Hali Flickinger Kick Starts First Morning of 2018 Phillips 66 USA Swimming Nationals

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Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

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The first prelims session of the 2018 Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships got off to a hot start as meet records and NAG rankings got shaken up on Wednesday morning in Irvine, California. Hali Flickinger broke the meet record in the 200 fly from all the way back in 1981. Chase Kalisz and Caeleb Dressel only managed seventh place in the prelims with their swims this morning, and Simone Manuel is in the top spot to win her first National title in the 100 free in her career since the 2015 Winter Nationals.

Women’s 200 Fly

It didn’t take long for the 2018 Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships to see the records fall in Irvine. In the women’s 200 fly heats, Hali Flickinger blasted a 2:05.87 to smash the meet record of Mary T. Meagher from all the way back to 1981. It was easily the oldest Nationals meet record on the books.

2018 World Rankings

  1. Alys Thomas, GBR, 2:05.45
  2. Hali Flickinger, USA, 2:05.87
  3. Laura Taylor, AUS, 2:06.80
  4. Mireia Belmonte, ESP, 2:07.09
  5. Franziska Hentke, GER, 2:07.21
  6. Katie Drabot, USA, 2:07.30

All-Time Rankings

4. Mary Descenza, USA, 2;04.14 (2009)
16. Kathleen Hersey, USA, 2:05.78 (2012)
17. Susie O’Neill, AUS, 2:05.81 (2000)
18. Hali Flickinger, USA, 2:05.87 (2018)
19. Misty Hyman, USA, 2:05.88 (2000)
20. Cammile Adams, USA, 2:05.90 (2016)

Flickinger moved to second in the world rankings for 2018 behind Great Britain’s Alys Thomas (2:05.45) and is now the third fastest American all-time in the event.

Flickinger now sits behind Mary Descenza (2:04.14) and Kathleen Hersey (2:05.78) in the all-time rankings for the United States.

Flickinger also moved to 18th all-time in the world rankings behind Susie O’Neill (2:05.81) of Australia and just ahead of American Misty Hyman (2:05.88).

Katie Drabot of Stanford posted the second fastest time of the morning with a 2:07.30 as she moved to sixth in the world rankings for 2018.

Regan Smith (2:08.87), Dakota Luther (2:09.25), Sarah Gibson (2:09.54), Olivia Carter (2:09.80) and Asia Seidt (2:09.90) qualified for the A-Final tonight.

There was a tie for eighth place between Lillie Nordmann (2:10.30) and Taylor Pike (2:10.30) as the two will swim off for the last spot.

Pike won the swim-off with a 2:10.07 and will have lane eight for tonight’s A-Final.

Notable A-final misses were Katie McLaughlin in 10th (2:10.53) and Ella Eastin in 12th (2:10.81).

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Men’s 200 Fly

Arizona’s Justin Wright swam his personal best time in the 200 fly on Wednesday morning to get his Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships off to a great start. Wright swam a 1:55.49 to lead the field going into tonight. Wright is ahead of four other swimmers who swam 1:55’s in the heats as Jack Conger (1:55.75), Jack LeVant (1:55.89), Tom Shields (1:55.94) and Zach Harting (1:55.95) all were 1:55’s this morning.

LeVant moved up to third all-time in the 17-18 NAG rankings with his swim behind Michael Phelps (1:53.93) and Bobby Bollier (1:55.67).

Gianluca Urlando (1:56.01), Chase Kalisz (1:56.18) and Trent Julian (1:56.27) will also swim in tonight’s A-Final.

Some notable A-Final misses came from Gunnar Bentz (1:56.59) in 10th and Andrew Seliskar (1:56.73) in 11th, as well as 2017 World Championship team member Pace Clark (1:57.99) in 16th.

16-year-old Urlando moved to second all-time in the 15-16 NAG rankings behind Phelps (1:54.58).

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Women’s 100 Free

Stanford’s Simone Manuel, just a day removed from announcing her spot on Team TYR, swam to the top time in the heats of the 100 free at the 2018 Phillips 66 USA Swimming Nationals in Irvine with a 53.28 on Wednesday morning. Manuel is ahead of Louisville’s Mallory Comerford (53.36) in to tonight’s final.

The top four in tonight’s final will automatically qualify for the Pan Pac team for the 4×100 free relay as half the field will be on their way to Japan after tonight.

Margo Geer (53.75), Abbey Weitzeil (53.94), Kelsi Dahlia (54.32), Gretchen Walsh (54.38), Lia Neal (54.39) and Allison Schmitt (54.39) placed in the top eight after this morning.

Notable A-Final misses came from Katie Ledecky (54.46) in 9th and Olivia Smoliga (54.67) in 12th. Also notable was Missy Franklin in 22nd at 55.42 as she will swim again tonight in the C-Final.

15-year-old Walsh moved up to third all-time in the 15-16 NAG rankings with her swim this morning as she sits behind Franklin (53.63) and Manuel (53.86).

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Men’s 100 Free

Much like last year, Zach Apple posted the number one time in the 100 free at the Phillips 66 USA National Championships. Apple broke out last year at the 2017 Nationals and put his name on the map and he returned this year with a 48.06 to lead the 100 free heats on Wednesday morning.

Apple is now eighth in the world rankings for 2018 with his swim. Russia’s Vlad Morozov sits in first at 47.75.

Apple is ahead of a stacked final but the big surprise is 20-year-old Maxime Rooney posting the second fastest time at 48.27. Rooney was a big favorite to make the 2016 Olympic Team but missed the final in the 200 free. Rooney has not been the same swimmer since he went to the University of Florida in the fall of 2016, but he showed glimpses of his potential on Wednesday morning with that 100 free swim.

The top four tonight automatically advance to the Pan Pacs for the 4×100 free relay. Any of the eight swimmers could make the team tonight.

Nathan Adrian (48.42), Blake Pieroni (48.44), Michael Chadwick (48.60), Townley Haas (48.62), Caeleb Dressel (48.70) and Ryan Held (48.78) all placed in the A-Final for tonight as it will be tough to get on the top four for the relay tonight.

There weren’t many big A-Final misses as all the big dogs made it to the A-Final, but there are going to be some notable swimmers in the B-Final tonight.

Justin Ress (48.89), Conor Dwyer (48.93) and Ryan Murphy (48.98) placed 12th, 13th and 15th respectively this morning.

Also notable from the heats was Destin Lasco (49.66) and Adam Chaney (49.95). The 16-year-olds moved up to second and third in the all-time 15-16 NAG rankings to sit just behind Dressel (49.28). Chaney will swim in the D-Final tonight and Lasco will swim in the C. Both swimmers were the second and third 15-16 year olds to break 50 seconds in the 100 free.

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2 comments

  1. Pat Kennedy

    Good luck to all of the swimmers. Swim fast!!!

  2. Beverly Davis Atkins

    Exciting already!!🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🏊🏻‍♂️Swim fast guys!