: Tom Shields Edges Michael Phelps; Beisel Finds Redemption During Exciting Night Three

Editorial coverage for U.S. Senior Nationals proudly sponsored by Master Spas!

IRVINE, California, August 8. IT was definitely a dramatic night tonight in Irvine at the USA Swimming Senior Nationals.  Elizabeth Beisel found redemption after her backstroke start slip, and Michael Phelps had a bit of karmic payback as Tom Shields edged him by .01 in the 100 fly.

Scheduled Events

  • Women’s 400 IM
  • Men’s 400 IM
  • Women’s 100 fly
  • Men’s 100 fly
  • Women’s 50 breast
  • Men’s 50 breast
  • Women’s 50 back
  • Men’s 50 back
  • Women’s 800 free relay




Women’s 400 IM

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

A day after an unfortunate slip on her 200 backstroke finale start, BlueFish’s Elizabeth Beisel put together a world-class swim in the 400-meter IM A final to win the national title.  Beisel charged to a 4:32.98 for the win, moving up to fourth in the world.  Only Ye Shiwen (4:30.84), Hannah Miley (4:31.76) and Mireia Belmonte (4:32.92) have been faster this year.  That gave Beisel her fourth long course title in the event, and locked her position on the Pan Pacific Championships squad.

Defending champion Maya DiRado of Stanford turned in a sizzling time of 4:35.75 for second to move to ninth in the world and earn a berth on the Pan Pac roster as well.  Saint Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis wound up third in the finale with a 4:37.84 for 15th in the world.

NBAC’s Becca Mann could not replicate her season best 4:39.78 as she took fourth in 4:41.44, while SwimMAC’s Cammile Adams took fifth in 4:42.00. Aggies’ Sarah Henry (4:42.31), California’s Caitlin Leverenz (4:43.23) and SwimMAC’s Kate Mills (4:44.41) rounded out the heat.

Bulldogs’ Hali Flickinger dominated the B final with a sterling time of 4:39.26.  That time shot her up to 17th in the world rankings, while smashing her previous personal best of 4:43.08 from last year’s U.S. Open.  Kansas’ Chelsie Miller touched second in the consolation heat with a 4:44.12, while Flickinger’s teammate Emily Cameron earned third in 4:44.64.

Brooke Zeiger hit the wall in 4:46.05 to win the C final of the distance medley.  She was much faster a year ago at the 2013 U.S. Open with a lifetime best 4:42.89, but still managed to top the bonus heat tonight.  SoCal’s Ella Eastin popped a 4:48.34 for second, while FAST’s Lauren Edelman earned third in 4:49.57.

Men’s 400 IM

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

With even Tyler Clary saying the favorite in the event was Chase Kalisz, Clary managed to take Kalisz’s best shot in the breaststroke before putting Kalisz away down the stretch with a 4:09.51 for the win.  That’s his second victory of the meet, adding to his 200-meter back triumph from last night.  That’s Clary’s first long course title in the 400 IM since 2011 winter nationals, and Clary now trails only Kosuke Hagino (4:07.88) in the world rankings.

Kalisz, the heavy favorite in the event, wound up taking second in 4:11.52 as he just clipped his season best of 4:11.71 from the Santa Clara stop of the Grand Prix.  However, he was unable to leapfrog Yang Zhixian and Dan Wallace’s 4:11.04s for the next spot in the rankings, leaving him seventh overall.

California’s Josh Prenot held off the rest of the field for third with a 4:14.85 to tie Thiago Pereira for 16th in the world.  Dynamo’s Jay Litherland placed fourth in 4:14.93 to break the top 20 as well.

NCAP’s Andrew Seliskar (4:16.73), Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss (4:16.97), Stanford’s Max Williamson (4:18.17) and PASA’s Curtis Ogren (4:21.38) closed out the rest of the championship heat finishes.

Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz scorched the B final in the 400 IM with a 4:15.24.  That performance jumped him to 16th in the world rankings, while being just off his personal best of 4:14.51 from last summer’s juniors.  Aquazot’s Corey Okubo hit the wall second in 4:18.43 with Missouri’s Daniel Graviss placing third in 4:19.76.

Baylor’s Sam McHugh broke through the 4:22 mark for the first time with a 4:21.90 to win the C final tonight.  That’s under his best of 4:22.54 set this morning during prelims.  Dynamo’s Kevin Litherland picked up second in the bonus heat with a 4:23.06, while Crimson’s Robert Owen placed third in 4:25.30.

Women’s 100 fly

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

After guaranteeing her spot on the 2015 Worlds roster with her 50 fly win last night, North Coast’s Kendyl Stewart locked down her Pan Pacific Championship spot with an Olympic-distance win when she overhauled Western Kentucky’s Claire Donahue down the stretch.  Stewart popped a personal best time of 57.98 to tie Ellen Gandy for 11th in the world rankings.

Donahue, who went out like a rocket with a 26.67 at the 50, could not hold off Stewart as she managed to still take second in 58.03.  That’s good for 13th in the world rankings right behind Gandy and Stewart.  Stanford’s Felicia Lee, the 2006 national title winner in this event, took third in a personal-best 58.14.  That vaulted her to 15th in the world rankings.

Mission Viejo’s Katie McLaughlin (59.03), Kentucky’s Tina Bechtel (59.05), Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell (59.34), Indiana’s Gia Dalesandro (59.35) and Bulldogs’ Shannon Vreeland (1:00.00) also battled for the national title.

Tiger’s Amber Carter touched first in the B final with a 59.58, while Bruins’ Noelle Tarazona earned second in 59.71.  NCAP’s Cassidy Bayer placed third in 59.89.

Tiger’s Kara Kopcso gave her club a second heat win by clipping FAST’s Bailey Nero, 59.92 to 59.99, for the C final win.  Tualatin’s Michelle Cefal clinched third in 1:00.01.

Men’s 100 fly

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Reminiscent of Michael Phelps’ seventh gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he clipped Mike Cavic by .01 in the 100-meter fly, California’s Tom Shields edged Phelps tonight by the same margin in front of a hometown crowd.  Shields, who already won the 200 fly on the first night, beat Phelps 51.29 to 51.30 tonight. That tied Shields with Chad le Clos for second in the world behind Phelps’ prelim time of 51.17.

Phelps, who turned seventh at the 50, was long on the wall and unable to use his patented backhalf to track down Shields. Either way, the finish is good enough to send Phelps to Australia as part of the Pan Pacs roster.

SwimMAC’s Tim Phillips placed third in 51.54 to move to fifth in the world, while Nitro’s Matt Ellis clocked a fourth-place 51.73.  That time edged his seventh-ranked 51.77 from this morning, but wasn’t enough to leapfrog Joseph Schooling’s 51.69 for sixth.

SwimMAC’s Ryan Lochte checked in with a fifth-place 52.21, while Phoenix Swim Club’s Giles Smith took sixth in 52.51.  SwimMAC’s Matt Josa (52.57) and Santo Condorelli (52.88) also swam in the finale.

California’s Seth Stubblefield surfaced from a close B final with a 52.40 for the win.  Machine’s Jack Conger wound up second in 52.55 with The Woodlands’ Tripp Cooper placing third in 52.62.

Buenaventura’s Alex Valente blazed his way to a 52.81 to win the C final, his first time under 53 seconds.  Terrapins’ Justin Lynch, the 15-16 national age group record holder with a 52.75 from last year, cruised to second in 53.21.  15-year-old pro Michael Andrew took third in 53.59.

Women’s 50 breast

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/

Trojan’s Jessica Hardy unleashed a meet record in the sprint breaststroke, the event she calls her favorite.  Hardy crushed the field with a time of 30.12 to beat the 30.21 she clocked this morning.  That time not only secures her a spot on the 2015 Worlds roster, it moved her to second in the world behind only Ruta Meilutyte’s 29.90.  She now is the fastest US-based swimmer, leapfrogging Alia Atkinson’s 30.17 from the Commonwealth Games.  Atkinson, who represents Jamaica internationally, trains in Florida.

Aggie’s Breeja Larson posted a 30.64 to take second, off her prelim time of 30.58 that ranks her sixth in the world.  SwimMAC’s Katie Meili tied teammate Micah Lawrence for third with 31.00s.  Both now tied Rikke Moller Pedersen for 12th in the world.

Walnut Creek’s Kasey Carlson (31.02), Alabama’s Kaylin Burchell (31.22), Bethany Galat (31.44) and Tennessee’s Molly Hannis (31.61) rounded out the championship heat.

Outside smoke for Newburgh’s Lilly King as she posted a 31.18 to win the B final in lane 1.  SwimMAC’s Emma Reaney finished second in 31.47 with Louisville’s Andee Cottrell placing third in 31.50.

Canyons’ Nikol Popov hit the wall in 31.97 to win the C final of the sprint breaststroke.  Swim Fort Lauderdale’s Emily Kopas took second in 32.38 with Aquajet’s Olivia Anderson earning third in 32.39.

Men’s 50 breast

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/

Greater Philadelphia’s Brendan McHugh, who set the U.S. Open record with a sixth-ranked 27.10 from this morning, got his hand on the wall first in 27.24 to punch his ticket to the 2015 World Championships.  McHugh, currently a law student with a great back story, upset the favored Kevin Cordes of Tucson Ford.  Cordes raced to second in 27.33 to take 10th in the world rankings.

Club Wolverine’s Zach Hayden (27.69), Tucson Ford’s Marcus Titus (27.76), Minnesota’s Jared Anderson (27.91), NYAC’s Mike Alexandrov (28.00), Bulldogs’ Nic Fink (28.01) and Cardinal’s Kameron Chastain (28.21) placed third through eighth.  Titus set the deaf world record on the process.

Tennessee’s Brad Craig checks in with a 27.99 to win the B final.  Tide’s Austin Temple finished second in the consolation heat with a 28.19, while Tucson Ford’s Andrew Sovero placed third in 28.25.

Clovis’ Connor Hoppe thumps C final in 28.40, while PASA’s Joe Kmak took second in 29.37.  Michael Andrew, the 15-year-old pro, took third in 29.56.

Women’s 50 back

McKeever,T. Bootsma,R.

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

California’s Rachel Bootsma, the American record holder with a 27.68, reminded everyone just who the fastest female sprint backstroker in American is as she clocked a 28.35.  That time locked her a spot on the 2015 Worlds roster as she moved to 17th in the world.  Bootsma was so close to the lane line that she and Olivia Smoliga high-fived each other under the flags.

Fresno’s Cheyenne Coffman, who continued her march to national prominence after an incredible NAIA career, took second in 28.42.  Smoliga, meanwhile, took third in 28.49.

Club Wolverine’s Ali Deloof (28.70), California’s Elizabeth Pelton (28.85), Missouri’s Hannah Stevens (29.00), Cavalier’s Courtney Bartholomew (29.00) and Longhorn’s Sarah Denninghoff (29.01) also competed in the A final.

Aquakids’ Clara Smiddy hit the wall in 28.95 to win the B final.  SwimMAC’s Madison Kennedy checked in with a second-place 29.15, while Tiger’s Caley Oquist earned third in 29.26.

Byron Center’s Taylor Garcia won the C final in 29.35 with Schroeder Y’s Ashlyn Schoof placing second in 29.40.  SoCal’s Emily Eastin took third in 29.44.

Men’s 50 back

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/

It wasn’t his seventh-ranked time of 24.74 from prelims, but NYAC’s David Plummer did exactly what he needed to do to clinch a spot on the 2015 Worlds roster as he topped the sprint back in 24.82.  SwimMAC’s Nick Thoman just missed the top spot with a second-place time of 24.91.

Shane Ryan also cleared 25 seconds with a third-place effort of 24.97, while 50 fly winner Matt Grevers of Tucson Ford placed fourth in 25.18.

Auburn’s Kyle Darmody (25.32), Stanford’s Eugene Godsoe (25.48), Badger’s James Wells (25.55) and Schroeder Y’s Adam Mania (25.74) rounded out the top eight.

Tucson Ford’s Bryce Bohman topped the B final in 25.57 with Class’ Chase Bloch earning second in 25.77.  Ohio State’s Steven Zimmerman raced to third in 25.84.

Class’ David Puczkowski won the C final in the 50 back with a time of 26.34.  SwimMAC’s Paul Powers placed second in 26.41, while NCAP’s John Shebat finished 26.55.

Women’s 800 free relay

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

The NBAC foursome of Becca Mann (2:00.28), Cierra Runge (1:58.93), Heidi Miller (2:02.77) and Gillian Ryan (1:59.77) crushed the 15-18 national age group record in the women’s 800-meter freestyle relay with an 8:01.75.  That time demolished the 8:07.45 set by the Colorado Stars Jordan Mattern, Caroline Piehl, Kelly Naze and Missy Franklin in 2010.

NBAC Splits:

Becca Mann (2:00.28)
Cierra Runge (1:58.93)
Heidi Miller (2:02.77)
Gillian Ryan (1:59.77)

Colorado Stars Splits:

Jordan Mattern (2:02.47)
Caroline Piehl (2:02.52)
Kelly Naze (2:04.55)
Missy Franklin (1:57.91)

California’s Caroline Piehl (2:00.23), Rachael Acker (2:01.95), Kelly Naze (2:02.33) and Kaylin Bing (2:03.23) took second tonight in 8:07.74, while SwimMAC’s Cammile Adams (2:04.00), Kate Mills (2:02.54), Nora McCullagh (2:04.66) and Becca Postoll (2:02.87) finished third in 8:14.07.

Tennessee (8:15.78), Wisconsin (8:16.87), Arkansas (8:17.74), Sarasota Y (8:21.70) and Irvine Nova (8:26.76) also competed in the single heat of the event.

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Author: Jason Marsteller

Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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