Chase Kalisz, Regan Smith Post Impressive 200 IM Wins at U.S. Open

Chase Kalisz -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Chase Kalisz, Regan Smith Post Impressive 200 IM Wins at U.S. Open

The highlight of Thursday night’s finals at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C., was Katie Ledecky’s narrow win over Summer McIntosh in the women’s 400 freestyle, but the night also saw a pair of Ledecky’s longtime teammate on U.S. national teams post quick times in the 200 IM. On the men’s side, Chase Kalisz picked up a dominant victory in one of his signature events while Regan Smith made a rare appearance in an IM event as she overtook teenager Leah Hayes in the 200 IM.

Kalisz, now training at Arizona State University and reunited with former coach Bob Bowman, raced close with teenager David Diehl for the first 100 meters, but he split 32.95 on breaststroke to crush the field. Kalisz cruised home to a time of 1:56.52, only three tenths off his top 2022 time of 1:56.22 from the U.S. International Team Trials in April. Kalisz placed fourth in the event at the World Championships, just two tenths behind bronze medalist Daiya Seto.

Texas A&M’s Baylor Nelson placed second in 1:59.14, while Diehl, representing Cumberland YMCA, placed third in 1:59.89. Diehl broke 2:00 for the first time in this final after he entered the meet having never posted a time under 2:03.

In the women’s event, Smith was competing in her first meet since relocating to Arizona State to train with Bowman, and she came through with a surprising performance in the 200 IM. She qualified first in 2:11.66, obliterating her previous best time of 2:13.18 from 2020. In the final, Smith raced against Hayes, who was a surprise qualifier for the U.S. World Championships team earlier this year and then a bronze medalist in the event at Worlds.

It was no surprise that Smith, the world-record holder in the 200 backstroke and the Olympic silver medalist in the 200 butterfly, jumped out to a huge advantage on the first two legs. She hit the halfway point in 59.25, just off world-record pace, while Hayes was two seconds behind, but the race flipped on breaststroke, Smith’s weak stroke. Hayes split 37.72 while Smith went 41.22, and the teenager was a second ahead with 50 meters to go. But then, Smith blasted a 29.93 split coming home to move back ahead and take the win, 2:10.40 to 2:10.67. Florida’s Zoe Dixon placed third in 2:14.37.

Smith’s time, which marked a drop of almost three seconds from the start of the day, made her the third-fastest American this year behind world champion Alex Walsh and Hayes, while Hayes was less than two seconds off her top time of 2:08.91 from her bronze-medal-winning swim at Worlds.

NC State’s David Curtiss pulled off a big win against Florida’s Josh Liendo in the men’s 50 freestyle, with Curtiss touching in 21.92 to Liendo’s 21.99. Liendo, who represents Canada internationally, is competing in the United States this fall for the first time after he won two individual medals at the World Championships (bronze in the 100 free and 100 fly) before taking gold in the 100 fly and bronze in the 50 free at the Commonwealth Games. Brazil’s Victor Alcara took third in 22.11, while Ali Khalafalla and Matt King tied for fourth in 22.13.

In the women’s 50 free, Louisville’s Gabi Albiero won by more than three tenths with a time of 25.06. Eagle Aquatics’ Erika Pelaez (25.29) and Nation’s Capital’s Camille Spink (25.36) rounded out the top three. Brazil’s Guilherme Costa won the men’s 400 free in 3:48.13, while Florida’s Alfonso Mestre edged out teammate Jake Mitchell for second, 3:49.63 to 3:49.65, with Zane Grothe taking fourth (3:50.74).

Ireland’s team of Danielle HillMona McSharryMolly Mayne and Victoria Catterson took first in the women’s 400 medley relay in 4:07.69, while Auburn’s Aidan StoffleReid Mikuta, Sohib Khaled and Kalle Makinen won the men’s 400 medley relay in 3:40.72.


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