Americas Recap: Three Canadians Pick up Wins at TYR Pro Swim Series in Knoxville

Penny Oleksiak Photo Courtesy: Ian MacNicol

Americas Recap

Americans like Regan Smith and Allison Schmitt might have dominated the headlines at last weekend’s TYR Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville, Tennessee. But there were plenty of other headlines generated from a sizeable international contingent at the event.

Here’s a look at the highlights from elsewhere in the Americas at the event:

A trio of Canadian winners

With Sydney Pickrem away in China ending Katinka Hosszu’s seven-year unbroken stint of victories over 200m medley, it was a good week for Canadians in the fray. In Knoxville, there were a trio of Maple winners:

Penny Oleksiak whittled her busy program to three freestyle events, which worked to her advantage by winning the 100 free in 53.41 seconds, within 0.71 seconds of her national record from Rio in 2016. She was the fastest qualifier in the 200 free before sliding to fifth in the final, albeit in a slightly quicker time.

Mack Darragh won the men’s 200 fly as one of only two swimmers to break two minutes, his time a 1:59.29. Darragh was eighth in the 200 IM (and event with five Canadians in the B final) and 14th in the 100 fly.

Javier Acevedo cracked two minutes to win the 200 back in 1:59.90, the Georgia redshirt looking comfortable in an SEC pool. He was second in the 100 back in 55.22.


Jarod Arroyo Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

A record for Arroyo

Jarrod Arroyo bested his Puerto Rican record in the 400 IM, trimming the time to 4:16.67 to take second place.

The Arizona State signee, who is deferring his enrollment for a year, had owned the mark at 4:18.94. He trimmed it to 4:17.86 in prelims before slipping behind Kieran Smith by .31 seconds in the final.

Arroyo was also fourth in the 200 IM, sixth in the 200 fly and 11th in the 200 breast.

Lots of balance for the Canadians

One surprise on the women’s side, and a battle to watch as the spring rolls on, is the backstroke contest between Taylor Ruck and Jade Hannah. Hannah, still just 17, got the better of the matchup in the 100 back in 1:00.54, edging Ruck by .06 seconds. Hannah was also quicker in prelims of the 200 back to finish seventh to Ruck’s 10th, though Ruck turned in the faster swim in finals (2:10.34 to 2:11.92). With two-time reigning world champ Kylie Masse the assumed Canadian leader in the 100 back, the pecking order between Ruck and Hannah has increased emphasis.

Ruck went from the top seed in the 200 free to 25th place but rallied for the strong backstroke swims before scratching the 100 free. Kayla Sanchez jumped in front of her in the 200 free by finishing ninth. Sanchez also laid down the seventh-fastest time in the 100 back prelims and finished fourth in the 100 free.

Sprinter Yuri Kisil was third in the men’s 100 free in 49.48 and seventh in the 100 free. Josh Binnema stepped up from the 11th seed to third in the 100 fly. He was also 11th in the 200 back. Tristan Cote took fourth in the 400 IM and 10th in the 200 IM.

Rebecca Smith finished sixth in the 100 fly, which Oleksiak scratched out of, plus 15th in the 100 free and 11th in the 200 free. Emma O’Croinin finished 11th in the 400 free, 10th in the 800 and 19th in the 200 amid a loaded program for the 16-year-old. Another distance vet, Mackenzie Padington, was 20th in the 100 free, 17th in the 400 and 18th in the 800. Alyson Ackman added top-20 finishes in the four distance free races.

Canadian youth movements

Two young swimmers to keep an eye on for Canada, which since the explosion at the World Junior Championships in 2017 seems to be producing an inordinate number of quality swimmers.

On the women’s side, 13-year-old Summer McIntosh had a breakout meet. She trimmed 2.1 seconds in her 400 IM time to finish seventh in in 4:50.43. The Etobicoke simmer was also 14th in the 200 fly and 17th in the 200 IM. (Her club teammate Ella Jansen, at the seasoned age of 14, was 12th in the 400 IM, one of three top-30 finishes.)

For the men, Stanford Li found his way into three finals swims and the fastest heat of the 1500 free, where the 17-year-old finished sixth for his best placement of the weekend, dropping 17.76 seconds off his seed time. He trimmed 12 seconds in the 800 free to take 10th and finished 22nd in the 200 free, 17th in the 400 IM and 11th in the 400 free.


Jade Hannah. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol

An international flavor to breaststroke

Carlos Claverie, a Louisville grad who represented Venezuela at the Rio Games, was in both breaststroke A finals. His time of 2:12.77 garnered him fourth in the 200 thanks to a 3.5-second time drop from prelims, and he was sixth in the 100 breast in 1:01.71. In the shorter event, Panamanian Edgar Crespo won the B final in ninth.

On the women’s side, Bahamas international and Indiana grad Laura Morley finished 11th over both distances.

Two South Americans going the distance

The fastest heat of the women’s 1500 free featured two from South America in the top four spots. Kristel Kobrich, the four-time Olympian from Chile, took second place, her time 16 seconds back of winner Erica Sullivan. Kobrich claimed fifth in the 800 free.

Brazilian Viviane Jungblut was fourth in the 1500 free. She also finished 14th in the 400 free and 15th in the 800 free.

Odds and Ends

In addition to six in the top 16 in the men’s 200 IM, Tristan Cote was fourth in the mens’ 400 IM with Josh Zakala seventh. … Canada flexed some depth in breaststroke with Kierra Smith winning the B final of the women’s 100 and taking sixth in the 200. Eighth in the 200 breast was Tennessee senior Tess Cieplucha, who also finished sixth in the 200 IM. … Mabel Zavaros, on an Olympic redshirt from Florida, was sixth in the women’s 200 fly and ninth in the 1,500 free. … Canadian Danielle Hanus won the B final of the 200 IM, with a time that would’ve been fifth in the A final. It was her third B final of the weekend. … Richie Stokes turned in a great swim in the men’s 200 back, the native of Toronto capturing fifth. James Dergousoff was fifth in the 200 breast, recovering from a DQ in the 100. … Jeremy Bagshaw turned in a strong meet, the 27-year-old distance swimmer taking fourth in the 800 free, sixth in the 400 free and 12th in the 200 free. … Salvadoran distance star Marcelo Acosta had an impressive showing, finishing fourth in the men’s 1500 free, fourth in the 400 free and fifth in the 800.