USA Swimming Senior Nationals: Kevin Cordes’ U.S. Open Mark Highlight of Day

Photo by Griffin Scott

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

IRVINE, California, August 7. WILL day two top last night’s dramatic turn of events as USA Swimming continues its quest to select five different international rosters? Today will feature plenty of 200s followed by a quick run of sprint fly events. Prelims start at 9 a.m. PT. Hit refresh for the latest coverage.


Scheduled Events

  • Women’s 200 free
  • Men’s 200 free
  • Women’s 200 breast
  • Men’s 200 breast
  • Women’s 200 back
  • Men’s 200 back
  • Women’s 50 fly
  • Men’s 50 fly




Women’s 200 free

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

With a spot on the Pan Pacific team already secured with a win in the 800 free last night, NCAP’s Katie Ledecky ripped off a lifetime best swim of 1:55.75 this morning.  That beat her 1:55.79 from the Potomac Valley Championships this summer, that already ranked her fourth in the world this year and had stood as the World Junior Record in the event even though Missy Franklin has a faster 17-18 national age group record with a 1:54.81 from 2013.  Only Sarah Sjostrom (1:55.04), Emma McKeon (1:55.57) and Federica Pellegrini (1:55.69) have been faster this year.  Ledecky will be looking to upset defending champion Missy Franklin tonight in the finale.

Franklin, meanwhile, turned in a much more reserved 1:57.83 to secure a lane in the finale this evening. She’s been faster this year with a 13th-ranked 1:56.96 from the Santa Clara stop of the Arena Grand Prix, and certainly should provide some competition for Ledecky tonight.  There is a legitimate chance that the two could take a run at Allison Schmitt’s American record of 1:53.61, and Schmitt’s U.S. Open and meet record of 1:54.40 from 2012 should fall.

Speaking of Schmitt, the three-time long course national champion in this event, missed the championship heat with an 11th-place time of 1:59.50.

Cavalier’s Leah Smith (1:58.35), Bulldogs’ Shannon Vreeland (1:58.57), NBAC’s Cierra Runge (1:58.63), Terrapins’ Chelsea Chenault (1:58.66), BlueFish’s Elizabeth Beisel (1:58.89) and First Colony’s Simone Manuel (1:59.05) all made the big final as well.  While most of the attention is on the distance queen Ledecky turning in some speed in the shorter distance events, her future Stanford teammate Manuel is starting to come up in distance even though she’s a sprint star.

Men’s 200 free

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Olympic gold medalist Matt McLean will be looking for a national title tonight after popping a sweltering 1:46.90 this morning.  That effort jumped him to 14th in the world rankings as he nearly beat his personal best of 1:46.78 from the 2012 Olympic Trials.

McLean’s NBAC teammate, Conor Dwyer, turned in a second-seeded 1:47.18 to tie Mitch D’Arrigo for 19th in the world rankings.  Dwyer was the top U.S. finisher in this event at the 2013 Worlds as he took silver, and will have to battle his training partner for the title tonight.

SwimMAC’s Ryan Lochte, who already eased his way onto the Pan Pacs team by way of the 100 free silver from last night, will look to defend his 200 free title tonight after qualifying in 1:47.41.  Reed Malone is definitely a wildcard in the finale after uncorking a fourth-seeded 1:47.78 this morning in the earlier heats.  That’s his first time under 1:50, much less putting up a time to compete for the national crown.  But, we’ve seen stranger things in swimming as you just need a lane to have a chance.

Other swimmers who also have a chance tonight are Longhorn’s Clay Youngquist (1:47.93), Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss (1:47.97), Club Wolverine’s Michael Klueh (1:48.44) and Stanford’s Drew Cosgarea (1:48.49).

South African Olympian Darian Townsend, who recently changed his citizenship to the U.S., had been battling Dwyer through 150 meters in the finale heat before fading badly in the final 50 meters to take 18th overall in 1:49.34.  That means one of his most likely shots of making a team via relay is now over.

Women’s 200 breast

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

SwimMAC’s Micah Lawrence, who took bronze in this event at the 2013 World Championships, had a bit of a statement swim this morning as she rocketed to a 2:23.71.  That vaulted her to seventh in the world rankings, just ahead of Mio Motegi’s 2:23.81 from Japanese Nationals.  With a 2:21 to her credit, Lawrence has a chance to do even more damage tonight in the finale.

Defending champion Breeja Larson of Aggie Swim Club, cruised her way into the second seed with a 2:25.60.  She’s been a bit faster with a 16th-ranked 2:25.18 from the Texas Senior Circuit last month, and should be able to must up some speed to challenge for the title tonight.

Alabama’s Kaylin Burchell finished third in 2:26.22, while Saint Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis placed fourth in 2:27.04.  SwimMAC’s Emma Reaney, who moved into the international swimming conscious this winter with an American record for Notre Dame in the 200-yard breaststroke, qualified fifth in 2:27.47.

Tennessee’s Molly Hannis (2:27.72), Louisville’s Andee Cottrell (2:28.78) and Auburn’s Annie Lazor (2:28.91) also made the championship heat.  NBAC’s Annie Zhue (2:29.24) and BlueFish’s Laura Sogar (2:29.36) lead a loaded B final.

Men’s 200 breast

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Tucson Ford’s Kevin Cordes rattled the world record in the event through 150 meters before shutting it down and settling for a U.S. Open and meet record in the event with a 2:07.86.  That swim, which moved the defending champion up to third in the world behind Ross Murdoch (2:07.30) and Michael Jamieson (2:07.79), wiped out the U.S. Open and meet mark of 2:08.01 set by Eric Shanteau in 2009.

Cordes also came close to Shanteau’s American mark of 2:07.42 also from 2009.  That’s Cordes’ first time under 2:08 as he continues to demonstrate his readiness to challenge the best in the world.

Bulldogs’ Nic Fink checked in with a 2:10.66 for second, grabbing 17th in the world rankings with the swim, while PASA’s BJ Johnson finished third in 2:11.01.

California’s Josh Prenot (2:11.23), Badger’s Cody Miller (2:11.28), Ohio State’s DJ MacDonald (2:11.68), PAWW’s Matt Elliott (2:11.73) and Nitro’s Will Licon (2:12.95) grabbed the other transfer spots into the championship finale in what should be a historic swim.

Women’s 200 back

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

With the cloudy skies clearing up just in time to annoy the backstrokers, the previous two long course national champions raced to the top of the preliminary heats.  BlueFish’s Elisabeth Beisel, who remained on fire after a scorching 200 free earlier in the day, blasted her way to a 2:09.65 for the top seed.  She’s been faster this year with an eighth-ranked 2:09.11 from the Santa Clara Grand Prix, and should have some more in the tank tonight.

Beisel is looking to reclaim her 2011 200 back title that Missy Franklin has owned for the past two years.  World-record holder Franklin, however, has other plans.  She clocked in with a 2:09.81 to earn the second seed tonight, just off her 13th-ranked season best of 2:09.57 from the Mel Zajac Canada Cup.  She’s looking to win the title for a fourth time, to go along with her winter 2011, and summer 2012 and 2013 wins.  Beisel had won the crown three times already with wins in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Cavalier’s Courtney Bartholomew crushed her heat by four seconds mid-way through qualifying with a 2:10.63 to get in position to make some noise tonight.  Tri-City’s Lisa Bratton clinched fourth in 2:11.83.

California showed its depth behind Franklin with Melanie Klaren (2:11.70) and Elizabeth Pelton (2:12.07) qualifying fifth and sixth into the championship heat.  SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker (2:12.23) and Dynamo’s Kylie Stewart (2:12.33) also earned the right to challenge for the national title.

Men’s 200 back

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

SwimMAC’s Tyler Clary kept on rolling this week as he powered his way to a 1:56.97 to lead prelims.  Clary, who won the 2011 winter long course title, moved into a tie with Andrey Shabasov for 10th in the world rankings this year and has a whole lot more left to give tonight when he will be part of one of the deeper heats in the world of swimming.

Two-time defending champion Ryan Lochte had a bit of a scare when he clocked a 1:59.02 to finish fourth in the final heat.  But, once the final standings scrolled on the scoreboard, he could take a deep breath as he qualified seventh overall.  Lochte is looking to add a fourth long course title to his resume, but will have some work to do this evening.

California’s Ryan Murphy, often called the future of backstroke in the U.S., might just have his chance to finally ascend to the top as he qualified second in 1:57.79, while BlueFish’s Connor Green charged to third in qualifying with a 1:58.27.

California’s Jacob Pebley (1:58.72), North Texas’ Jonathan Roberts (1:58.74), TOPS’ Carter Griffin (1:58.94) and Tennessee’s Sean Lehane (1:59.02) all cleared 2:00 to make the A final.

Women’s 50 fly

Photo Courtesy: Azaria Basile

Photo Courtesy: Azaria Basile

Western Kentucky’s Claire Donahue blitzed the field in the sprint fly event with a 26.09.  That performance shot her up to ninth in the world rankings as she looks to win the non-Olympic national title tonight.  Her time this afternoon undercut her previous best of 26.23 from last summer’s nationals, and put her in contention for one of the top swims in the world this year. Although, there’s not much likelihood anyone is going to touch the no-breather world-record of 24.43 set by Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden earlier this summer.

North Coast’s Kendyl Stewart squeezed into the top 20 in the world with an epic swim of her own as she turned in a 26.33 in the preliminary heats.  She has more speed in her with a 26.19 personal best from nationals a year ago, and she could definitely challenge for the title tonight.

Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell (26.45), Stanford’s Felicia Lee (26.59), Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin (26.72), Kentucky’s Tina Bechtel (26.80), Academy Bullets’ Mimi Schneider (26.82) and First Colony’s Madeline Locus (26.90) rounded out the championship heat.  There’s some bragging rights on the line in Kentucky with Donahue, Worrell and Bechtel all representing intra-state rivals.

Men’s 50 fly

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/

SwimMAC’s Tim Phillips has the only world top 20 time of the morning as he turned in a 23.57 in the sprint event.  That time moved him to 15th in the world rankings, just ahead of Konrad Czerniak’s 23.59 from the Canet stop of the Mare Nostrum.  He’s been a bit faster in his career with a 23.51 best from the 2011 World University Games, but could be looking at a barrier breaker tonight.

Phillips will face a tough championship field as Tucson Ford’s Matt Grevers (23.86), Stanford’s Connor Black (23.91) and Stanford’s Eugene Godsoe (23.96) all could make enough noise to disrupt Phillips’ charge to the title.  Godsoe is actually the defending champion with a 23.29 to win last summer.

NYAC’s Josh Schneider (23.98), Phoenix Swim Club’s Giles Smith (23.99) and Santo Condorelli (24.05) also clinched spots in the finale.

SwimMAC’s Matt Josa and Nashville’s Paul Davis, however, setup a swimoff for eighth in the event with matching 24.06s. Josa won the swimoff, 23.52 to 23.64.

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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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