Katie Ledecky, Park Tae Hwan Impressive During Day 2 Prelims in Atlanta

katie ledecky
Photo Courtesy: Joe Johnson

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The first full day of prelims at the arena Pro Swim Series stop in Atlanta featured impressive performances from Katie Ledecky and Park Tae Hwan, each of whom earned spots in two championship finals.

Ledecky posted the top time in the women’s 400 free prelims, a time faster than anybody else has recorded this season, while also making it back in the 100 free, while Park finished first in the men’s equivalent of both events.

Read below for full event-by-event coverage.

Full results

Women’s 100 Fly

Magdeburg’s Aliena Schmidtke finished atop the final heat of the event, touching out U.S. Olympian Kelsi Worrell and NCAA runner-up Hellen Moffitt for the top overall seed. Schmidtke finished in 58.99, just five hundredths ahead of Cardinal’s Worrell (59.04), with North Carolina’s Moffitt just behind in 59.13.

HPC Ontario’s Rebecca Smith won the penultimate heat with a time of 59.14, just one hundredth behind Moffitt and good for the fourth seed overall. Nation’s Capital’s Cassidy Bayer was fifth in 59.39, ahead of Louisville’s Mallory Comerford (59.56), Athens Bulldog’s Hali Flickinger (59.60) and Club Wolverine’s Vanessa Krause (59.83).

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Men’s 100 Fly

Auburn’s Santiago Grassi captured the top seed in an impressive field in the men’s 100 fly. He put up a time of 52.45, a half-second ahead of top seed and Olympic finalist Tom Shields, to claim lane four for the evening swim.

Shields, representing Cal Aquatics, qualified second in 52.94, just edging out SwimMAC’s Tim Phillips (53.00) in the final heat.

Texas’ Jack Conger finished fourth in 53.03, and Club Seminole’s Pavel Sankovich was fifth in 53.24. Also making it into the top heat were Athens Bulldog’s Gunnar Bentz (53.29), Cal’s Matthew Josa (53.34) and City of Plano’s Seth Stubblefield (53.53).

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Women’s 200 Breast

Liquid Lightning’s Kierra Smith cruised to the top time in the morning in the longest breaststroke event on the program, coming in at 2:27.58 to finish almost a full second ahead of Indiana’s Lilly King (2:28.44). The two will square off again in the final after King held off Smith to win the NCAA title in the event.

St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis took third in 2:28.56, just ahead of teenagers Maggie Aroesty and Miranda Tucker. Aroesty, currently swimming for Long Island Aquatic Club and soon to be a USC Trojan, was fourth in 2:28.76, and Tucker, representing Club Wolverine and a rising sophomore at Michigan, qualified fifth in 2:28.88.

SwimMAC’s Katie Meili was sixth in 2:28.91, ahead of Texas A&M’s Esther Gonzalez Medina (2:29.33) and Louisville’s Andrea Cottrell (2:31.21).

Texas A&M’s Bethany Galat, the third-place finisher in the event at Olympic Trials last year, was ninth in 2:32.14.

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Men’s 200 Breast

North Baltimore’s Chase Kalisz edged out Badger’s Cody Miller for the win in the first of the circle-seeded heats, and those two times held up as the top overall seeds for the final. Kalisz finished in 2:13.60, while Miller checked in at 2:13.87.

Louisville’s Carlos Claverie qualified third in 2:14.15 as he touched out Athens Bulldog’s Nic Fink (2:14.17) in their heat. Germany’s Christian Von Lehm took fifth in 2:14.83.

Also making the A-final were Texas A&M’s Mauro Castillo Luna (2:15.08), Longhorn’s Andrew Wilson (2:15.21) and Miguel De Lara Ojeda (2:15.28). Kevin Cordes, the top seed in the event, did not compete.

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Women’s 100 Free

Stanford’s Simone Manuel continued her recent tear with by far the fastest time in the women’s 100 free prelims, touching in 53.75. That’s just short of the 53.66 she swam to win the event at the last stop of the arena Pro Swim Series in Mesa, Ariz., which ranks her ninth in the world. Manuel will look to move into the 53-low range in the finals.

SwimAtlanta’s Amanda Weir tied with HPC Ontario’s Sandrine Mainville for second, with each recording times of 54.63, and Club Wolverine’s Siobhan Haughey took fourth in 54.77.

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford touched out Stanford’s Katie Ledecky to win their heat, 54.95 to 54.97, and Andi Murez (55.16) and Athens Bulldog’s Olivia Smoliga (55.20) also got into the final.

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Men’s 100 Free

South Korea’s Park Tae Hwan threw down a monster first race of the meet as he led the way into the men’s 100 free final. His time of 48.62 topped the field by more than a half-second and moved him into the top-20 in the world this year.

Cardinal’s Joao De Lucca took second in 49.24, just ahead of Indiana’s Blake Pieroni (49.29). Fourth went to Mohamed Samy (49.94), and Missouri’s Michael Chadwick rounded out the sub-50 efforts with his 49.98.

Cal’s Jacob Pebley (50.10), Dynamo’s Matias Koski (50.27) and Daniel Ramirez (50.38) also got into the A-final.

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Women’s 400 Free

As per usual when Katie Ledecky is in the water for a distance event, no one could stay close to her. Ledecky finished in a time of 4:02.41. That’s off the 4:01.01 she swam last month in Mesa that ranks No. 1 in the world this year, but the time is still faster than anyone else has recorded thus far in 2017.

Finishing more than eight seconds back in second place was Athens Bulldog’s Hali Flickinger, who touched in 4:10.66, while Texas’ Joanna Evans touched out Wisconsin’s Cierra Runge in their heat, 4:11.26 to 4:11.37, to claim third.

Club Wolverine’s Sierra Schmidt qualified fifth in 4:11.95, and Stanford’s Katie Drabot came in next at 4:12.11.York YMCA’s Courtney Harnish (4:12.21) and Club Wolverine’s Rose Bi (4:12.46) claimed the outside lanes for the final.

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Men’s 400 Free

Park Tae Hwan finished as the top seed for the second time in the morning as he recorded a time of 3:51.62 in the 400 free. That put him four tenths ahead of Club Wolverine’s Felix Auboeck, who took second in 3:52.03, while NCAA champion Clark Smith came in third at 3:53.44.

Tidewater’s Patrick Callan was fourth in 3:53.49, and Germany’s Paul Zellmann finished ahead of Dynamo’s Jay Litherland (3:54.54), Louisville’s Marcelo Acosta (3:54.99) and Badger’s Zane Grothe (3:55.00) to round out the A-final.

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