U.S. Nationals: Austin Katz’s Strong Finish Leads to Crown in 200 Backstroke

Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

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Men’s 200 Back (Austin Katz)

A World University Games gold medal in his pocket and now a national title in his possession, Austin Katz is heading into the Olympic year on a high note. The University of Texas standout came up with a sterling finish to prevail in a head-to-head duel with Shaine Casas in an old school Lone Star Showdown. Casas will be a sophomore at Texas A&M. Katz touched the wall in 1:55.72, his finishing lap of 29.44 enough to push him ahead of Casas, who registered a time of 1:55.79 for the silver medal.

Katz slipped slightly on the start but still rebounded for the win.

Katz was faster winning the World University Games with a 1:55.57. He sits fifth in the world for 2019 while Casas is now ranked sixth. His time would have won the bronze medal at World Championships.

With the United States Olympic Trials less than a year away, Katz has established himself as a firm contender for a spot on the Team USA roster. Although Ryan Murphy, a three-time gold medalist at the 2016 Games in Rio, is the favorite to prevail at Trials, Katz and Jacob Pebley look like the leading challengers.

Coming in third and claiming the bronze was Clark Beach with a time of 1:57.14. In a close race for fourth, Bryce Mefford went a time of 1:57.39 to out-touch Zachary Poti (1:57.40) by .01. In sixth was Carson Foster (1:58.26), in seventh was Nicolas Albiero (1:59.21), and in eighth was Wyatt Davis (1:59.78).

2019 World Rankings:

  1. 1:53.40, Evgeny Rylov, RUS
  2. 1:54.12, Ryan Murphy, USA
  3. 1:55.03, Mitch Larkin, AUS
  4. 1:55.24, Xu Jiayu, CHN
  5. 1:55.57, Austin Katz, USA
  6. 1:55.79, Shaine Casas, USA
  7. 1:55.79, Ryosuke Irie, JPN
  8. 1:55.85, Luke Greenbank, GBR
  9. 1:56.06, Keita Sunama, JPN
  10. 1:56.07, Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS

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