2019 US Open Day 2 Finals: Melanie Margalis’ 2:08 200 IM; Katie Ledecky Fells Janet Evans’s 32-Year-Old Record

melanie-margalis-
Melanie Margalis swam a personal best with a 2:08.8 in the 200 IM. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2019 US Open

Day Two Finals

Katie Ledecky has added to the meet record assault at the 2019 US Open in Atlanta as she broke the oldest record on the books in the legendary Janet Evans’ 1987 400 free record that was the world record at the time.

The most impressive swim of the day, perhaps, came from Melanie Margalis in the 200 IM with a 2:08.84, which was faster than what she swam at the World Championships this summer where she placed fourth, just two tenths shy of a podium finish. Margalis has never medaled at the Worlds or Olympics, placing fourth this summer at Worlds and fourth in Rio. She pulled along Alex Walsh to a spot in the top ten world rankings in the 200 IM for the 2019 calendar year as the high school senior committed to Virginia was a 2:09.0, lowering her best time by two seconds.

Additional meet records came from Chase Kalisz in the 200 IM and Simone Manuel in the 50 free.

US Open Details

Women’s 400 Free

Meet Record: 4:05.45, Janet Evans, 1987

Katie Ledecky and Janet Evans have drawn a lot of comparisons over the years for their generationally unique talents in the distance freestyle. Ledecky was able to take down one of Evans’ last remaining records as she broke the US Open meet record in the 400 free with a 4:00.81 on Thursday night in Atlanta, completing wiping out Evans’ 4:05.45 from 1987 which was the world record at the time and lasted for a year until 1988 when Evans swam a 4:03.8 which stood for nearly 18 years.

Ledecky on the start to her meet: “Yeah, it’s been a good start. Just trying to learn from every race and try to be a little bit better than I was a couple weeks ago in Greensboro.”

On training for 2020: “After this it’s back to training and then we’ve got the holidays. We’ve got winter training, so after this I’ve got a good training block coming up and then we’ll get back into the TYR Pro Series meets in the new year.”

Australian Kiah Melverton finished in second place as she split a 29.9 on the last 50 (faster than anyone else in the field) to out-touch Worlds bronze medalist Leah Smith 4:07.38 – 4:08.06. That time for Melverton was faster than what she swam at Worlds when she was 11th at 4:09.5 as she will have to be in great shape for Australia’s Olympic Trials in competing for a spot alongside reigning World champion Ariarne Titmus and reigning World Junior champion Lani Pallister.

Paige Madden, the junior out of Virginia, placed fourth at 4:10.53, just out-touching Allison Schmitt (4:10.55), who was out in 2:02 with Melverton and Smith before falling off on the second half.

Results:

  1. 4:00.81, Katie Ledecky, USA, MR
  2. 4:07.38, Kiah Melverton, AUS
  3. 4:08.06, Leah Smith, USA
  4. 4:10.53, Paige Madden, USA
  5. 4:10.55, Allison Schmitt, USA
  6. 4:11.02, Kaersten Meitz, USA
  7. 4:11.42, Ashley Twichell, USA
  8. 4:15.30, Haley Anderson, USA

Men’s 400 Free

Meet Record: 3:45.63, Zane Grothe, 2016

Brazilian Guilherme da Costa swam another great race as he won the 400 free with a nice back half at 3:46.57, splitting the race 1:53-1:56. He won the 800 free last night with a 7:46 and claimed his second win of the meet. Florida sophomore Kieran Smith had a sneaky good swim with a 3:47.72, which is the second fastest time for an American this year.

Smith has really emerged as an Olympic spoiler in the 200 and 400 free, having since shied away from his IM days in high school when he swam at the 2017 World Juniors for the United States. Now in his sophomore season for the Gators, he is looking like a solid second option for the US in the 400 free behind Zane Grothe, who had a disappointing swim tonight in Atlanta in placing sixth at 3:52.41.

China native Zhang Ziyang, swimming out of Team Santa Monica with Jordan Wilimovsky, placed third at 3:48.21 as Wilimovsky was fifth at 3:50.63.

Brazilian native Fernando Scheffer was fourth at 3:49.47.

Results:

  1. 3:46.57, Guilherme da Costa, BRA
  2. 3:47.72, Kieran Smith, USA
  3. 3:48.21, Zhang Ziyang, CHN
  4. 3:49.47, Fernando Scheffer, BRA
  5. 3:50.63, Jordan Wilimovsky, USA
  6. 3:52.41, Zane Grothe, USA
  7. 3:53.73, Chris Wieser, USA
  8. 3:53.77, Marwan El Kamash, EGY

Women’s 200 IM

Meet Record: 2:10.71, Melanie Margalis, 2019

Melanie Margalis continues to be one of the most underrated swimmers in the United States as she swam a 2:08.84 to win the 200 IM on Thursday night at the 2019 US Open in Atlanta. Margalis swam quicker tonight than she did at the World Championships this summer when she was fourth place at 2:08.9, just two tenths away from a medal. Margalis was in a great race with high school senior Alex Walsh, who also had a phenomenal swim at 2:09.01 for second place.

Margalis on racing in Atlanta: “Yeah, it’s pretty cool to race in Georgia and be so close to home. Be somewhere you’re already comfortable and have a lot of my teammates in the stands.”

On her time in relation to her training schedule: “To me this kind of seemed, in my mind, like the start of the 2020 season, so I’d say it’s off to a good start.”

Margalis and Walsh both moved into the top ten in the world for 2019 as they sit sixth and seventh respectively. We said before the meet that someone will break out at this meet as a serious contender to make the Olympic team in June. Although Walsh has been a name to keep an eye on the last few years, she really proved she should not be messed with as she swam two seconds faster than her 2:11.2 from this summer’s Pan American Games.

Walsh will be a freshman at Virginia next fall.

Madisyn Cox was not able to swim in the final after her 2:11.0 this morning because she was disqualified.

Torri Huske, another high school swimmer, finished in third at 2:11.70 to put herself second all-time in the 15-16 age group.

Results:

  1. 2:08.84, Melanie Margalis, USA, MR (5th in world for 2019 calendar year)
  2. 2:09.01, Alex Walsh, USA (6th in world)
  3. 2:11.70, Torri Huske, USA
  4. 2:11.97, Emma Barksdale, USA
  5. 2:13.23, Kathrin Demler, GER
  6. 2:13.26, Ella Eastin, USA
  7. 2:13.98, Justina Kozan, USA
  8. 2:14.36, Monika Gonzalez Hermosillo, MEX

Men’s 200 IM

Meet Record: 1:58.38, Carson Foster, 2019

Chase Kalisz used a strong breaststroke leg to take the 200 IM final on Thursday night at the 2019 US Open in Atlanta with a 1:57.28 to lower the meet record that was set by high school senior Carson Foster. Foster wound up second after leading at the halfway point with a 1:57.59 to improve on his personal best time as well, putting him tenth in the world and third in the United States for the 2019 calendar year behind Kalisz and Michael Andrew.

Kalisz on his time and training: “It’s kind of hard to tell where I’m really at right now. Hitting pretty heavy training. My whole goal this weekend was just to come and I talked to Jack [Bauerle], my coach, that it didn’t really matter what time I went, it was more so just racing as hard as I could. I think there’s a few things – actually a lot of things I could do better there, but we’re in December right now, so it’s all about figuring it out.”

On competing in his home state: “I like Georgia. I’m never going to leave Georgia. This is the state that makes me super happy. I love Atlanta. It’s an hour and 15-minute drive from my house in Athens, so it’s always a pleasure to race here. Always good to see friends when I come into town.”

World record holder Ryan Lochte continued his comeback with an impressive 1:58.89 for third place considering his age (35) and his history with not swimming fast in-season as of late. He was just over a second off his time from Nationals this summer of 1:57.7. Lochte is chasing his fifth Olympic team this summer where he would become just the third US swimmer to do so after Dara Torres and Michael Phelps.

Sam Stewart was fourth at 1:59.47 ahead of Kieran Smith, who had an impressive double after a 3:47 in the 400.

Results:

  1. 1:57.28, Chase Kalisz, USA, MR
  2. 1:57.59, Carson Foster, USA (10th in world for 2019 calendar year)
  3. 1:58.89, Ryan Lochte, USA
  4. 1:59.47, Sam Stewart, USA
  5. 2:00.13, Kieran Smith, USA
  6. 2:00.18, Daniel Sos, HUN
  7. 2:00.57, Jacob Pebley, USA
  8. 2:00.67, Caio Pumputis, BRA

Women’s 50 Free

Meet Record: 24.65, Simone Manuel, 2019

Simone Manuel broke her own US Open meet record with a 24.43 in the 50 free as the Stanford grad won ahead of Tennessee senior Erika Brown (24.58), who was also under the old meet record. Manuel is the reigning World champion in the 50 free and has the potential to become the first Olympic champion in the 50 free for the United States since Amy Van Dyken won in 1996 to become the only American to win the event in its Olympic lifetime.

Manuel on her 50m freestyle performance: “It honestly was okay. It wasn’t my best swim. Pretty bummed about it, but just have to move on and get ready for the 200 free tomorrow.”

On competing alongside National Team teammates: “It’s nice. I mean it’s just another competition where I want to swim fast regardless of who’s here. It’s always nice to have national teamers here and see my friends, but at the end of the day, it’s just another meet and I’m trying to swim as fast as possible.”

On her training schedule following the meet: “After this, I’ll go back to Stanford, train some more and then go home for a little bit, go to the [Olympic Training Center] and have a good training trip there and then obviously go to the rest of the TYR Pro Swim Series. Training doesn’t really change too much from here. Just continuing to press forward and work hard.”

Manuel may well end up being joined in Tokyo next summer by Brown, who improved on her best time tonight that was a 24.7 from this summer’s US Nationals. Brown has had a lot of short course success but has finally translated that to the Olympic venue as she moved to 15th in the world for the 2019 calendar year and third in the United States.

High school junior Gretchen Walsh finished in third at 24.83 as she was just off her personal best of 24.7 from World Juniors.

Results:

  1. 24.43, Simone Manuel, USA, MR
  2. 24.58, Erika Brown, USA
  3. 24.83, Gretchen Walsh, USA
  4. 25.00, Kelsi Dahlia, USA
  5. 25.14, Catie DeLoof, USA
  6. 25.16, Siobhan Haughey, HKG
  7. 25.17, Margo Geer, USA
  8. 25.27, Casey Fanz, USA

Men’s 50 Free

Meet Record: 21.59, Bruno Fratus, 2019

Brazil native Bruno Fratus, training out of Coral Springs, Florida, could not quite match his 50 free from this morning when he broke the meet record at 21.5. Nonetheless, he still was good for the win at 21.72 ahead of US Worlds team members Zach Apple (21.81) and Michael Chadwick (21.97). Fratus was the silvr medalist in this event at the World Championships this summer and is chasing his first Olympic medal next summer at age 30. He is looking in as good of shape as ever heading into the Olympic year.

Apple and Chadwick have been more known as 100 freestylers the last few years but showed some good 50 speeds in getting under 22. Robert Howard finished in fourth at 22.21 ahead of Fratus’ training partner Renzo Tjon-a-Joe (22.28) out of Suriname.

Results:

  1. 21.72, Bruno Fratus, BRA
  2. 21.81, Zach Apple, USA
  3. 21.97, Michael Chadwick, USA
  4. 22.21, Robert Howard, USA
  5. 22.28, Renzo Tjon-A-Joe, SUR
  6. 22.40, Dean Farris, USA
  7. 22.46, Kyle DeCoursey, USA
  8. 22.60, Nyls Korstanje, NED