Carson Foster Swims 4:08.46 400 IM at Austin Sectionals, Fastest Time in the World

Carson Foster -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Carson Foster Swims 4:08.46 400 IM at Austin Sectionals, Fastest Time in the World

The eyes of the swimming world are focused squarely on Tokyo right now with the Olympics swimming competition underway. Nineteen-year-old American Carson Foster will not be in Tokyo after finishing third in the event at U.S. Olympic Trials behind Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland, but Foster swam a 400 IM Friday evening that reminded the world that even after missing the Tokyo team, he will be battling for international medals in that event in short order.

Foster swam a time of 4:08.46, lopping two seconds off his previous lifetime best in the event. Foster had previously recorded a 4:10.50 in prelims at Olympic Trials before swimming a 4:10.86 in finals, a half-second behind the fast-finishing Litherland. Foster’s time topped world champion Daiya Seto’s mark of 4:09.02 that was the fastest in the world for 2021 and made the Cincinnati native the ninth-fastest performer in history, along with the fifth-quickest American behind Michael PhelpsRyan Lochte, Kalisz and Tyler Clary.

Previously at the meet, Danny Krueger led a very impressive heat of men’s 100 freestylers by winning the event in 48.46. Krueger had previously been as fast as 48.55, but he failed to advance out of prelims at Olympic Trials as he tied for 17th in a disappointing 49.24. The 48.46 would have tied for sixth at Trials with Ryan Held, and while sixth place usually qualifies a swimmer for an Olympic team as a relay alternate, Held was left off because the U.S. could only take 12 relay-only swimmers to Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Maxime Rooney finished second in the 100 free at 49.04 after swimming a 48.35 in prelims. Rooney swam a 47.61 in the 100 free in 2019 (which only one swimmer surpassed at Olympic Trials), but he also missed the final in Omaha after placing 11th in semifinals in 48.86. Brett Pinfold, who did qualify for the 100 free final at Trials, took third in 49.15, and Pinfold also won the men’s 200 free on Friday in 1:50.37.

During Friday’s finals, Foster’s older brother Jake put together a 2:10.41 in the 200 breaststroke. Jake finished sixth in the event at Olympic Trials last month, and he swam a top time of 2:10.13 in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Texas A&M’s Ethan Gogulski swam a 1:58.90 in the 200 backstroke to annihilate his previous lifetime best by almost three seconds. Gogulski was not even present at Wave II Olympic Trials. He swam at the Wave I meet and finished fourth in the 100 back (and 21st in the 200 back), but that time would have placed 10th in the 200 back at the Wave II Trials.

Rising Texas junior Kelly Pash has earned two wins so far at the meet, posting a 2:00.36 in the women’s 200 free and a 55.84 in the 100 free, while 400 IM Olympic Trials finalist and fellow Texas Longhorn Evie Pfeifer won that event in 4:44.98 after swimming a 4:43.33 in prelims. A third Longhorn swimmer, Emma Sticklen, won the 200 fly in 2:10.03 to lob 2.5 seconds off her best time. Sticklen was another Wave I swimmer, but she advanced to Wave II by finishing second in the 200 fly at Wave I, and she ended up placing 22nd in the 200 fly and tying for 45th in the 100 fly at Wave II. But this 2:10 would have qualified for semifinals at the meet and placed 10th overall.

Additional winners on the women’s side through two days included Kathryn Power in the 200 back (2:16.30), Charlotte Longbottom in the 100 breast (1:09.98) and Karina Kanary in the 200 breast (2:34.06). The men’s field saw Braden Vines top the 100 breast (1:02.28) and Cooper Lucas take the 200 fly (1:59.74).

After five Sectionals meets were conducted last weekend, this Austin meet is the lone meet on USA Swimming’s calendar for this week.

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