Katie Ledecky Challenges 4:00 in 400 Free, Abbey Weitzeil Doubles at TYR Pro Series Knoxville

katie-ledecky-
Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky Challenges 4:00 in 400 Free, Abbey Weitzeil Doubles at TYR Pro Series Knoxville

During the Friday evening finals session at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Knoxville, Tenn., star freestyler Katie Ledecky earned her second victory of the weekend in the 400 freestyle while Abbey Weitzeil, a sprint specialist and relay stalwart for the United States for years prior to a disappointing 2022, won two 50-meter victories. Meanwhile, Canadian world champion Kylie Masse, American teenager Katie Grimes and Tennessee-trained Irish swimmer Mona McSharry all added wins to previous triumphs Thursday.

Women’s 200 Butterfly

Canada’s Ella Jansen opened up a big lead of more than one second over the first half of the 200 fly final, but Katie Grimes remained on her pace as Jensen faded badly on the way home. Grimes, best known for her abilities in freestyle and IM (she won World Championships silvers in the 1500 free and 400 IM), but she has shown increased abilities in the 200 fly as well, and here, Grimes cut almost three seconds from her previous lifetime best (2:12.38) as she hit the wall in 2:09.58.

Suburban Seahawks’ Lainey Mullins also finished well as she took second in 2:11.98 while Jansen struggled badly on the final length (37.76) as she fell to third (2:12.62).

Event 13  Women 200 LC Meter Butterfly
==================================================================
        World: W 2:01.81  10/21/2009Zige Liu, CHN
     American: A 2:04.14  7/30/2009 Mary Descenza, USA
    U.S. Open: O 2:05.85  6/17/2021 Hali Flickinger, Sun Devil-AZ
     Pro Swim: P 2:06.11  3/5/2020  Hali Flickinger, Sun Devil Swimmi
     Jr World: j 2:05.20  6/22/2022 Summer McIntosh, CAN
   Oly Trials: T 2:13.69
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Katie Grimes     17 SAND-CA           2:13.92    2:09.58T       
    r:+0.69  29.15      1:01.96 (32.81)
        1:35.65 (33.69)     2:09.58 (33.93)
  2 Lainey Mullins   17 SSC-MA            2:14.16    2:11.98T       
    r:+0.88  30.24      1:03.57 (33.33)
        1:37.09 (33.52)     2:11.98 (34.89)
  3 Ella Jansen      17 Canada            2:14.19    2:12.62T       
    r:+0.78  28.69      1:00.84 (32.15)
        1:34.86 (34.02)     2:12.62 (37.76)
  4 Sara Stotler     19 Tennessee-SE      2:13.01    2:13.43T       
    r:+0.72  29.84      1:03.33 (33.49)
        1:38.46 (35.13)     2:13.43 (34.97)
  5 Kate McCarville  19 Tennessee-SE      2:15.78    2:13.57T       
    r:+0.71  30.22      1:03.65 (33.43)
        1:38.44 (34.79)     2:13.57 (35.13)
  6 Hannah Bellard   17 CW-MI             2:15.50    2:13.78        
    r:+0.89  29.80      1:03.43 (33.63)
        1:38.17 (34.74)     2:13.78 (35.61)
  7 Kiley Wilhelm    18 LIFE-NC           2:17.44    2:16.49        
    r:+0.83  29.62      1:03.65 (34.03)
        1:39.68 (36.03)     2:16.49 (36.81)
  8 Emily Thompson   17 GSCY-NJ           2:16.21    2:16.71        
    r:+0.66  30.19      1:04.57 (34.38)
        1:40.16 (35.59)     2:16.71 (36.55)

Women’s 50 Freestyle

A collection of the top American sprinters went head-to-head in the women’s splash-and-dash, and Abbey Weitzeil came out on top in 24.74. Weitzeil, 26, was just off her prelims time of 24.70, and both swims eclipsed the 24.75 she swam to finish sixth in a tight 50 free final at the U.S. International Team Trials last year. Weitzeil finished two tenths ahead of Erika Brown, a former Tennessee Volunteer who continues to train in Knoxville and the co-bronze medalist in the 50 free at last year’s World Championships.

A pair of veterans now swimming for Sun Devil finished third and fourth. Simone Manuel, racing for the first time this weekend since the 2021 Olympics, was third in 25.19 while new training partner Olivia Smoliga ended up fourth in 25.33.

Event 15  Women 50 LC Meter Freestyle
==================================================================
        World: W 23.67  7/29/2017 Sarah Sjostrom, SWE
     American: A 23.97  7/30/2017 Simone Manuel, USA
    U.S. Open: O 24.08  6/1/2019  Pernille Blume, DEN
     Pro Swim: P 24.17  2016      Sarah Sjostrom
     Jr World: j 24.17  5/14/2021 Claire Curzan, USA
   Oly Trials: T 25.69
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Abbey Weitzeil   26 California Aq.-P    24.70      24.74T       
         r:+0.60                       
  2 Erika Brown      24 TNAQ-SE             25.05      24.94T       
         r:+0.64                       
  3 Simone Manuel    26 SUN-AZ              25.48      25.19T       
         r:+0.69                       
  4 Olivia Smoliga   28 SUN-AZ              25.46      25.33T       
         r:+0.64                       
  5 Signe Bro        23 Denmark             25.78      25.72        
         r:+0.38                       
  5 Erin Gemmell     18 NCAP-PV             25.83      25.72        
         r:+0.58                       
  7 Avery Karl       16 EKC-MV              25.80      25.79        
  8 Alexa Fulton     18 UMLY-MA             25.80      25.83

Women’s 100 Backstroke

Canada’s Kylie Masse was the world champion in the 100 back in 2017 and 2019 and then the silver medalist in the event at the 2021 Olympics and 2022 World Championships, and she began her 2023 campaign by holding off a pair of Americans for the Pro Series win. Masse, one of only three swimmers ever to swim under 58, swam a time of 59.43 while Sun Devil’s Olivia Smoliga returned from her fourth-place finish in the 100 back to take second here in 59.72.

NC State’s Katharine Berkoff, a two-time NCAA champion in the 100-yard back and the only swimmer to ever eclipse 49 in that race, took third in 59.81, denying Tennessee swimmer Josephine Fuller (1:00.33) a spot in the top three. Sandpipers’ Bella Sims, who has made big inroads in backstroke recently, was fifth in 1:01.50.

Event 17  Women 100 LC Meter Backstroke
==================================================================
        World: W   57.45  6/13/2021 Kaylee McKeown, AUS
     American: A   57.57  7/28/2019 Regan Smith, USA
    U.S. Open: O   57.76  4/29/2022 Regan Smith, Unattached-PC
     Pro Swim: P   58.18  3/7/2020  Regan Smith, Riptide-MN
     Jr World: j   57.57  7/28/2019 Regan Smith, USA
   Oly Trials: T 1:01.89
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Kylie Masse      26 Canada            1:00.18      59.43T       
    r:+0.56  28.85        59.43 (30.58)
  2 Olivia Smoliga   28 SUN-AZ            1:01.69      59.72T       
    r:+0.61  29.02        59.72 (30.70)
  3 Katharine Berko  21 NC State-NC         59.70      59.81T       
    r:+0.58  29.31        59.81 (30.50)
  4 Josephine Fulle  19 Tennessee-SE      1:01.04    1:00.33T       
    r:+0.58  29.54      1:00.33 (30.79)
  5 Bella Sims       17 SAND-CA           1:01.97    1:01.50T       
    r:+0.63  30.00      1:01.50 (31.50)
  6 Emma Kern        18 AQJT-MN           1:02.15    1:01.58T       
    r:+0.58  29.64      1:01.58 (31.94)
  7 Charlotte Crush  14 LAK-KY            1:02.36    1:01.77T       
    r:+0.56  29.89      1:01.77 (31.88)
  8 Gabby Deloof     26 TNAQ-SE/NYAC      1:02.50    1:02.21        
    r:+0.75  30.20      1:02.21 (32.01)

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

Tennessee’s Mona McSharry won her second breaststroke event of the meet as she crushed the field in the 200-meter race by almost four seconds. McSharry was 1.8 seconds ahead by the halfway point, and she only pulled away before finishing in 2:26.34. Another Tennessee swimmer, Alexis Yager, was second in 2:30.17, just head of Canada’s Sophie Angus (2:30.68).

Event 19  Women 200 LC Meter Breaststroke
==================================================================
        World: W 2:18.95  7/30/2021 Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA
     American: A 2:19.59  8/2/2012  Rebecca Soni, USA Olympic Team
    U.S. Open: O 2:20.38  7/7/2009  Rebecca Soni, Trojan
     Pro Swim: P 2:20.77  5/19/2019 Annie Lazor, Mission Viejo Na
     Jr World: j 2:19.64  8/30/2015 Viktoria Gunes, TUR
   Oly Trials: T 2:31.69
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 *Mona McSharry   22 Tennessee-SE      2:28.51    2:26.34        
    r:+0.69  33.90      1:10.72 (36.82)
        1:48.26 (37.54)     2:26.34 (38.08)
  2 Alexis Yager     24 TNAQ-SE           2:30.77    2:30.17T       
    r:+0.70  34.41      1:12.56 (38.15)
        1:51.12 (38.56)     2:30.17 (39.05)
  3 Sophie Angus     23 Canada            2:32.62    2:30.68T       
    r:+0.70  34.47      1:12.63 (38.16)
        1:51.59 (38.96)     2:30.68 (39.09)
  4 Byanca Melissa   28 Reveles           2:33.51    2:31.40T       
    r:+0.70  34.58      1:13.29 (38.71)
        1:52.45 (39.16)     2:31.40 (38.95)
  5 Adalene Robilla  15 Mason Manta Rays  2:32.97    2:31.53T       
    r:+0.71  34.05      1:12.44 (38.39)
        1:51.68 (39.24)     2:31.53 (39.85)
  6 Miranda Tucker   25 TFA-NT            2:33.81    2:31.71        
    r:+0.69  33.27      1:11.56 (38.29)
        1:50.97 (39.41)     2:31.71 (40.74)
  7 Tess Cieplucha   24 TNAQ-SE           2:32.84    2:31.94        
    r:+0.76  34.82      1:13.03 (38.21)
        1:52.36 (39.33)     2:31.94 (39.58)
  8 Kathryn Hazle    18 NCA-SI            2:34.97    2:33.06        
    r:+0.65  35.07      1:13.81 (38.74)
        1:53.25 (39.44)     2:33.06 (39.81)

Women’s 50 Butterfly

Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil is a pure sprinter who can show her speed in strokes beyond just freestyle, and she powered her way to a victory in the 50 fly as well. The 26-year-old Weitzeil touched in 26.50, 0.35 ahead of 14-year-old Charlotte Crush. Crush, representing, Lakeside touched in 26.85, with third place going to Marina Spadoni (26.93).

Event 21  Women 50 LC Meter Butterfly
==================================================================
        World: W 24.43  7/5/2014  Sarah Sjoestroem, SWE
     American: A 25.48  7/29/2017 Kelsi Dahlia, USA
    U.S. Open: O 25.46  8/26/2017 Rikako Ikee, JPN
     Pro Swim: P 25.65  4/12/2019 Farida Osman, Pinnacle Racing
     Jr World: j 25.65  8/26/2017 Rikako Idee, USA
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Abbey Weitzeil   26 California Aq.-P    26.58      26.50        
         r:+0.58                       
  2 Charlotte Crush  14 LAK-KY              27.55      26.85        
         r:+0.69                       
  3 Marina Spadoni   29 Unattached-NT       27.46      26.93        
         r:+0.63                       
  4 Grace Hanson     19 Missouri-MV         27.51      27.15        
         r:+0.58                       
  5 Emma Carlton     22 Tennessee-SE        27.59      27.38        
         r:+0.50                       
  6 Sara Stotler     19 Tennessee-SE        27.67      27.42        
         r:+0.37                       
  7 Levenia Sim      16 TNT-SE              27.77      27.45        
         r:+0.50                       
  8 Taylor Leone     22 UNAT-GA             27.75      27.50

Women’s 400 Freestyle

Several international swimmers, including world-record holder Ariarne Titmus and now Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh, have emerged as real rivals for Katie Ledecky in the 400 freestyle, but against domestic competition, Ledecky is unbeaten since 2012 Olympic Trials, where she took third behind Allison Schmitt and Chloe Sutton. So it was no surprise that Ledecky crushed a field led by impressive teenagers in Knoxville. Ahead by one second after 100 meters and more than three seconds by the halfway point, Ledecky pulled away to win in 4:00.20, a very solid early-season marker, even by her standards.

Sandpipers teenagers Bella Sims and Katie Grimes, both of whom joined Ledecky in the sub-4:30 club in the 500-yard free last month, rounded out the top-three places in the final. Sims touched in 4:08.83 for second place, just two seconds off her best time, while Grimes held off Longhorn Aquatics’ Jillian Cox, another 17-year-old, for third place. Grimes touched in 4:09.47, just ahead of Cox’s 4:09.65. Claire Weinstein, also of the Sandpipers, went 4:09.03 in the B-final for third-quickest time of the evening.

Event 23  Women 400 LC Meter Freestyle
==================================================================
        World: W 3:56.40  5/22/2022 Ariarne Titmus, AUS
     American: A 3:56.46  8/7/2016  Katie Ledecky, USA
    U.S. Open: O 3:57.94  5/17/2018 Katie Ledecky, Stanford
     Pro Swim: P 3:57.94  5/17/2018 Katie Ledecky, Stanford Swimmin
     Jr World: j 3:58.37  8/23/2014 Katie Ledecky, USA
   Oly Trials: T 4:15.49
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Katie Ledecky    25 GSC-FL            4:05.15    4:00.20T       
    r:+0.66  27.95        57.72 (29.77)
        1:28.09 (30.37)     1:58.89 (30.80)
        2:29.29 (30.40)     2:59.90 (30.61)
        3:30.58 (30.68)     4:00.20 (29.62)
  2 Bella Sims       17 SAND-CA           4:11.88    4:08.83T       
    r:+0.57  28.22        58.73 (30.51)
        1:30.47 (31.74)     2:02.25 (31.78)
        2:34.30 (32.05)     3:06.14 (31.84)
        3:38.13 (31.99)     4:08.83 (30.70)
  3 Katie Grimes     17 SAND-CA           4:11.32    4:09.47T       
    r:+0.70  29.17      1:00.39 (31.22)
        1:32.59 (32.20)     2:04.46 (31.87)
        2:36.44 (31.98)     3:08.09 (31.65)
        3:39.68 (31.59)     4:09.47 (29.79)
  4 Jillian Cox      17 TXLA-ST           4:11.52    4:09.65T       
    r:+0.21  29.44      1:00.92 (31.48)
        1:32.89 (31.97)     2:04.88 (31.99)
        2:36.87 (31.99)     3:08.63 (31.76)
        3:40.09 (31.46)     4:09.65 (29.56)
  5 Valentine Dumon  22 Belgium           4:13.52    4:12.31T       
    r:+0.74  29.14      1:00.98 (31.84)
        1:33.20 (32.22)     2:05.66 (32.46)
        2:37.74 (32.08)     3:10.03 (32.29)
        3:41.78 (31.75)     4:12.31 (30.53)
  6 Erin Gemmell     18 NCAP-PV           4:12.84    4:12.60T       
    r:+0.79  28.47        59.93 (31.46)
        1:32.19 (32.26)     2:04.60 (32.41)
        2:36.77 (32.17)     3:09.15 (32.38)
        3:41.52 (32.37)     4:12.60 (31.08)
  7 Ella Jansen      17 Canada            4:15.13    4:14.49T       
    r:+0.78  28.87      1:00.31 (31.44)
        1:32.34 (32.03)     2:04.58 (32.24)
        2:36.69 (32.11)     3:09.36 (32.67)
        3:42.20 (32.84)     4:14.49 (32.29)
  8 Sierra Schmidt   24 SUN-AZ            4:12.75    4:16.15        
    r:+0.72  29.31      1:01.07 (31.76)
        1:33.07 (32.00)     2:05.66 (32.59)
        2:38.07 (32.41)     3:11.04 (32.97)
        3:43.71 (32.67)     4:16.15 (32.44)
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