2019 US Open Day Two Prelims: Ledecky Rattles Janet Evans 1987 Meet Record in 400 Free Prelims; Foster Breaks Lochte Meet Record in 200 IM

There have been comparisons between Katie Ledecky and Janet Evans and she nearly broke her 1987 meet record in the 400 free at the US Open in Atlanta. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

2019 US Open Atlanta

Day Two Prelims

The second day of the 2019 US Open in Atlanta is in full force with the heats of the 400 free, 200 IM and 50 free on the heat sheets. Meet records fell from Melanie Margalis and Carson Foster in the 200 IM, and Simone Manuel and Bruno Fratus in the 50 free.

Katie Ledecky nearly took down a meet record in the 400 free that has stood for 32 years.

2019 US Open Details:

Women’s 400 Free

Meet Record: 4:05.45, Janet Evans, 1987

Reigning Olympic champion Katie Ledecky nearly took down the 1987 meet record of 4:05.45 set by Janet Evans en route to her three-gold medal performance at the 1988 Olympic Games which launched her into swimming immortality. Evans broke the world record at the 1987 US Open and it has stood all these years and will most likely go down tonight since Ledecky did not take a hard stroke in the heats, touching first at 4:05.50.

Ledecky is ahead of her side kick Leah Smith, who always seems to draw lane 5 next to Ledecky’s lane 4 each time they swim. Smith is second at 4:08.77 ahead of World University Games gold medalist Kaersten Meitz at 4:10.67.

Australian Kiah Melverton is seeded fourth at 4:10.89 while 2012 Olympic silver medalist Allison Schmitt is still going strong at 4:11.12.

NCAA runner-up Paige Madden is sixth at 4:11.66 ahead of open water Olympians Haley Anderson (4:12.06) and Ashely Twichell (4:12.09).

Notable A-Final misses came from Regan Smith (4:13.38, 12th) and Ally McHugh (4:14.27, 13th).


  1. 4:05.50, Katie Ledecky, USA
  2. 4:08.77, Leah Smith, USA
  3. 4:10.67, Kaersten Meitz, USA
  4. 4:10.89, Kiah Melverton, AUS
  5. 4:11.12, Allison Schmitt, USA
  6. 4:11.66, Paige Madden, USA
  7. 4:12.06, Haley Anderson, USA
  8. 4:12.09, Ashley Twichell, USA

Men’s 400 Free

Meet Record: 3:45.63, Zane Grothe, 2016

Team Santa Monica’s Ziyang Zhang out of China rose to the top seed in the men’s 400 free at 3:48.76 as he was the only one among the top eight to swim quicker than his seed time of 3:51. Zhang, just 18, also had a good swim in the 800 out of the third heat to move into the top 8 as he broke 8:00 for the first time. Zhang is seeded ahead of Worlds finalist Zane Grothe (3:49.10), who cruised to the second seed, and last night’s 800 champ Guilherme da Costa (3:50.85).

The men’s 400 free final has an international feel to it with four non-Americans advancing to the final in Zhang, da Costa, Fernando Scheffer (3:51.36) and Marwan El Kamash (3:52.79). Scheffer and da Costa are in Atlanta from Brazil while Kamash is Egyptian but training in Indiana.

The men’s 400 free field in the United States has been fairly meek since the retirement of Connor Jaeger in 2016 as Grothe has taken the reigns as the top distance swimmer but has not medaled internationally in the last three years. The second spot in particular is wide open as Florida sophomore Kieran Smith has emerged as a freestyle talent this year. He is seeded fifth for the final at 3:51.44.

Chris Wieser (3:51.86) and Jordan Wilimovsky (3:51.99) also advanced to the final as those two are primarily longer distance swimmers, in particular Wilimovsky who has already qualified for the Olympic Games in the 10K open water.

Notable names that missed the A-Final were Bobby Finke (3:53.79, 12th), Luca Urlando (3:53.88, 14th) and Townley Haas (3:54.86, 20th).


  1. 3:48.76, Ziyang Zhang, CHN
  2. 3:49.10, Zane Grothe, USA
  3. 3:50.85, Guilherme da Costa, BRA
  4. 3:51.36, Fernando Scheffer, BRA
  5. 3:51.44, Kieran Smith, USA
  6. 3:51.86, Chris Wieser, USA
  7. 3:51.99, Jordan Wilimovsky, USA
  8. 3:52.79, Marwan El Kamash, EGY

Women’s 200 IM

Meet Record: 2:11.06, Justine Mueller, 2013

Ledecky couldn’t break the US Open meet record in the 400 but Melanie Margalis was able to get under the meet record in the 200 IM with a 2:10.71 as she lowered the meet record of 2:11.06 from 2013 set by former Michigan standout Justine Mueller. Margalis was going to have a duel with Madisyn Cox, who was a 2:11.0 in the heats, also under the meet record, but was disqualified.

That leaves a noticeable hole in tonight’s final as Margalis and Cox were expected to push each other to go sub-2:10. Margalis will have to do that alone now. However, she should have a good race with high schoolers Alex Walsh (2:11.97) and Torri Huske (2:13.50) surrounding her.

SCY American record holder Ella Eastin (2:13.64) also advanced to the final in sixth place as South Carolina grad Emma Barksdale (2:12.50) had a solid swim for third.

There were a few big names that missed the A-Final with Bethany Galat (2:14.70, 10th), Leah Smith (2:15.23, 15th) and Kate Douglass (2:15.62, 18th)


  1. 2:10.71, Melanie Margalis, USA, MR
  2. 2:11.97, Alex Walsh, USA
  3. 2:12.50, Emma Barksdale, USA
  4. 2:13.50, Torri Huske, USA
  5. 2:13.62, Kathrin Demler, GER
  6. 2:13.64, Ella Eastin, USA
  7. 2:13.77, Justina Kozan, USA
  8. 2:14.16, Monika Gonzalez-Hermosillo, MEX

Men’s 200 IM

Meet Record: 1:59.24, Ryan Lochte, 2017

18-year-old Carson Foster put the rest of the nation on notice with a solid heats swim of 1:58.38 in the men’s 200 IM on Thursday morning at the 2019 US Open in Atlanta. That was a new meet record for Foster as he took down Ryan Lochte’s 1:59.24 from 2017. Foster actually swam a new personal best with that 1:58.3 as he was a 1:58.4 at World Juniors in winning the gold medal there. He finished ahead of reigning Worlds bronze medalist Chase Kalisz (1:59.35), who many believe is a lock to make both the 200 and 400 IM at next year’s Olympic Trials. Foster is looking more and more dangerous as we inch closer to Omaha as he looks to be the first male high schooler to make the US Olympic team since 2000.

Kalisz should have more in the tank tonight as this stacked A-Final should be much quicker tonight. Sam Stewart broke 2:00 for third at 1:59.49.

Swimming in his home Georgia Tech pool, Caio Pumputis put up the fourth seed at 2:00.09 ahead of world record holder Ryan Lochte (2:00.35) and 19-year-old Kieran Smith (2:00.79).

Jacob Pebley put up a 2:00.14 in the later flighted heats to bump out John Shebat.

There were a couple big names that missed the A-Final in John Shebat (2:01.28, 9th), Will Licon (2:01.36, 10th), Caeleb Dressel (2:02.03, 14th) and Jay Litherland (2:02.23, 16th)


  1. 1:58.38, Carson Foster, USA, MR
  2. 1:59.35, Chase Kalisz, USA
  3. 1:59.49, Sam Stewart, USA
  4. 2:00.09, Caio Pumputis, BRA
  5. 2:00.14, Jacob Pebley, USA (swam in flighted heats)
  6. 2:00.35, Ryan Lochte, USA
  7. 2:00.79, Kieran Smith, USA
  8. 2:01.00, Daniel Sos, HUN

Women’s 50 Free

Meet Record: 24.90, Jessica Hardy, 2009

Simone Manuel made it look easy in the 50 free heats as she swam a 24.65 to lead just one other swimmer under 25. That was Erika Brown, who swam a 24.99 just two weeks after she swam a 21.19 in SCY at the Tennessee Invite.

Manuel was under the US Open meet record that was a 24.90 set by Jessica Hardy in 2009.

Alabama pro Margo Geer is third at 25.03 ahead of high school junior Gretchen Walsh (25.18), who is the top uncommitted swimmer currently.

There were some notable A-Final misses with Farida Osman (25.40, 10th), Olivia Smoliga (25.52, 12th), Madison Kennedy (25.62, 17th) and Mallory Comerford (25.80, 23rd).


  1. 24.65, Simone Manuel, USA, MR
  2. 24.99, Erika Brown, USA
  3. 25.03, Margo Geer, USA
  4. 25.18, Gretchen Walsh, USA
  5. 25.25, Catie DeLoof, USA
  6. 25.27, Siobhan Haughey, HKG
  7. 25.29, Casey Fanz, USA
  8. 25.30, Kelsi Dahlia, USA

Men’s 50 Free

Meet Record: 21.70, Brad Tandy, 2017

World Championships silver medalist Bruno Fratus put up the top heat time in the 50 free at the 2019 US Open as he swam a 21.59 for another sub-22 performance. That was a new meet record for the Brazilian who trains in south Florida as he lowered Brad Tandy’s 2017 mark of 21.70. The 30-year-old Fratus has shown no signs of aging as he continues to be one of the top sprinters in the world. Taking advantage of the absence of Caeleb Dressel, who elected to swim the 200 IM and placed 13th at 2:02.03, Fratus was the only swimmer under 22 as Zach Apple placed second in the heats at 22.22.

The 50 free field was bunched up behind Fratus with Renzo Tjon-A-Joe (22.24) ahead of World University Games gold medalists Robert Howard (22.27) and Dean Farris (22.32).

There were some notable A-Final misses from former meet record holder Brad Tandy (22.50, 11th), Minnesota grad Bowe Becker (22.73, 15th) and Olympian Ryan Held (22.88, 23rd)


  1. 21.59, Bruno Fratus, BRA, MR
  2. 22.22, Zach Apple, USA
  3. 22.24, Renzo Tjon-A-Joe, SUR
  4. 22.27, Robert Howard, USA
  5. 22.32, Dean Farris, USA
  6. 22.33, Kyle DeCoursey, USA
  7. 22.38, Nyls Korstanje, NED
  8. 22.43, Michael Chadwick, USA